A new online marketing scam has been unveiled in the US and it is sadistic to be costing businesses an astounding $1.28 million per day. In the past two months, thousands of publishers have fallen victim to thousands of bots that have generated fake versions of their websites, a technique called “domain spoofing,” according to a paper published Wednesday by ad technology company Adform. Brands unknowingly bought ad space on these fake sites through ad exchanges and promotions that were seen by computers not humans, which means that advertisers wasted their ad money and publishers missed out on those ad dollars.
This new bot which Adform has dubbed “HyphBot,” is three to four times the size of the Methbot scam discovered by White Ops in December 2016. Methbot is claimed to originate in Russia and used a network of bots to fake views of as many as 300 million video ads per day. Adform further estimates that HyphBot has costed brands between $262,000 and $1.28 million a day, saying that clients using its platform were protected since it costed them less than $1,000 a month.
“Our analysis suggests that infected devices — a network of bots — accessing the internet from more than half a million IP addresses (mostly from the U.S.) are responsible for this wave of non-human traffic,” its report stated.
Online advertising fraud is a global problem and is estimated to have cost companies around the world $16.4 billion this year.
These botnets are used to trick brands into buying ad space on sites that don’t exist or which sellers cannot access. Because of the high speed and massive volume of ads bought online its difficult to confirm that an ad is running where a publishers said it’s supposed to.