Putting a Stop to Programmatic Malpractice

Real-time bidding and programmatic help streamline the ad-buying experience on both the buying and selling sides; but, when you sell ads on an impression-by-impression basis in a matter of milliseconds, quality control can be a colossal and ambitious undertaking. 

John Battelle calls for an answer to programmatic's quality dilemma in his latest blog at Battelle Media. From fraudulent browser plugins to running numerable ads out of view just to gain attributive impressions, as described by Federated Media’s Walter Knapp, programmatic can be a landmine of trickery. 

Companies and industry leaders are fighting back, many, including AppNexus, are investing in improving and ensuring the quality of their programmatic offerings. 

“We’re proud of our anti-piracy stance, and our 5x volume growth this year indicates that you don’t need to serve on BitTorrent sites to be an ad platform company,” AppNexus CEO Brian O'Kelly in a recent venture-capital investment announcement. 

But, with all the efforts to quell the fraudulent ad tactics in programmatic, where's the improvement? 

“The bad actors are currently far ahead of the good guys,” Battelle said. “And worse, many in our industry are turning a blind eye, hoping the problem goes away in time, without too much publicity.” 

And, while fraud hurts the progress of programmatic, people's paycheck aren't hurt by it. 

“Well, nearly everyone gets paid from fraud,” Battelle said. “Even the marketers, who are footing the bill, feel like they are getting value – because the success metrics they’ve set up are being met.” 

The road to high-quality automated ad sells, such as programmatic premium advertising, is a long process, with inventive technologies and strategies that work to improve ad quality. But, for tier 1 inventory to sell successfully on automated channels, quality control must become a true focal point. 

"Quality content publishers see the large, open exchanges as flea markets," said Upstream Group CEO and Founder Doug Weaver in a recent AdMonsters article on programmatic premium

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