Firms battle online ad scams

18 June 2012

NEW YORK: Technology companies and digital trade bodies including the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), Twitter and PayPal have joined forces to campaign against "bad" online ads in the US.

The new Ads Integrity Alliance, headed and organised by StopBadware, a tech nonprofit started by academics from Harvard University, aims to share best practices and lobby policymakers to protect users against ads that are either infected with malware or promote fake or shoddy goods.

Initially, the organisation will focus on text-based search advertising, the most widely-used digital ad format.

Other companies signing up to the Alliance include Facebook, Google and AOL.

Maxim Weinstein, executive director at StopBadware, said: "No one can address Internet-scale threats on their own, so we're bringing together industry leading organizations to tackle the problem collaboratively."

In an interview with Media Post, Weinstein pointed out that the increased automation of online ad serving means that many spots are not reviewed prior to being put live for users to see, making the sector as a whole vulnerable to scams.

Google alone disabled over 130m "bad ads" in 2011, along with 150,000 individual accounts that were selling counterfeit goods.

"The criminal is doing everything he can to exploit loopholes, and that's what we're hoping to address," Weinstein added.

Data sourced from StopBadware/MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff