The JP Morgan Domain Spoofing Wild Goose Chase

With digital advertising passing tv advertising sales for the first time ever in 2016, it really makes you think just how many ads digital viewers are consuming, and where exactly they are being placed on the web. A single ad can make it onto hundreds of thousands of websites, which typically leads to advertising platforms placing them on sites that companies would prefer the ads not appear on.

Perfect example: JPMorgan Chase and the infamous ad placement on the “Hillary 4 Prison” website. Seeing a Chase ad on a website like this naturally allows viewers to draw conclusions. This may read as Chase being a supporter of the website, something Chase was clearly not. Chase drastically decreased the number of sites that their ads would be placed on moving forward; from 400,000 down to a shocking 7,000. By carefully selecting the sites they want to advertise on, Chase figured they could reach their target audience in a much more tactful and efficient way. This proved to be true when they saw that ad viewability increased by 5%. The overall goal was to reduce fraud, which they did by an impressive 49%.

The actions Chase has taken in the last 8 months have stirred up much conversation in the ad tech and advertising industries. As one of the biggest players in the game, they are speaking up about legitimacy and transparency in the often dark and fraudulent digital advertising industry. Many other companies are planning to take actions of their own, reducing the overall amount of inventory being purchased. For many sites that rely on advertising revenues to operate, companies purchasing less inventory could be a huge cash flow / revenue problem. Despite actions taken by Chase, it’s still an uphill battle.

Chase still faces issues with domain spoofing, where poser sites act as if they are high-quality sites. Domain spoofing can also be called inventory spoofing, where fraudsters illicitly list inventory belonging to a top-tier publisher, syphoning ad dollars from publishers. Although the IAB’s ads.txt initiative could potentially solve these issues, it remains yet to be seen. The Authorized Digital Sellers List was just rolled out last week, and Chase isn’t interested in using ads.txt until its major ad publishers begin to use it as well. Here’s looking at you, eBay, WalMart, Yahoo…

As always, stay tuned.