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Senator Sounds an Alarm with FTC on Digital Ad Fraud

Senator Warner characterized the pervasive problem of digital ad fraud as “a willful blindness,” in a hard-hitting letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after a recent scheme was brought to light that Google estimates cost advertisers close to $10 million. It’s a shot over the bow to major players, who according to Warner, are inattentive to the criminal activity. Class action settlement notice programs are not immune to this problem.

This comes on the heels of an investigation by Buzzfeed News that found that more than 125 Android apps and websites were connected to a network of foreign shell companies, which was stealing money from advertisers by showing their ads to bots instead of humans. A company called We Purchase Apps would buy legitimate apps, then transfer them to the foreign companies. According to Buzzfeed News, the company then trained bots to mimic human behavior, creating fake traffic that advertisers unwittingly paid for.
Digital technology platforms are struggling to keep up with the hundreds of ways fraudsters steal advertising dollars. Your class action notice administrator needs to be aware of this fraud, detecting it vigilantly and employing best practices.

In a letter to FTC Chair Joseph Simons, Sen. Warner said, “I am writing to express my continued concern with the prevalence of digital advertising fraud, and in particular the inaction of major industry stakeholders in curbing these abuses.”

Pressure from lawmakers is increasing for the digital advertising industry. Ad fraud impacts any advertisement placed online, class action notices are no exception. In addition to third-party fraud detectors, the best tool your class action administrator can use is the trained human eye, carefully looking for the signs of ad fraud surrounding your class action notice.

Juniper Research estimated ad fraud would cost advertisers $19 billion in 2018, representing about 9 percent of the total amount spent on digital advertising. Google estimates the Android scheme cost advertisers almost $10 million.

Sen. Warner also wrote a letter to the FTC in 2016, along with Sen. Chuck Schumer. The letter noted ad fraud threats were well-known, but tech platforms serving the ads were caught often “flat-footed.”

Ad fraud is a fact of reality in the digital advertising environment. Your class action program is not immune. Think about brand safety and ad fraud management as a digital neighborhood watch. If ad fraud is not properly monitored and detected, it can also affect due process. To mitigate the risks of ad fraud in your class action settlement, it requires sophisticated tools, active management, technology and human eyes.

If you’d like to know more, give us a call and we can discuss how we can help actively manage your class action notice campaigns to identify, mitigate and cull ad fraud.

Kaitlyn Porch
Kaitlyn Porch is the Content Marketing Manager for Heffler Claims Group. Over the past 10 years, she has worked as a journalist as well as a marketing professional for companies of all sizes, from start-up agencies to Fortune 500 companies.


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