Ad:Tech has come and gone, and I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. While the event did give me the opportunity to meet up with some of my best clients, I was disappointed with the majority of vendors who exhibited for one specific reason…online fraud.
With the recent downturn in the economy, there has been a lot of discussion regarding what advertisers must do to protect themselves from online fraud. The major SEM companies have assured advertisers over and over again that they are taking actions to protect them from fraudulent clicks. As an advertiser who is always on the lookout for new channels to market through, I posed the same question to every booth, “What does your network do to protect my company from online fraud?” The answers that I received was like an LP stuck on the same verse. “We work closely with you to identify fraudulent data, we swiftly remove fraudulent publishers from our network, and we never charge our advertisers for fraudulent data.”
Quite frankly, this isn’t good enough as the majority of actions come after the fraudulent data has been passed from the network to the advertiser. As an advertiser, it feels like I am the one that networks are counting on to determine that…
- fraud is occurring
- pinpoint the fraudulent publisher in their network, not mine
- pinpoint the fraudulent data to ensure that I don’t pay for it
The logic escapes me on this. Doesn’t it make more sense for me to avoid this third party headache and work directly with the publisher? By cutting out the middleman, I no longer have to rely on my account manager to rely on me to pinpoint fraud. Instead, I can rely on myself. I can protect my company from start to finish by personally overseeing any publisher that runs our offer.
As our economic woes continue, there will be more pressure on advertisers to produce. However, don’t sacrifice quality to reach your numbers. We owe it to our clients to provide them with a quality product, and as such, we shouldn’t just run our offers on affiliate networks who will not safe guard our brand and our clients. I urge all advertisers to scrutinize and ask questions to any affiliate network that you may be thinking about running your offer on. Also, stay abrest on the latest news on cyber crime. While revenues may not increase at the rate that you would like, your efforts to safeguard yourself against fraud will have a long term positive impact for your company.