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BizReport : Advertising : May 29, 2014

Rocket Fuel responds to Mercedes-Benz ad fraud figures

Mercedes-Benz is the latest big brand to fall victim to online fraud with over half of a sample of ad impressions deemed to be viewed by advertising botnets, according to the Financial Times, a figure that Rocket Fuel, who brokered the ads, refutes.

by Helen Leggatt

Recent data from ad technology provider Project Sunblock found that more than three-quarters (78%) of UK advertisers have no insight into how many of their online advertising impressions are fraudulent.

Furthermore, the survey of 268 senior marketing decision makers with UK brands found that 1 in 5 have no process in place to prevent them falling victim to botnets, despite the problem costing them a significant amount of money - £10-£15,000 (US$17-25,000) each year.

In this week's Financial Times it was revealed that luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz had fallen victim. In a sample of 365,000 ad impressions brokered by Rocket Fuel during a three week period, more than half (57%) were deemed to have been the result of botnets rather than human.

"This is a unfortunate case for Mercedes, but it is far from alone in its fight against the advertising botnets," said Andrew Goode, COO of Project Sunblock. "Complex computer programmes are preying on big advertising budgets as marketers flock online in order to increase brand visibility. So much so, that industry bodies now predict that at least a third of all online traffic is generated by robots."

However, Rocket Fuel has denied the 57% quoted by the Financial Times. Instead, they told The Drum that only 6% of Mercedes-Benz's ad impressions were fraudulent. Indeed, that 6% of "questionable" ads were replaced by quality ad inventory.

"Bots are a real problem, but less so than sensational headlines on top of non-news," Rocket Fuel told The Drum.

JuliusKielaitis /

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: advertising impressions, botnet fraud, online advertising, online fraud

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