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Pixalate Week in Review: October 16 - 20, 2017

This week's review of ad fraud and quality in the digital advertising space.

1. Pixalate helps blow the lid on an ad fraud scheme

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"Some of the world’s biggest brands were ripped off by a digital fraud scheme that used a network of websites connected to US advertising industry insiders to steal what experts say could be millions of dollars," reported BuzzFeed News. Pixalate helped uncover this fraud scheme. "Pixalate referred to the group of properties it investigated as 'zombie sites' because of how they generate ad views without human action, and because it’s unlikely they could attract interest from a real audience," wrote BuzzFeed News.

2. Ad fraud bot takes on sports sites

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Adweek reports on a "stealthy bot that’s using a new tactic to siphon millions of dollars away from sports websites including NFL team domains, ESPN and CBS Sports." The article adds: "Specifically, the bot is focused on video ad units, which typically have higher cost-per-thousand, or CPM, prices"

3. IAB UK launches 'Gold Standard' of digital advertising to improve quality

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The IAB UK this week launched the "IAB Gold Standard" initiative "[i]n an effort to raise the standards in digital advertising and address the key issues facing the industry." One of the three prongs of the "Gold Standard" includes implementing ads.txt. "The deadline for implementing the three initiatives will be confirmed in the coming weeks. The IAB will encourage all of its members to commit to the IAB Gold Standard, intended to be an iterative programme to expand to cover other issues, for example audience measurement and viewability," the IAB wrote in a blog announcing the new standards.

4. Blockchain is the 'medicine,' not the 'cure'

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The Drum opines on whether or not blockchain is the "cure ... for the ills of advertising." The conclusion? Blockchain should be thought of as the medicine, not the cure. “Fraud will always be a game, and staying in step with the bad actors is the best anyone can do regardless of the technology. With that said, blockchain in conjunction with well-designed business and product functions can certainly help,” said Ben Feldman, VP of technical operations at NYIAX, per the Drum.

5. $15.8 billion annual revenue lost to ad blocking

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The digital ad industry continues to face quality-based challenges from multiple angles. MediaPost has reported that a new study "estimates a loss of more than $15.8 billion in publisher revenue, up from nearly $11 billion last year" due to ad blocking. The study also "reveals [that] the use of ad blockers continues to rise in the U.S., with 26% of consumers now using them, up from 22% in 2016."

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