SYDNEY: An advertising industry working group that formed late last year to tackle the growing problem of online ad fraud in Australia has now been formalised as the Brand Safety Council (BSC).

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), a digital trade body, took the step to help marketing practitioners work effectively against impression fraud and the problem of online ads getting pushed to illegal and unsafe websites, AdNews reported.

These sites fraudulently portray themselves as legal through a technique called URL masking, which enables them to tap into different ad networks and as servers to deliver ads from major brands.

Several big name brands got ensnared last year on the - illegal - website last year, including Coles, Ford, Reckitt Benckiser, Hyundai, and ING Direct, among others.

Agency trading desks and advertising technology platform providers responded by forming a group of 30 individuals to work on education, devise solutions and create a rapid response unit to deal with the problem as it occurred.

IAB CEO Alice Manners said the group, now formalised as the BSC, will have its headcount cut to about 10 to 15 people by next month and will then aim to work out the extent of the ad fraud problem in Australia.

While emphasising that the problem is quite small in the country, Manners said the group would break down fraud into its component parts and then educate the industry about how best to deal with each element.

A research study will also be published in the next few months, she said. The study will also examine whether the issue is a concern for the general public or just one for the advertising industry.

Data sourced from AdNews; additional content by Warc staff