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Pixalate Week in Review: October 22 - 26, 2018

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

1. Pixalate and BuzzFeed News blow the lid on apparent ad fraud scheme


BuzzFeed News has investigated, expanded, and possibly identified a ring of bad actors related to Pixalate’s MegaCast mobile app laundering discovery. Their extensive investigation demonstrates a clear example of the sophisticated ends taken by companies intent on fraudulently profiting from mobile app advertising. The apparent scheme, involving app acquisitions by shell companies, fake emails and websites, and advanced malware, underscores the risky nature of the mobile in-app advertising landscape.

Want more information about the apparent massive mobile app ad fraud scheme Pixalate and BuzzFeed News unearthed? Here are just a few of the pieces you can read for new angles and insights:

2. Pixalate adds new information about alleged mobile app ad fraud scheme


Pixalate added new details to the alleged mobile app ad fraud scheme uncovered by Pixalate and BuzzFeed News in a recent blog post. Through ongoing research, Pixalate has discovered that over 11 million individual devices were potentially impacted by the alleged MegaCast ad fraud scheme, adding risk not only to the reputation of the brands involved but also to the consumer devices themselves.

The total number of devices with any of the suspicious apps exploded in Q4 2017, potentially to exploit holiday budgets. The number of impacted devices rose 53% from Q3 to Q4 2017, leveling off above 11 million during the first half of 2017. Learn more.

3. MediaPost: More on BuzzFeed's investigation, with new insight from Pixalate's Amy King


Adding new insight to BuzzFeed News' expose on mobile app ad fraud, MediaPost writes: "The investigation, spurred on by a blog post in June from the fraud intelligence firm Pixalate, says that Disney, Hulu and Volvo were among the advertisers that lost money to the fraud."

“This is one of the largest apparent mobile app ad fraud schemes exposed to date,” Amy King, vice president, product marketing at Pixalate, told MediaPost's Digital News Daily.  “Given the opportunities available to fraudsters to steal ad dollars, this apparent scheme is unlikely to be a solo instance,” King says. “We will continue to monitor the app ecosystem for signs of similar attacks.”

4. US, UK team to combat $50 billion ad fraud problem


"The U.S. and U.K. are working together to tackle ad fraud, a huge problem for brands that has meant they are potentially wasting billions of dollars online," reported CNBC. "[T]he U.S.'s Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) and the U.K.'s Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS), announced an initiative on Tuesday, where approved companies in the U.K. will be able to use a "Certified Against Fraud" stamp from January 1, 2019. The program has been in use in the U.S. since 2016." 

5. Brands see cost benefit by moving in-house


"For brand marketers, there are several advantages to bringing advertising responsibilities in-house, but one benefit rises above the rest ... about four in 10 respondents said that cost efficiencies were the primary benefit of having an in-house agency," reported eMarketer, citing a recent Association of National Advertisers survey of US client-side marketers.

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