Another Day, More Digital Fraud

Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 8.46.37 AMHow many of your ad tech and mar tech technology providers called you in September and October and said “Hey, we’re seeing some odd things happening and we think maybe there’s some new fraud taking place. Maybe you should cut back your buys at X, Y, Z.”

Yeah, I thought it would rhyme with “hero.”

Turns out that yet another scheme to defraud advertisers, HyphBot, was spun up in August and which was stealing maybe $500K per day. You have to ask yourself–why didn’t any of your technology providers alert you? Either they’re complicit or they’re stupid.

My money’s on both. Your technology “partners” don’t want to tell you about the fraud, because that means you’d spend less on digital advertising and that’s less fees. Less fees means less avocado toast, and that’s a bad thing. That makes them complicit.

A digression: If your technology provider only provides technology for a fee, and always gets the upside (the fee) while not participating in the downside, they’re a vendor. Never let them use the word “partner.” When you hear the word “partner” in that case, grab your wallet.

What makes them stupid is that they’re protecting the upside (the fee) and not willing to have skin in the game on the downside. In other words, all the risk for fraud and waste is on the client. And that’s just dumb, long-term. Why? Because somebody else is going to look out for the best interest of the client. As much as I hate to say this, ultimately it’ll be the big consulting firms that look out for the client. Your CEO will ask his buddy– a partner at Deloitte, Accenture, or PwC– if there’s a problem he should be thinking about.

The sound you just heard was that of ad tech and mar tech hucksters getting double-tapped by an engagement manager who won’t hesitate to tell your CEO that the “..aaS” API-based, transactional service offers no value, and it easy to game.

So the technology geniuses on the west coast are complicit in stealing your money, and too stupid to look out for you. What should you do about it, as you enter peak season? A few tips:

  • Read and understand Adform’s paper on HyphBot
  • Ask your digital marketers and ad agencies to prove how they did/did not get caught by this (plan 3 hours for the meeting and demand details)
  • Hire Shailin Dhar or Augustine Fou (two bright and ethical guys) to look at what you’re doing and then implement what they say
  • If you’re mucking in the programmatic cesspool (and you probably have to), hire Wayne Blodwell (a bright and ethical guy) to set up your programmatic strategy and process correctly
  • Don’t trust anybody in ad tech or mar tech until proven otherwise

Takeaway: Your ad tech and mar tech vendors, who insist on calling themselves “partners” aren’t on your side. Hire your own independent auditors. Demand accountability. Assume fraud in digital.

By the way, Happy Thanksgiving!

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