The Financial Times got 24 ad exchanges to stop spoofing its site
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 ExclusiveManaging during crisis: How to cut costs and communicate tough decisions
During the wide-ranging talk, held virtually exclusively for Digiday+ members, former Comscore CEO Bryan Wiener explained which skills --decisiveness, focus and communication -- will make any leader, regardless of how experienced, ready to adapt their companies and come out of the coronavirus pandemic stronger than ever.
‘It’s important everyone steps up’: BBC Global News Jim Egan on media in a time of crisis
"Traditional rules and restrictions about getting processes underway are being put to one side."
How The Financial Times is adapting its events business
During a time where it’s broadly illegal for people in the U.S. and Europe to gather, The Financial Times is adapting its in-person event business. Wasting little time, the business and finance publisher hosted the first in a series of online events, called “Digital Dialogues,” on Wednesday, April 1. “The Global Economic Emergency” session featured […]
SponsoredBridging the TV-digital divide from an engineer’s perspective
TV supports a complex ecosystem of planning, negotiation, reporting and measurement. As digital content merges with television, leading engineers and experts are tackling the significant challenge of bringing those same skill sets to the video landscape.
Mel Magazine co-founder Josh Schollmeyer on how the site’s ‘never been there to push razors’
Mel Magazine is growing in name recognition, but how the men's lifestyle site could best serve its parent company, Dollar Shave Club, is still a bit unknown. "It's never been there just to push razors," founding editor Josh Schollmeyer said on the Digiday Podcast.
‘There’s a tremendous amount of uncertainty’: Confessions of a chief media officer
As companies reign in costs, senior marketers are having to become experts in cash flow management, according to the latest Confessions.