Fraudulent online advertising practices exposed, e-commerce businesses potentially affected

The online advertising market continues to undergo radical changes as it finds its role within e-commerce and the Internet. Anti-trust legislation, market duopoly’s and the role of organic searches have all been under debate within the last year. Most recently, fraudulent advertising techniques have come to light, which has created issues for buyers, sellers and hosts of online advertising of all sizes.

Market growth for online advertising has increased by billions of dollars annually. Advertisers globally spent a collective $170 billion in 2016, according to Ironpaper. With the increasing amount of advertising spending globally, fraudulent advertising practices are taking larger shares of potential revenue. Global revenue wasted on fraudulent traffic might reach over $16 billion in 2017, as per reports from Business Insider. That cut is only expected to increase, with recent projections predicting as much as $50 billion within the next 10 years.


Fraudulent online advertising could come in the form of bots delivering artificial views on a purchased ad or sellers buying cheap ad space on low-traffic websites and listing it as a premium spot on a highly-populated website. Ad exchange websites list potential online ad space, often at a discount compared with major companies like Facebook and Google. Some scammers place ad listings for popular websites in what could appear to some as being too-good-to-be-true. But some unsuspecting buyers might pay for this ad space, thinking their ad would appear on a popular website when, in reality, it’s appearing on a low-traffic site that the scammer bought. Also, Integral Ad Science estimates 9 percent of online advertising bought through programmatic channels (essentially using machines to buy advertising space as opposed to human negotiation through trusted avenues) is fraudulent.

Google’s solution, ads.txt, allows web publishers to clearly outline who is and isn’t allowed to sell advertising space on their website. With participation from web publishers and buyers actively making an effort to buy from authorized sellers, fraudulent advertising practices could be curtailed. The incentive to purchase space through ad exchange services has been higher in recent years as Facebook and Google have become the dominant players in online advertising. E-commerce businesses who wanted to increase traffic participated in “Pay-Per-Click” programs, allocating a monthly budget to achieve a certain number of impressions. The cost per click (CPC), however, rose as the platforms became more popular and competition rose for popular keywords. Businesses were drawn to ad exchanges that promised high-traffic ad space for a fraction of the cost.

For e-commerce businesses, growing their websites through organic traffic is sustainable in the long-run, cuts costs that would be used to purchase advertising space and raises traffic at a higher rate than a PPC program would. Dirxion online catalogs offer SEO guide pages that involves a process of indexing every page of the printed catalog. This practice helps boost the overall SEO of the online catalogs site, as well as increase the likelihood of someone finding a catalog page when searching a company’s brand name. In addition, Dirxion online catalogs offer a variation of ad platform services for customers through widgets. The widgets, which come in a variation of sizes and implementations, can be either integrated into an existing advertising program or the customer can sell space directly to customers without having to use an external advertising service.

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