The digital ad sector has made some tangible progress in the war on fraudulent ad impressions, thanks to new detection methods and improved hygiene from many sell-side platforms. But one of the biggest exchanges has added rather than subtracted invalid impressions, and buyers are complaining.
AppNexus, the industry's uber-exchange and one of the most promising ad tech platforms globally, has in recent months come to be seen as a major point of entry for invalid impressions in the programmatic space.
Multiple sources on the demand-side tell the same story: AppNexus has over the past year or so allowed legions of new supply partners, many of a long-tail nature, into its ecosystem. Many are legitimate publishers. Others are bot-fueled "ghost sites," ad farms and other sellers of a dubious nature.
Today, as much as 30 to 40% of the total impression volume flowing through AppNexus is impossible to verify. Not necessarily fraud, but not not-fraud.
And, while smart buyers are able to avoid much of this stuff by vetting supply sources, working with anti-fraud vendors, and applying best practices, other less sophisticated buyers are still snatching up those ads like so many knock-off Louis Vuitton handbags.
O'Kelley Acknowledges 'Trust' Issue
The good news for aggravated buyers is that AppNexus is aware it has a problem, and is working to solve it.
In an interview with AdExchanger, CEO Brian O'Kelley acknowledged the existence of "trust gaps" between buyers and sellers on his company's exchange. And he outlined plans to overcome the issue, including a new certification program that will essentially act as an AppNexus stamp of approval for verified ad space.