Adform Warns On New Botnet; Salesforce Marketing Cloud Revenue Grows 40%

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“I like big bots and I cannot lie.” Or so some vendors imply when they release data that raises marketer fears about digital ad fraud. Demand-side platform Adform is the latest to expose a fraud operation, as covered by The Wall Street Journal, that spoofs domains from premium publishers like The New York Times, Financial Times and The Economist. The operation, dubbed “Hyphbot,” was active across 34,000 websites and 1 million suspicious URLs, monetizing all that inventory on 14 exchanges at a rate of up to 1.5 billion bid requests per day. The scheme cost publishers up to $500,000 a day, according to Adform. But how much did it cost, really? More. Hyphbot is reminiscent of Methbot, the billion-dollar Russian botnet scheme uncovered by fraud detection firm White Ops almost exactly a year ago [AdExchanger coverage].

Gale-Force Salesforce

The Salesforce Marketing and Commerce Clouds grew 40% year over year to $346 million, the company disclosed in its Q3 earnings report. The division is on track for a 2017 revenue run rate of $1 billion, helped along by its 2016 acquisition of Krux. Another takeaway from the earnings call: The Salesforce growth engine is fueled by partners. CEO Marc Benioff said systems integrators and consultancies generate more than half of its business. More.

Promises, Promises

Facebook said it would step up enforcement of unfair demographic targeting for real estate, credit and employment ads earlier this year after a ProPublica investigation showed how easy it was for such advertisers to block messaging to ethnic and minority groups, wheelchair users and others whose access to home and job listings is protected by federal law. But ProPublica ran the same test campaigns and found them approved in minutes, flying in the face of Facebook’s stated policy. “This was a failure in our enforcement and we’re disappointed that we fell short of our commitments,” Ami Vora, Facebook VP of product management, tells ProPublica. “Our systems continue to improve but we can do better.” More.

No Opt-Out

In other walled-garden snafus, Google has been collecting location data on Android operating system users when location services are turned off, when no apps have been opened and even if a carrier SIM card hasn’t been inserted, according to Quartz. The location data isn’t pulled directly from the phone, but is gathered by tying the phone to nearby cell towers. The addresses of the cell towers are included in the data passed to Google for targeting Android push notifications and messages. A Google spokesperson said the company used the cell tower addresses only to improve OS message delivery and that it had never synced such location information with the network location data it applies for advertisers or developers. Even so, the data tracks people who had even gone to explicit lengths to opt out of location data sharing. More.


WPP is accepting Bain Capital’s $1.35 billion takeover bid of Japanese ad agency Asatsu-DK (ADK) after openly rejecting that same price a month ago for severely undervaluing the agency, Reuters reports. WPP, which owns a 25% stake in ADK, was swayed by Bain’s offer to let WPP own 25% of the entity where it would house ADK. The offer for ADK is on the table until Dec. 6. More.

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