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BizReport : Advertising archives : January 17, 2009

Right Media accused of selling deceptive ads

Ben Edelman, an ad researcher and assistant professor at Harvard's Business School, has accused Right Media of knowingly allowing the sale of deceptive ads on its exchange.

by Helen Leggatt

According to Edelman, who is well known in the ad industry for his analysis of the brokering of sub-premium ad space online, claims as many as 34% of ad messages sold through Right Media may be deceptive.

Right Media is the Internet's largest marketplace for remnant/unsold display ads. Sellers of advertising space would typically rather sell their most desirable space elsewhere, where they can get higher prices. This means Right Media is left with relatively less desirable ad inventory.

"Who wants to buy that space?" asks Edelman. "In part, bottom-feeders whose ads have a tendency to deceive."

In his recent report, Edelman provides many examples of deceptive ads. They range from ads that promise something for "free", yet omit details of any related consumer obligations, to fake operating system dialog boxes.

Right Media released a statement saying they were deeply committed to providing advertisers, agencies, networks and publishers with a high-quality experience. However, as Edelman points out, they continue to run ads that conflict with this statement and even place potentially deceptive ads into unique categories, such as "Mimics Windows/Mac/Unix dialog boxes".

Meanwhile, Right Media have defended their position in an email to Edelman which was reprinted in his report. "We have rigorous platform standards and guidelines for our members that we expect them to follow, which include preventing the use of our system in a misleading, deceptive or illegal manner. For example, since Exchange members classify their own content, we expect all advertisers to accurately categorize their creatives and associated landing pages, and we expect that publishers will select the types of ads that are appropriate for their Web sites. Our Media Guard tool for creatives also provides additional safeguards for the Exchange. If we learn that an ad is in conflict with laws or regulations, our expectations or our guidelines, we take action to remove it from the Exchange as quickly as possible."

Tags: ad inventory, Ben Edelman, deceptive ads, fake ads, remnant inventory, Right Media, Yahoo

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