The Annual Leadership Meeting of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) occurred Sunday evening, and the newly appointed chairman, Ziff Davis took a bold stand against ad fraud. When addressing the room, filled with online publishers, agency executives and vendors, he said “We’ve got to stop devaluing digital media. It’s simple; No more traffic fraud. Let’s end it.”
Of course, this is much easier said than done, especially given the fact that many people in the industry (including almost everyone in that room) directly benefits from this type of fraud. Even if they don’t actively engage in the fraud themselves, they benefit from the fact that the non-human traffic is making them so much money.
With an estimated 36% (and some believe it is much higher) of all Internet traffic being non-human, it is easy to see how the industry is making millions off of the problem. Asking the top companies in this industry to combat this problem is asking them to cut their own profits dramatically. Of course, ignoring this problem will also harm the industry in the long run.
More and more brands are starting to ask the difficult questions about ad fraud, so the digital ad industry can’t just ignore it. In the long run, letting this fraud continue virtually unchecked will cause brands to lose faith in the digital advertising platform, which will result in brands moving their ad dollars out of this area.
The big question going forward will be whether or not the ad agencies, marketers and others will listen to the directive of the IAB, or if they will continue to turn a blind eye to the problem. While everyone claims that they are fighting the fraud, most are doing very little to get real results.