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Google clamps down on ad fraud

News, 04 December 2015

DUBLIN: The digital advertising industry loses billions a year from fraudulent ad impressions, which has prompted internet giant Google to combat the problem by launching a new filtering tool.

As it presented the new feature to advertisers and publishers at a special event at its European headquarters in Dublin, Google explained that the automated tool will sit within DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM) and will filter out false inventory.

Andres Ferrate, chief advocate for Google Ad Traffic Quality – a new global team of more than 100 specialists – told The Drum that the new feature will help to protect advertisers from the practice of false representation on domain sites.

The fraud plaguing the industry involves some disreputable publishers who deceive advertisers into paying higher rates for ads they think will appear on well-known sites, but end up being served on those of lower value.

"This practice deceives advertisers who end up paying to appear on sites with which they may not want to be associated, and harms legitimate publishers, who aren't actually receiving the funds from ads sold in their name," Ferrate said.

If a publisher is found to be fraudulently misrepresenting domain information, the new filter in DBM will block the inventory at the pre-bid stage, although how exactly the technology works is not information that Ferrate can divulge.

However, he said the initiative fitted into Google's strategy of helping to improve the transparency of the process and that the company is "banding together with other major players in the industry to help improve it".

Fraudulent impressions are high on the list of concerns for industry practitioners and the extent of the problem was highlighted recently in a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and consulting firm EY.

The joint study estimated that the US digital advertising industry is losing $8.2bn a year because of fraudulent impressions, infringed content and other forms of malvertising.

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff