Advertisers Scammed By Invisible Impressions

Ad Networks Fail to Filter Out Trouble Sites

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There are sites out there that may be selling you ads that consumers aren’t seeing. We’re not talking about just a lack of traffic to the pages they appear on. There is a lack of traffic because the pages are simply invisible to viewers, making them essentially worthless.

A report from the Wall Street Journal says that even large corporations like Kraft foods, Greyhound Lines, and Capital One Financial are among the victims of such scams.

The sites use code, which makes it look to marketers like their ads have been appearing, but they do not appear to users. The report, based on research from Ben Edelman, cites MyToursInfo.com and MyProfilePimp.com as a couple of offending sites.

"The Web sites can get away with it, he says, because online advertisers don’t always audit their campaigns for proof their ads are appearing," writes WSJ’s Emily Steel. "It isn’t clear how common these ads are or how much they cost marketers."

Ben EdelmanSo how is an advertiser to know who to trust? One solution mentioned in the report is to buy ads based on attaining a certain number of clicks as well as impressions. In such a scenario, a site would have no benefit to pull off such a scam. Another possible solution is to be more directly involved with who you are advertising with.

"Advertisers often buy display ads based on the number of times they are loaded onto a page, rather than the number of clicks they get," says Steel. "Over the past, year, an increasing number of scams have sought to take advantage of that pricing system as advertisers have started buying more of their online ads via middlemen called ad networks, instead of directly from the Web sites themselves. These networks sell ad space at cheap rates across thousands of sites, and they don’t always weed out illegitimate players."

Online advertising is having a big year. A number of recent reports show an optimistic viewpoint for the industry. There is no reason why that shouldn’t continue as long as advertisers take responsibility for monitoring and stay involved with their campaigns.

Advertisers Scammed By Invisible Impressions
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  • http://superdealshop.com Bryan Quinn

    An interesting but unsurprising post. It reinforces the fact that one should always take care when paying for your advertising. Although not related here, one interesting point you should be aware of is how companies can display or hide ads according to where the traffic comes from.

    Take Chitika for example – These ads are displayed on one of my websites http://ebook-site.com when traffic comes from Google (USA) but are hidden when traffic comes from Google (UK). This is all above board and is setup to target users in the US but techniques like this can be easily emulated by unscrupulous people.

  • http://autorepairsavings.blogspot.com/ Guest

    Can you tell me if Advertise.com falls under your Catagory? They are a Pay Per Click.

    • http://www.advertise.com Simon Chernin

      Advertise.com is made up of a network of thousands of search and content publishers and nothing is more important to us than the traffic quality that comes from these sources. We employ patented technology to track and remove any low quality or non performing sources.
      To learn more please visit: http://www.advertise.com/quality_control.html

      Thank you,
      Simon Chernin
      Marketing Director

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