Alex Kantrowitz wrote an article on Ad Age that delved deep into Google’s war on ad fraud. The article covers a lot of areas such as how fraud happens, what Google’s secret team look for, the huge lead Google has in delivering ad impressions, and how fraudsters make money.
From the article:
For players on the web both big and small, digital ad fraud is a significant and growing problem. The flow of advertising dollars to digital media from TV and print, accompanied by digital’s movement toward automation, has turned the space into fertile ground for some of the internet’s worst actors. According to a study by the fraud-fighting firm White Ops and the Association of National Advertisers, $6.3 billion will be lost to ad fraud in 2015. And Google, the biggest advertising technology company on the planet, stands to lose the most because of the enormous amount of transactions running through its ad servers, automated-buying platform and ad exchange every day. If advertisers believed the company’s operation were fraud-filled, they could take their money elsewhere and the business would falter.
When it comes to making money, the article goes on to say:
For fraudsters, making money off infected machines is a simple process. There are two basic ways to do it: You sell bot traffic to publishers (through a chain of middle-men) who figure they can make more revenue from ads than the cost of the traffic; or you set up your own website, send the traffic there and sell your own ads.
The formula for making money from botnets might be straightforward, but detecting them is anything but. It’s one thing to know what a botnet looks like, but another to discern whether each ad served is being shown to a human or something else entirely.
Read the full article on Ad Age it is a very good read.