Publishers play dumb after buying traffic

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So they’re defrauding advertisers? While I’m sure the costs get past on to the public somehow in our corporate-welfare state making it bad for everyone, I find it difficult to muster sympathy for advertisers.


They were, are, and will continue to do so indefinitely.

Clickfraud / traffic fraud have been endemic to online advertising since day one, and there are pictures out there of people holding checks from the early days of Google AdWords in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range, all generated from similar fraudulent schemes.

The ad agencies don’t want to stop it because it generates work for them. Platforms like Google don’t want to stop it because it makes them money.

The only people that want to stop it is the advertisers themselves, and now (finally) services are emerging to help them detect clickfraud… But it’s an arms race. All they can do is raise the cost of clickfraud to the point where it’s not worth it anymore, but that’s really expensive, and there’s always going to be someone that figures out how to do it cheaper, and it’s always going to be a marginal cost type of calculation.


I’m proud that I got most of the way through the BuzzFeed article before the craving for sweet death overwhelmed me. I tapped out at “He said the traffic coming through his system passes the filters of multiple verifications companies and is therefore human and valid”. (Where “he” is a person whose job is to trick drunk / confused / subnormal people into leaving a hidden browser window open as it views a succession of ad-encrusted websites).

None of this matters. For normal humans the only story is “hey, did you know that a bunch of people exist in a nonsense parallel world of clicks and eyeballs, toiling to make meaningless numbers on spreadsheets go up and down? You won’t believe how much of the internet is targeted at this bizarro clusterfuck dimension rather than, you know, reality!”

I know no one’s listening, but Advertising Is The Problem. The buying and selling of attention is a frontal assault on civilisation and things will keep getting worse until we stop doing it.


it’s called the society of the spectacle. it cannot be stopped and it shall be our undoing

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