Pay-Per-View Networks Cost Advertisers Over $180 Million Annually


Advertising is one of the primary means for revenue generation for millions of websites and mobile apps. While the majority of online advertising revenues are based on pay per-click, alternative forms such as impression-based display and video advertising have been growing rapidly over the past several years. In this paper, we investigate the problem of invalid traffic generation that aims to inflate advertising impressions on websites.

Pay-Per-View Network

PPV networks are comprised of legitimate websites that use JavaScript provided by PPV network service providers to render unwanted web pages “underneath” requested content on a real user’s browser so that additional advertising impressions are registered. We describe the characteristics of the PPV network ecosystem and the typical methods for delivering fraudulent impressions. We also provide a case study of scope of PPV networks in the Internet.

“Fake display-ad impressions are estimated to account for about 30% of overall online traffic,” says Timur Yarnall, CEO and co-founder of MdotLabs. “That puts display fraud waste at $3.6 to $4.5 billion annually in the US alone. That doesn’t include video, mobile, or the rest of the world. We believe the estimate would easily top $10 billion on a global basis.”

A significant percentage of the top 100 online advertisers are being victimized by pay-per-view (PPV) networks that perpetrate impression fraud, according to a new study conducted by MdotLabs, an ad secure platform recently spun off from Broadcast Interactive Media.

  • Fake Impressions From Real Users
  • Luring The PPV Networks
  • “We did not see any indications of natural traffic.”

In their analysis, MdotLabs found that tags from PPV services are deployed on tens of thousands of publisher sites. You can find the complete paper here for more details. The authors say they plan to conduct more tests with higher volume purchases in future work.

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