Forbes has found an interesting glith in the matrix internet: Top brands are buying youtube ads that shouldn't exist. Spider.io watched traffic and found that certain plugins are sneakily placing ads into premium pages such as youtube, where the ads should not be....
The scam would run as follows: YouTube viewers wanting to download the music video or other clip they were watching would download one of several plugins that would appear toward the top of the search engine when they searched for a YouTube downloader. That plug-in would then insert ad slots onto the user’s browser when they went to various YouTube pages. While some of these slots would be regular YouTube inventory that was simply not sold in that instance, other slots, like the Norton ad in the image below, would simply be added to the page.
By concealing its name through a title called AdMatter and other sites, Sambreel would put its invented YouTube ad slots for sale on what Spider.io says were smaller ad networks and exchanges, which could lead to top-flight ad agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi picking up the spots without ever realizing they were paying for something YouTube wasn’t selling.
Fascinating. Toolbar inventory isn't new, but the fact that networks involved are high profile exchanges and ad networks is. Busted now, it seems they've packed up and gone home after being busted by Forbes. I'm sure we'll see them again tomorrow under another name using another tempting toolbar to lure the eyeballs in.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau could not be reached for comment and the Media Rating Council said it doesn’t audit YouTube. But Gartner analyst Andrew Frank says ad tech players are well aware of the damage such bad practices can do to their industry. “Most have expressed intentions to deal with the problem head-on, and some have taken proactive steps to do so, but the proponents of such techniques are resourceful,” Frank says. “It’s clear that substantially more efforts are needed to protect the digital advertising ecosystem from fraud.”
One way to discourage such tactics would be for the judicial system to clarify a stronger application of copyright law to punish the parties contributing to the “infringing ad” ecosystem, Frank says.