Your one-stop for the most important articles in digital marketing this week. In this post, our team dives deep to get you the latest digital marketing news in one place. Enjoy! 

Only 6% of the ad industry is happy with the digital advertising ecosystem

The figures come as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) kicks off two inquiries into online advertising, with one focusing on the adtech industry. More than 100 brand marketers, agencies and digital publishers were surveyed, with 6% saying they’re satisfied with the current digital advertising ecosystem. Another 92% believe there is a need for industry-wide standardization. The Australian watchdog is calling for feedback from the industry as it begins its inquiry into the sector, which it has described as “opaque”. It’s expected to hand down its interim report by December.

“Digital advertising is still suffering from the same issues of transparency, fraud and fragmentation,” Christiana Cacciapuoti, executive director at AdLedger, says. “And it’s because we just keep slapping band-aids on a fundamentally broken system, when we need to be developing a new infrastructure that’s driven by innovative technologies.”

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YouTube U-turns on coronavirus video ad ban

Created as a brand safety failsafe to minimize the risk of material deemed unsuitable for association with commercial partners coming into association negative footage the decision has now been reversed, with advertisers now featured alongside trusted sources.

YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki said: “In the days ahead, we will enable ads for content discussing the coronavirus on a limited number of channels, including creators who accurately self-certify and a range of news partners. “It’s becoming clear this issue is now an ongoing and important part of everyday conversation, and we want to make sure news organizations and creators can continue producing quality videos in a sustainable way.”

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Daniel Yomtobian built an empire on dubious online advertising traffic.

It was a weed that Google kept trying and failing to kill. The browser extension MyPDF kept appearing and being removed from the Chrome Web Store. Its most recent stint saw it gain more than 20,000 installs before Google booted it as a follow-up to the company’s recent removal of more than 500 malicious extensions.

Neither Google nor researchers at Duo, the security company that flagged the extensions to the tech giant, revealed who was behind the scheme. But a BuzzFeed News investigation, conducted with cybersecurity firm White Ops and traffic authentication company DoubleVerify, found more than 60 extensions exhibiting the malicious behavior were owned by Daniel Yomtobian, the founder and CEO of Inc., a company that sells web traffic and digital ad products.

Yomtobian is a gregarious Los Angeles entrepreneur who for roughly 20 years has run companies that infected personal computers with adware and earned money from what White Ops and DoubleVerify identified as fraudulent web traffic.

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Publishers Let Randoms Stick Ads In Their Slots

Dr. Augustine Fou discusses the risk publishers face by allowing third-party vendors to serve ads into slots on their sites. The problem is that the fraud verification and brand safety vendors are black box, that means they deliver the verdict of fraudulent but don’t or can’t explain HOW they marked something as fraudulent. They say this is because they have to keep their “secret sauce” secret. But yet, they are given the power to determine if a publisher can monetize their own content or not. 

There are now dozens of articles showing that real news sites’ ad revenues are hurt by brand safety tech vendors, while fake news and disinfo sites continue making money and proliferating. Further, in many cases the advertiser has already paid for the impression (that was replaced by the cloud ad, the default ad that fraud verification vendor DoubleVerify serves up when they determine a user is invalid or the page is not brand-safe) but the publisher is left to defend themselves against IVT and brand safety accusations, without being presented with evidence so they can see what they need to do to fix it.

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Everything you need to know about ad fraud

Digital ad fraud is any deliberate activity that prevents the proper delivery of ads to the intended audience, or in the intended place. Most commonly taking the form of bots, or domain spoofing, ad fraud thrives by siphoning off money from advertising transactions. It can come in many forms: pretending to be humans browsing the internet or falsely representing low-quality inventory as high quality.

So, where are we at right now with ad fraud? Why has it not been resolved? And, what action can we all take to help stop it? This article summarises the latest findings on ad fraud and digs deep into an issue that continues to keep many marketers up at night.

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So there you have it friends, the best articles for this week. Make sure to check back every week for a quick absorption of the most relevant articles in the industry and stay on top of your game.