The legal action being brought by the Guardian against Rubicon for the “non-transparency” of fees highlights one of the murkier aspects of the on-line world. A competitor to the Guardian told me that around 90% of the fees paid by advertisers in order to feature alongside their “breaking news” stories end up with the adtech intermediaries. Hence the financial squeeze on those, like them, who expect journalists who check their stories. Hence also the sharp rise of fake news under a variety of guises.
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The main political parties are the latest to pull their YouTube advertising after seeing Jihadi videos alongside their ads and the major commercial advertisers are reviewing over $3 billion of adtech spend in the face of evidence of a massive rise in click-fraud.
Hence one of the reasons the Prime Minister’s call to clean up the Internet resulted in rapid claims from Facebook, Google and Twitter about the effort they are already putting in to do so – rather than echoing the calls of the Open Rights Group to “protect” free speech – as opposed to, for example, the “right” not to be trolled when using supposedly reputable services.
Meanwhile some those investors most anxious to stop the bubble bursting (and their protegees losing value) are still hyping the adtech industry But those who look ahead are looking to fund, for example, automated transaction analysis and fraud detection. If those suppliers can indeed demonstrate success in not only halting fraud while in progress, but also enabling legal action to put the perpetrators out of business (alongside who aided and abetted them), we might also see an implosion in the Infosec sticking plaster industry?