Online advertisers scammed for millions by fake customers, bot-generated ‘traffic’

Online advertisers scammed for millions by fake customers, bot-generated ‘traffic’

[Ed. – A lot of things are lurching into place to make Internet monetization all but impossible under the current structure.  This is one of them.  The more expensive it becomes for ad-bundlers to verify who’s placing their packages, and what impact their ads are really having, the less possible it is for small-pocket web publishers to operate.  At some point, ingenuity will have to prevail and offer a way ahead.  But at the moment, no one can see what it is.]

An ad-tech firm says it has discovered a large and sophisticated advertising-fraud operation in which fake websites and infected computers were used to scam advertisers and publishers out of upward of hundreds of thousands of dollars a day.

Denmark-based Adform, identifier of the scheme, named it “Hyphbot” and estimates that it has been going on since at least August.

According to Adform, the fraudsters behind the Hyphbot scheme created more than 34,000 different domain names and more than a million different URLs, many designed to attempt to fool advertisers into thinking they were buying ad inventory from big-name publishers such as the Economist, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and CNN. It is a tactic known in the industry as “domain spoofing.”

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The perpetrators then generated a wave of nonhuman, or “bot,” traffic that loaded the fraudulent sites, which made money mostly through video ads.

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