A new ad fraud scheme that drains the user’s phone battery and data by running video ads behind banner images has been discovered by fraud detection firm Protected Media. The ad fraud scheme also scams advertisers as well as app developers.
A BuzzFeed report points out that Israeli firm Aniview and its subsidiary OutStream Media were found to be involved in the scheme, though this was denied by Aniview CEO Alon Carmel in an emailed statement to the website.
The ad fraud works by showing users autoplaying video ads hidden behind banner ads. Even though the user does not actually see the autoplaying ads, they are registered as viewed, which lets fraudsters make a lot more money than the advertiser selling the banner ad.
In case of app developers, they get paid only for banner ad space, where in reality, the space is being used to play video ads that cost much more.
“Fraudsters are purchasing cheap in-app display inventory and are filling it with multiple video players behind innocuous fake branded display ads,” Asaf Greiner, the CEO of Protected Media told BuzzFeed.
The fraud, known as in-banner video ads, works by siphoning off money from brands whose ads have been registered as viewed but never actually seen by the user.
The ad fraud was brought to light by Protected Media in October last year. However, the Aniview CEO told BuzzFeed that his company “does not knowingly engage in any fraudulent activity”, adding that its subsidiary OutStream Media shut operations last summer.