For a long time we have been documenting the double-dealing and fraud that the sharpies in the online ad industry have been pulling on clueless clients.
This week The New York Times reported that the shenanigans going on in online video advertising may be equal to the astounding swindles going on in banner advertising.
According to a piece entitled The Great Unwatched:
- "...more than half of online video ads are not seen, either because they are buried low on web pages or run in tiny, easily ignored video players on those pages, or run simultaneously with other ads."
- "...an ad management platform company deemed 57 percent of two billion video ads surveyed over two months to be “unviewable.”
- “The advertiser sees a report on an Excel spreadsheet that says, ‘Yeah, these ads ran,’ ” says Matt Timothy, Vindico’s president. “But more than half of them ran without being seen by a human being.”
- "...an ad tech company...reported that it had discovered three new botnets that were generating 30 million fake video views a day, earning as much as $10 million a month."
- "When ads are sold, even the media buyer that was initially given the contract to place the ads may not know where they are running."
- "Given the nearly $3 billion a year now spent on online video ads, and the 57 percent of them that are deemed unviewable, it’s safe to assume that American brands are now spending more than $1 billion a year on marketing that few if any people see."
- A report in The Wall Street Journal found that 54% of banner ads run between May 2012 and February 2013 never appeared in front of a live human being.
- If the study was projectable, this means that $7.5 billion in banner ad selling probably constituted some degree of deception or fraud.
- According to Adweek, this could reach $9.5 billion this year.
- Cnet reports that only 38% of traffic on the web is human. The rest are bots, scrapers, hackers, spammers and other impersonators.
The president of a direct marketing firm had this to say, “Whether it’s the publishers, the ad platforms, the agencies that manage these activities. Right now, it behooves almost no one to clean up this mess.”
Oh, it behooves someone all right. But that someone is too fucking stupid to know what's going on.
The people it behooves are the alarmingly clueless advertisers who are being swindled out of billions a year. But they are so dumb and so mesmerized by the bullshit of their agencies and the online advertising crowd that they don't understand how deeply and vigorously they're being screwed.