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The Ad Contrarian: Fake traffic could cost advertisers $9.5 billion this year

by Bob Hoffman (@adcontrarian) On 17 June, we published a piece called The $7.5 Billion Ad Swindle. It was about the massive fraud that is being perpetrated on advertisers by criminality within the online advertising industry.

A new report by Solve Media indicates that the fraud is growing at an alarming rate. According to an Adweek piece last week, in just 3 months the size of the fraud has jumped to about $9.5 billion this year (by the way, kudos to Mike Shields of Adweek who won’t let this story go away.)

In the first quarter of 2013, Solve reports that the amount of suspicious web advertising traffic has risen from 43% to 46%. That means that 46% of the viewership reported by websites seems to be fraudulent. It is not people. It is computer programs (bots) pretending to be people to drive up the numbers and screw advertisers out of billions of dollars.