This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.
Welcome to Reed Smith's viewpoints — timely commentary from our lawyers on topics relevant to your business and wider industry. Browse to see the latest news and subscribe to receive updates on topics that matter to you, directly to your mailbox.
| 1 minute read

Subprime Attention Crises - Adtech fraud: Regulating the space of adtech

This fascinating article suggests that digital advertising could be facing its 2008 housing bubble moment – as also considered by Tim Hwang in his insightful book: 'Advertising and the Time Bomb at the Heart of the Internet'. If the advertising market is not to be perceived as a castle built on shifting sand, it needs to take ad fraud more seriously. Ad tech intermediaries’ resistance to disclosing log level data makes the entire ecosystem a black box in which ad fraud thrives – much like housing securities in the 2000s that were packaged into very attractive looking investments but built on worthless mortgages. Back in 2014, research released by Google suggested that an incredible 56.1% of ads on the internet were not seen by humans. Without access to and being able to match log level impression data it’s impossible to know if that has got better or much worse as increasingly sophisticated fraudsters have had almost a decade to iterate their operations knowing that most advertisers will never be able to look under the hood. The article calls on those in the industry to act on ad fraud, before Government intervenes and imposes its own rules. Looking forward to seeing how the new industry coalition, the UK Stop Ad Funded Crime will be able to foster greater transparency in digital advertising.


advertising, adtech, entertainment & media, emerging technologies