Imagine taking your client out for dinner only to have your credit card declined when the bill comes. Now that’s embarrassing, if you’re not prepared. A smart person has a couple of backup cards and some cash to make sure that the bill is paid and the client is treated well. In digital advertising, publishers are getting into embarrassing situations like this when they don’t take a proactive stance against fraud.
Here’s why. Fraud is a major problem affecting the entire online publishing industry. The issue is so prevalent that advertisers are now paying close attention to ensure their dollars are being smartly spent and that real people are seeing their ads. As they take action to prevent fraud on the buy side, they are expecting their publisher partners to do the same. You don’t want to be unprepared and have a client coming to you and saying, ‘Excuse me, you served my ad to a bot, and I want my money back!’
Serving ads to bots has consequences. It may get you blacklisted, which wipes out your entire inventory. In this dire scenario, you can’t even monetize the good inventory, and it is very difficult to get off of a blacklist. Another possibility is that advertisers who are using cutting-edge technology will block their ads from running on your site and will eliminate you from future campaigns. Either way, your reputation is at risk.
By taking preemptive measures and utilizing technology to eliminate fraud, your inventory becomes more valuable. Fraud prevention is taking off as advertisers are becoming more educated on the risks of fraudulent activity. As such, valuable and fraud-free ads command higher price points. Publishers who are proactive about blocking bots and serve only legitimate inventory will get higher market value for their ads.
Reputable publishers can be victims of fraud too. Bots have a way of targeting sites that do not even buy traffic. They do this by imitating the surfing habits of valuable and expensive target audiences, like auto shoppers. These bots visit reputable and relevant sites because in doing so, they can attract a higher value when they visit sites paying for their traffic. With this in mind, it is impossible for a publisher to identify bot traffic unless they are using technology to identify it.
Ultimately, if you turn a blind eye, it will cost you your reputation and revenue. Take a proactive stance — and you will reap the rewards.
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