Advertisers were Paying Millions in Fake Ad Revenue, Reported Buzzfeed News

Buzzfeed News recently published an investigative report saying more than 125 apps and websites became victims of a fraud attempt that was involved in stealing hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenue.

The report further added that the fraud ring purchased genuine applications from developers through another company. The ownership of the apps was transferred to the shell companies that will keep managing the apps and will also have the access to the analysis report of the behavior and interactions of the users with the apps.
Related: How Social Media Is Changing the World of Advertising
The fraudsters would have used this data to establish a bot network interacting with the apps and make them look like the real users. Using this technique, they collected millions of dollars in ad revenue which was being paid by the companies to advertise including Google Ad network. This is really a foolproof system that integrates the fake traffic into the regular user data to dodge the anti-fraud system.

As soon as Google was made aware by Buzzfeed News, the company took an immediate action and removed various apps from the Play store as well as its ad network. One of the larger apps used in this fraudulent activity was EverythingMe with more than 20 million installations. According to a fraud detection firm Pixalate, a single app could have cost $75 million a year to the advertisers.

Google responds to large ad fraud operation that utilized more than 125 Android apps
Image: The Verge

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