According to Adform, the fraudsters behind the Hyphbot scheme created more than 34,000 different domain names and more than a million different URLs, many designed to attempt to fool advertisers into thinking they were buying ad inventory from big-name publishers such as the Economist, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and CNN. It is a tactic known in the industry as "domain spoofing."
Google issued big refunds to advertisers whose ads ran on websites with fake traffic as the company works to create a solution to curb the industry's problem, sources familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. The search engine company has contacted hundreds of marketers and ad agency partners over the past few week about the problem with fraudulent traffic, also referred to as "ad fraud." The ads, which were bought using Google's automated technology DoubleClick Bid Manager, reportedly ran on publisher sites with bogus traffic, like websites where clicks are faked by bots instead of humans. While Google has refunded the advertisers, the refunds are only a fraction of the total ad spending that ran through sites with fake traffic -- and ad buyers are not happy. The company defended its response because it says doesn't control the rest of the money, according to the Journal.
CMO Today delivers the most important news of the day for media and marketing professionals. Based on an estimated average cost of $20 to deliver a thousand consumer impressions in connected TV viewing, the swindlers likely stole $14.5 million over the last four months, according to Derek Wise, chief product officer of Oracle Data Cloud. The scam, which was first uncovered by Oracle over the summer before the fraudsters accelerated their operation in September by faking more devices and apps, is still ongoing, the company said. Ad fraud is more commonly associated with web video and display advertising, but bad actors are following the money as marketers shift money into streaming TV. Although still only a fraction of the $60-$70 billion spent on traditional TV in the U.S. every year, ad spending on internet-connected TV sets, where most of streaming TV happens, will reach almost $8 billion in the U.S. this year and likely total $15.6 billion in 2023, according to research firm eMarketer.
Alphabet Inc.'s GOOGL -0.38% Google is issuing refunds to advertisers for ads bought through its platform that ran on sites with fake traffic, people familiar with the situation said, as the company develops a tool to give buyers more transparency about their purchases. In the past few weeks, Google has informed hundreds of marketers and ad agency partners about the issue with invalid traffic, known in the industry as "ad fraud." The ads were bought using the company's DoubleClick Bid Manager. Google's refunds amount to only a fraction of the total ad spending served to invalid traffic, which has left some advertising executives unsatisfied, the people familiar with the situation said. Google has offered to repay its "platform fee," which ad buyers said typically ranges from about 7% to 10% of the total ad buy.