Fake news, the Google/Facebook ”duopoly” marking its own homework, and ad blocking are all impediments to digital media being optimized for trustworthy, transparent uses and positive, measurable brand outcomes.
But no impediment is bigger, or worse, than advertiser money lost to bot fraud -- whether it's $17 billion or a lot less.
Yet a recent study reported that only 18% of digital marketers have a zero tolerance for ad fraud.
That is counterintuitive when all offline advertisers have a zero tolerance for paying for ads that don't run or don't run where they are bought to run. In all cases, the places where offline ads are bought are, verifiably, places where humans go to view media properties.
So why should digital advertisers act differently?
They shouldn’t -- and they wouldn’t need to tolerate ad fraud if they insisted that their agencies and their ad-tech partners attacked bot fraud before it can happen.
I am not undervaluing white lists and black lists that have been created. Advertisers who use these lists know not to buy ads on these sites, but only after the bad actors who control these sites have perpetrated bot fraud, stolen the advertisers' money, and sent that money to really bad places.
My solution? Never send any money to any site until it is verified that site is visited by humans who have a chance to see the ads.
I recognize that many people will say my solution is not possible. That said, my cadre of “deep packeteers” tell me it can be done -- and should be done -- to remove the biggest obstacle to creating trust and transparency in the digital media supply chain.
All of us unite to make my common-sense solution a common practice.