How Marketers’ Digital Ad Dollars Flow To Fraudsters, And Others

Marketers and advertisers have been ripped off by media sellers for over a century. The Alliance for Audited Media was “founded in 1914 as the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) to bring order and transparency to the media industry.” They audited publishers for cheating – e.g. inflating circulation numbers […]

With numbers so large, fraudsters hide easily. Buyers can’t possibly check millions of sites to see if they are real; and the fraud verification tech they pay for misses a lot, or lets a lot of fraud through, for fear of “false positives” (marking something fraudulent, when it was not). As a fraud researcher, the question I get most often from marketers is “how does my ad budget get to the fraudsters? I would never pay someone like that!” True. Marketers never deal directly with hackers and cybercriminals, but the ad tech supply chain is so leaky and non-transparent their money flows easily to fraudsters and other nefarious parties. Here’s how.

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