Impression fraud is alive and well.
While most media outlets have shouted the alarm bells about click fraud over recent years, we shouldn’t forget that the old stalwart of online advertising fraud still exists: impression fraud.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported about recent examples where web sites would show “invisible ads”, inflating the number of banner ad impressions for companies such as Kraft Foods, Greyhound Lines and Capital One Financial.
In one example, MyToursInfo.com opened forty invisible web pages, each with 3 ads each. That’s 120 fake impressions.
The Wall Street Journal couldn’t track down the owner of MyToursInfo.com (which has shut down), but historical whois records show that the site was owned by LinkedNetwork Co., Ltd of Juneau, Alaska.
Impression and click fraud is most easily perpetrated when there are many layers between the advertiser and the publisher. In many networks, the publisher actually deals with a sub-affiliate of the advertising network, creating many degrees of separation to the actual advertiser.