Week in Review: Blinkx Accuser Compromised by Contract with Funders, US Digital Spend Over Takes Broadcast TV, TubeMogul Publishes List of Bot Sites

This week’s video highlights focus almost exclusively on fraud and the industry’s attempts to tackle vieweability. To have a weekly summary of the industry’s news delivered to your inbox, simply subscribe here.

Blinkx Accusor Reportedly Offered Discounts to Mysterious Funders

Ben Edelman, the Harvard University professor who wiped 40 percent off the Blinkx share price by writing a blog post accusing the Aim internet advertising company of ‘defrauding advertisers’.

On January 28th, Edelman wrote, “Specifically, I show ex-Zango adware still sneaking onto users’ computers and still defrauding advertisers. I show the ex-AdOn traffic broker still sending invisible, popup, and other tainted traffic. I show Blinkx’ namesake site, Blinkx.com, leading users through a maze of low-content pages, while charging advertisers for video ads systematically not visible to users.”

Blinkx have since published an extensive rebuttal, which Edelman responded with a counter-attack of his own.

However, the Telegraph reported how Edelman admitted during a Q&A at the UK Investor Show that he was incentivised to produce damaging accusations by the two unnamed US investment firms that paid for his Blinkx research. Edelman allegedly said his contract with his clients contained the clause: “If I find nothing, there will be a discount.”

US Online Spend Overtakes Broadcast TV

Spending on online advertising has overtaken broadcast TV advertising (bear in mind that cable television is counted separately) in the US, according to a new report produced by PWC on behalf of the IAB.

  • For the third year in a row, mobile achieved triple-digit growth year-over-year, rising to $7.1 billion during full year 2013, a 110 percent boost from the prior year total of $3.4 billion. Mobile accounted for 17 percent of 2013 revenues, whereas it was 9 percent of revenues in 2012.
  • Digital video, which for some reason the IAB counts as a component of ‘display-related advertising’, brought in $2.8 billion in full year 2013, up 19 percent over revenues of $2.3 billion in 2012. As a result, it also increased its share to become the fourth largest format, directly behind mobile.
  • Search revenues totaled $18.4 billion in 2013, up 9 percent from 2012, when search totaled $16.9 billion.
  • Display-related advertising revenues in 2013 totaled $12.8 billion or 30 percent of the year’s revenues, a rise of 7 percent over $12 billion in 2012.
  • Retail advertisers continue to represent the largest category of internet ad spending, responsible for 21 percent in 2013, followed by financial services and closely trailed by automotive which account for 13 and 12 percent of the year’s revenues respectively.

PWC - Advertising Market Share

Viewability Round-Up

TubeMogul Publishes Botnet List

TubeMogul has published some interesting information about some of the leading botnets discovered by the company, as well as a list of websites:

  • Blog Bot: So-called because this botnet runs across a network of low quality blogs that use the same layout. These sites are pirating legitimate video content to create over 31.7 million fake video ad impressions available for buying per day.
  • 411 Bot: after inquiries from TubeMogul to several major video ad exchanges, this network of sites is largely dismantled. The botnet is named after a network of sites that feature “411” in their URL (i.e. “411news.net”). Before it was taken down, over 2.5 million fake views per day were available for buying on the major exchanges.
  • Annex Bot: over 54.2 million non-human impressions are available for buying on the major exchanges per day. The botnet is named after several heavily-trafficked sites that feature “annex” in their URLs.
Adap.tv Launches ‘Advertising Assurance’
Earlier this week Adap.tv launched ‘Advertising Assurance’, a set of adaptive measures aimed at brand safety. Advertisign Assurance will ‘draw upon existing first- and third-party technologies’ that will be integrated into Adap.tv’s buy and seller platforms, Audience Path and Demand Path. Adap.tv says a multi-faceted approach will provide a ‘crystal clear understanding of and actionable insights about the audiences they are reaching within video’.

BrightRoll Partners with Moat on Viewability

BrightRoll is partnering with MRC-accredited Moat on viewability, which will be fully integrated into the BrightRoll platform’s planning, targeting, optimisation and reporting tools to ensure ads can be seen by their target audience. At BrightRoll, we believe that video ad viewability is best measured by independent, accredited third parties and not by platforms whose revenue is tied to media spending,” said Andy Mitchell, Managing Director of BrightRoll Europe. “We’ve been committed to viewability for over a year and are committed to an open and transparent approach to viewability that provides advertisers confidence to continue making investments in online video.”

“The significance of integrating the viewability metrics from Moat is that we are using a third-party auditor,” added Mitchell. “The MRC is international so the robustness of the methodology we are using will resonate across Europe.” BrightRoll will be offering the service at no extra cost.

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