If you’ve had a
The identification comes in
It’s yet another haul of evidence pointing out deep-seated rot in the “programmatic” part of the online ad business, in which ad networks match open space on sites with potential advertisers through automated auctions.
A multi-level malware machine
The operation Confiant describes was larger than most: The New York company estimates that Zirconium’s “malvertising” got seen about a billion times last year, and in seven days of December showed up on 62% of a panel of 600 sites that it monitored.
But the con was also more complex, in that Zirconium built fake firms to sell fake ads. This operation, itself hidden behind a Scottish shell company, created an ad network named MyAdsBro (yes, somebody thought this was a good name for a firm meant to sound legitimate) and then spawned 28 bogus ad agencies.
These companies’ websites look extremely similar, complete with buzzword-laden sales pitches and links to Twitter accounts spouting such marketing mumbo-jumbo as “Try to get the eventual user in online marketing” or “The main thing in online marketing is to have a progress report.”
A few of these online storefronts look sloppier than others. For instance, one fake firm that claims to run 4,600-plus ad campaigns lists a British street address that Google Maps shows as a rundown block of townhomes.