This week's review of ad fraud and quality in the digital advertising space.
1. Pixalate uncovers 'DiCaprio': An OTT/CTV ad fraud scheme
Grindr, a dating app popular in the LGBTQ community and owned by Chinese gaming company Kunlun Tech, was utilized in an apparent cross-device ad fraud scheme that tricked advertisers into thinking they were buying video advertisements on Roku connected TV devices, according to new research from Pixalate.
The apparent scheme, which Pixalate has named “DiCaprio,” reveals how scammers can abuse security loopholes that exist in mobile app advertising to carry out ad fraud attacks spanning multiple devices, including the lucrative OTT/CTV ad ecosystem.
2. BuzzFeed News: 'Ad Fraudsters Exploited Grindr In A Scheme Targeting Roku Apps'
"[Grindr's] Android app was exploited by ad fraudsters in a scheme that stole money from advertisers — and drained the phone batteries and depleted the data plans of Grindr’s users," wrote BuzzFeed News.
“DiCaprio is one of the most sophisticated OTT ad fraud schemes we have seen to date,” Jalal Nasir, CEO of Pixalate, said to BuzzFeed News.
MediaPost's coverage of Pixalate's 'DiCaprio' ad fraud discovery zeroes in on how scammers could turn $1 CPM mobile display ad units into lucrative $25 CPM OTT video ad units by spoofing some premium Roku publishers. "The numerous premium publishers spoofed by the scheme have included CBS News, Fox, PBS, USA Today and TMZ," reported MediaPost.
ExchangeWire's Ciaran O'Kane and Lindsay Rowntree were joined by Vincent Flood of Video Ad News on ExchangeWire's MadTech podcast covering numerous topics, including the DiCaprio discovery, OTT/CTV ad fraud in general, and more. The discussion on DiCaprio and OTT ad fraud begins at the 15:25 mark.
4. Android malware for mobile ad fraud 'spiked sharply' in 2019
"Criminal groups are increasingly targeting users of Android mobile devices with malware for conducting ad fraud on a massive scale," reported Dark Reading, noting that "Android malware for mobile ad fraud spiked sharply in 2019."
5. More on Google Chrome's cookie-killing decision
Digiday reports on possible collateral damage from Google's decision to phase out the use of third-party cookies on its Chrome browser by 2022. In addition to ad targeting, Digiday says frequency capping, campaign attribution, audience analytics and more are among the areas to keep an eye on as the cookie crumbles.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog reflects Pixalate’s opinions with respect to the factors that Pixalate believes can be useful to the digital media industry. Any proprietary data shared is grounded in Pixalate’s proprietary technology and analytics, which Pixalate is continuously evaluating and updating. Any references to outside sources should not be construed as endorsements. Pixalate’s opinions are just that - opinion, not facts or guarantees.
Per the MRC,
“'Fraud' is not intended to represent fraud as defined in various laws, statutes and ordinances or as conventionally used in U.S. Court or other
legal proceedings, but rather a custom definition strictly for advertising measurement purposes. Also per the MRC,
“‘Invalid Traffic’ is defined generally as traffic
that does not meet certain ad serving quality or completeness criteria, or otherwise does not represent legitimate ad traffic that should be included in measurement counts.
Among the reasons why ad traffic may be deemed invalid is it is a result of non-human traffic (spiders, bots, etc.), or activity designed to produce fraudulent traffic.”