Financial Times warns advertisers against domain spoofing

Financial Times

Financial times warns social media and users away from false advertisement and news. Domain spoofing is a technique of advertising fraud, unfortunately among many others that affects programmatic Display purchases. Indeed, this rather simple technique to put in place, is creating a website imitating another one and taking its place on an advertising space.

This technique is widely spread, several specialists are warning people from this regular type of fraud.

This time, it is the Financial Times that reveals a fraud in his area.

Domain spoofing, how does it work?

The technical chain of programmatic is very complex and involves many factors. We are talking about SSP, AdExchange, DSP, Trading Desk, DMP, Ad-Visibility Tools, Brand Safety Tools, Ad Fraud Tools, … Therefore, it is very difficult to identify frauds that sometimes use very complex methods and sometimes there are very simple things they put in place. Regardless of whether what they are putting in place is complex or it seems simple, it is always very difficult to detect.

Domain falsification as part of programmatic buying, is based on the fact that publishers generate the Bid Requests themselves when they offer their inventory for marketing. Thus, they are able to provide the information they want to the buyer. To indicate false GPS coordinates and to impersonate a domain is very possible, and it can be done quite easily.

In fact, a buyer can see a Bid Request indicated from www.sitehonnete.com such as Le Monde or Le Figaro, but in reality, this advertising space comes from www.sitedefraude.com.

Fake news are reaching alerting levels

Financial Times

Names such as Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, are probably the biggest targets.

Fake news is a trend of advertising that it is growing to exponential numbers nowadays. How better way to conduct your business other that stealing users from already succeeding websites.

In this website world, there is easy access to a vast number of already built communities from big newspapers. Advertising can’t get any easier if you follow this malicious process. Make no mistake, Facebook and Google tried to fight this fraud war, however, the only possible way, for now, is for the big brands to ban those websites. But banning a couple of accounts won’t stop traffic junkies.

The case of the Financial Times

The Financial Times recently investigated the extent to which its own domain could fall victim to this advertising fraud scheme. And the results were beyond what they could have imagined.

Indeed, the investigation determined that the Financial Times inventories in Display ads and video ads were present on 10 and 15 marketplaces, respectively. Rather surprising when we know that the Financial Times sells its Display inventory on only 2 marketplaces. Better still, its video inventory is not itself marketed to the public, incredible but true! We discovered that the magnitude of the fraud was around $ 1.3 million a month.

According to Anthony Hitchings, Director of Operations for the Financial Times Advertising Department has his own idea on this case. “The advertisers are investing heavily on advertising fraud run by organized crime networks.”

Although it is not a generality, it is true that the scandals are numerous with regard to Ad Fraud and, it is certainly only the tip of the iceberg.

Financial Times
7.2B to 12.48B. The range estimates for the cost of ad fraud on the digital display ecosystem worldwide in Sources: Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and White Ops, 2015 Bot Baseline: Fraud in Digital Advertising, January 2016; The&Partnership, m/SIX and Adloox, What Happens Next: How to Reverse the Rising Tide of Ad Fraud 2017, March

Jon Sales, Commercial Director of Financial Times has planned to contact all relevant market places to warn them of fraud. Within a month, a new investigation will be conducted to verify if measures have been successfully implemented. Moreover to raise awareness, agencies and advertisers who purchase inventory will be alerted. Also to let them know that only the Display inventory is available in programmatic via Google AdX and Trust.

This new scandal on advertising fraud stirs a little more the knife in the wound. Indeed it raises the question of the effectiveness of verification tools. Despite their prices not always affordable, it still remains a real lack of efficiency.

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