A huge portion of the web advertising eco-system is based on fraud, according to Spider.io, a company that analyzes web traffic. The company tells AdExchanger that it has detected a massive botnet — a network of computers controlled by malware — that drives bogus traffic and clicks to a group of about 202 web sites:
As we navigate the brave new world of online advertising, think about your own Web consumption patterns. If you’re like most people, you have a unique style of browsing for news and entertainment. In both your online research and news-gathering, a few basic patterns are likely to emerge:
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A large British packaged goods company that sells several household name brands in the U.S. was defrauded of $488,000 when its $10,000-a-day video ad budget was spent on a network of junk web sites, according to an internal document leaked to Business Insider.
The team at web traffic analytics site spider.io released a cool diagram that sheds light on the mostly invisible (and illegal) world of hidden display ad exchanges. Ad fraud occurs when high-traffic, low-quality sites (like porn or song lyric sites) insert legitimate websites into their browsers that visitors to the site don't even see. This boosts impressions (number of times legit ads are served) without humans ever even seeing the ads.