4.8. Fraud advertising (fake products, supplements)

Whenever money is involved, there is always an opportunity for a fraud. From a technical perspective, online advertising fraud has been relatively easy (and yes – lucrative) business for fraudsters and a financial disaster for advertisers, publishers and online ad platforms themselves. Online ad business was built on a number of Internet Open Standard technologies which never meant to be fraud / scam / steal proof. As a consequence, ad fraudsters got a huge head start. According to Juniper, in 2019 online advertising industry was facing a stunning $42 billion loss due to ad fraud and unfortunately there isn’t any reason to believe the figure will be less this year.

To clarify, digital ad fraud is an intentional activity that prevents advertisements from being delivered to the right audience or location. The malicious risks that marketers face today are getting increasingly sophisticated, and therefore greater, than previously anticipated.

The digital advertising environment now involves thousands of intermediaries, presenting a plethora of dark corners in which fraudsters can conceal criminal activity. Fraudsters know when they’re being watched and have become even more dangerous, making it all the more challenging to prevent ad fraud.

As a result, 96 pc of consumers say they have little trust in digital advertising – making it harder for marketers to demonstrate that their ads are legitimate. So what steps should organisations take to prevent losing much of their budget to fraud and, with it, consumer trust?

Even if a small percentage of consumers still click the fraudulent ads and buy fake products or services, it’s still a huge business and monetary intention to develop the techniques and marketing efforts 

Smart consumer needs to partial undertake the responsibility to mitigate the fraud in advertising by reporting fake and discouraging the less skilful people around them to engage with such ads.

How to recognise fake advertisements? 

It’s relatively easy once you understand and know the pattern:

  1. Online ads quality usually stands out to be poor and content repetitive;
  2. Huge and unrealistic claims and promises to deliver rather impossible results either to get rich quick or grow back the lost hair;
  3. Landing pages will be hosted under weird domain names, unknown brands, photos of either celebrities or non-existing professionals will be used;
  4. The font used in landing pages stand out to be colourful, very incentivising to take action and big discounts are offered;
  5. The landing page and product description page might contain big quantity of fake and mostly very positive reviews.

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