The Financial Times’ fight against domain spoofing is paying off.
After catching 25 ad exchanges misrepresenting access to its inventory in September, the business news publisher took its fraud-fighting test a step further by purchasing counterfeit inventory that purported to be the FT’s to see which vendors were still selling fake FT impressions. Over few days at the end of October, the FT spent $500 on inventory that claimed to be FT.com.
The publisher found that 24 of the 25 exchanges had stopped spoofing the FT’s domain since the publisher called out the tech vendors that were selling the mislabeled inventory, said Jessica Barrett, global head of programmatic at the Financial Times. She wouldn’t say which vendor continues to misrepresent access to FT inventory.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how many exchanges were willing to work with us to fix this issue,” Barrett said, addressing the Digiday Programmatic Media Summit in New Orleans. “It was much less worse than I originally anticipated.”
In September, the FT ran a test to see which exchanges claimed to have access to its inventory and found that 10 display exchanges and 15 video exchanges falsely claimed to sell its video inventory. The FT estimated the value of the fraudulent inventory to be $1.3 million a month. The publisher demanded that several ad tech vendors, including Oath, SpotX and FreeWheel, stop representing access to its inventory.
Domain spoofing — where unscrupulous publishers and vendors obscure the nature of their traffic to resemble legitimate websites — most obviously hurts ad buyers since it leads them to waste money on junk. It also hurts publishers. The FT’s concern is that fraudulent impressions won’t drive results for advertisers, and if advertisers mistakenly think they’re getting FT inventory, they’ll blame the FT for getting a low return on investment.
The ad industry’s push for transparency likely nudged the vendors to clean up their act once the FT surfaced the amount of domain spoofing occurring in their platforms, Barrett said. With initiatives like the IAB Tech Lab protocol ads.txt — a text file that publishers host on their web servers that lists all the companies authorized to sell their inventory — taking off, vendors have incentive to hop on the clean inventory bandwagon to avoid becoming a pariah.
But just because the vast majority of exchanges stopped selling fake FT impressions once the publisher brought it to their attention doesn’t mean masked URLs claiming to be the FT won’t resurface again on their platforms.
“It’s easy to spot domain spoofing, but it is hard to put the kibosh on it,” Barrett said.
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: A timeline of media unions’ actions this quarter
Media unions are working to get contracts signed by the end of the year, and are using strikes, pickets and rallies to try and accomplish those goals.
BuzzFeed, Hearst, other publishers, replace lavish holiday parties with more subdued celebrations
BDG, BuzzFeed, Hearst and The Washington Post will host in-person holiday parties this year, though they will not be the stereotypical soirées.
Member ExclusiveMedia Buying Briefing: The latest media agency estimates for 2023 revenue are out and they remain, well, upbeat
Two holding company media agency analysts continue to hold a more positive, if slightly tempered outlook on 2023 given strong results for 2022.
SponsoredHow Comscore is simplifying pre- and post-campaign measurement for advertisers
Produced in partnership with Marketecture The following article provides highlights from an interview between Greg Dale, Comscore’s general manager of digital, and Mike Shields, co-founder of Marketecture. Register for free to watch more of the discussion and learn how advanced advertising measurement is providing advertisers access to the deep data they need across all platforms. […]
The case for and against publishers continuing holiday-specific commerce coverage post-Black Friday weekend
Black Friday is over but publishers are up in the air about whether or not to continue covering holiday sales in the lead up to the holidays.
Why PMG’s Nike win doesn’t seem all that unusual for the indie media agency
The Texas-based independent agency continues to grow its roster of clients after landing Nike's media AOR business for North America.