Story 2014-12-10 2VSY Advertisers are outraged that 23% of video ads are viewed by robots

Advertisers are outraged that 23% of video ads are viewed by robots

in internet on (#2VSY)
Pity those poor advertisers, who are outraged, to say the least. A recent study has shown that computers being remotely operated by hackers account for almost one in four views of digital video ads worldwide. The fraud leads advertisers to spend approximately $6.3 billion dollars per year for advertising that doesn't have any impact whatsoever. The fake views, which also account for 11 percent of other display ads, often take place in the middle of the night when the owners of the hijacked computers are asleep.

The advertising unions are understandably upset.
“We’re being robbed,” said Bob Liodice, president and chief executive officer of the New York-based association, which has 640 members that spend more than $250 billion a year in advertising. “This isn’t about system inefficiencies or process sloppiness. This is about criminal activity.”
But others would say, that's the way the game is played. No word on who wrote the software that manages these fake video views, or who benefits. Finally, pity the poor robots, people, forced to watch video ads all day and night: what a dreary existence!
Reply 7 comments

My heart bleeds for them (Score: 1)

by on 2014-12-10 16:26 (#2VTG)

Say I had to guess who is making the cash.. I think it's probably the site owner serving the ads that they hire botnets to view, more than enough money to go around.

It's probably a pretty safe investment too.. yeah, you're hiring botnet dudes, but there's probably no paper trail between the two groups, and as they're not using the botnet to DDOS, or steal CC info, I'd imagine they're pretty low down on the LEO most wanted lists..

My heart's breaking for you guys (Score: 1)

by on 2014-12-10 20:34 (#2VTP)

I have this playing in the background as I read this article:

Definition? (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-12-11 02:29 (#2VTZ)

So what's a "view" in this story? That is, how would one determine that a video has been "viewed"? Does merely downloading it count? Do they have some way of determining that it has been shown in some window? And that the window is visible on the screen?

Just curious.

Re: Definition? (Score: 1)

by on 2014-12-11 11:54 (#2VVD)

I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure they can force window focus, and probably that it remains in focus for a certain percentage of the video running time, and the person|bot not skipping/closing/muting is enough to count

Re: Definition? (Score: 1)

by on 2014-12-12 14:50 (#2VW6)

With flash you could have a call back at the end of the video to indicate that it was played all the way through. Of course if you know that it calls back at the end you could just simulate that call back...

The visibility of it is kind of impossible to enforce, as far as I know. At the end of the day you are sending software to run on a random, foreign environment, its not going to be easy to make sure it does what you want it to, especially in a sand-boxed environment.

I imagine its a back and forth cat and mouse between those trying to simulate views and those paying the advertising bills.

I guess if the question is if a human is present, you'd need a captcha. But Who the hell want's to fill out a captcha in order to view an advertisement?

So you have people you want to view your ad actively trying to avoid it, while those you don't want to see the ad ( robots ) want to see the ad. That's a tough nut to crack.

What's with the attitude here? (Score: 1)

by on 2014-12-26 22:57 (#2WE5)

Why are people so against the advertisers? I'm not a huge fan of most web ads, but fighting click fraud seems like a nobel goal. If I pay for advertising, I'd like to ensure that I'm paying for the right number of views.

On the otherside, if your ad is being distributed widely enough to enough sites, advertisers aren't being stolen from. They are just paying higher rates than they realized. Instead of paying 0.10 US per ad view they may actually be paying 1.00, if 1 out of every ten views is fraudulent. Like any kind of ads, they have to do their own calculations to see if they are getting enough return on their spending.

Re: What's with the attitude here? (Score: 1)

by on 2015-01-01 03:49 (#2WK3)

Uhhh because they refuse to take responsibility for the malware they spread? If I put malware on my site and infect your PC? Unless someone took control of my site MY ass is on the line, but these advertisers rent space to anybody with cash and when they spread a zero day they just go "oh well, sucks to be you" and keep cashing the checks.

So fuck 'em, as long as they refuse to take responsibility for the security of their ads I will be happy to support all manner of screwing their business model, because it is a corrupt piece of offal that needs to DIAF.