Unmade: media and marketing analysis
Unmade: media and marketing analysis
Busting the digital audio fraudsters, and how connected TV is the scammers' latest honeypot; Seven's debt milestone

Busting the digital audio fraudsters, and how connected TV is the scammers' latest honeypot; Seven's debt milestone

Welcome to an audio-led edition of Unmade. Today, we talk digital advertising fraud with a man who knows where the bodies are buried. And further down in this post, the Unmade Index wipeout continues with Seven West Media’s growing debt load yesterday overtaking its shrinking market capitalisation.

If you’ve been thinking about upgrading to an Unmade membership, this is the perfect time. Your membership includes:

  • Member-only pricing for our HumAIn and REmade (October 1) conferences;

  • A complimentary invitation to Unmade’s Compass event (November);

  • Member-only content and our paywalled archives;

  • Your own copy of Media Unmade

‘It’s not easy to pick a worse time’: DoubleVerify’s Jack Smith on fraud in the advertising chain

DV’s Smith: ‘As more money flows into digital advertising there’s a bigger opportunity to defraud advertisers

Today’s conversation features the man who’s been labelled the “godfather of digital advertising”, DoubleVerify’s global chief innovation officer Jack Smith.

Before joining brand safety service DoubleVerify four years ago, Smith was global chief product officer for the investment arm of WPP’s GroupM. In 2007, he founded Media Innovation Group - now part of WPP’s Xaxis which can claim to have been the first large scale agency trading desk.

The conversation with Unmade’s Tim Burrowes kicks off focusing on a new scheme - “FM Scam” discovered by the DoubleVerify Fraud Lab, in which scammers were using software to imitate smart speakers, or hijacking those out in the world. As a result, advertisers were being charged for audio ads without human listeners.

As well as outlining the new audio scam, Smith discusses the other places where brands are seeing their budgets targeted by fraudsters.

He points to connected TV as the scammers’ current big target because it attracts high CPMs. “It’s definitely CTV,” he says. “The amount you can charge on connected TV is much higher. Pound-for-pound that’s the place where fraudsters are moving to.”

The wide ranging conversation also covers Made For Advertising sites; the Forbes scandal; principal media - where agencies resell media to their own clients; Smith’s scepticism about whether the finding from the Association of National Advertisers in the US that 64% of ad dollars are leaking out of the chain is as bad as that; and whether advertisers should simply focus their dollars on the walled gardens of social media.

Is it a losing battle to stop digital advertising fraud? “The scale of programatic advertising is so much bigger today. It’s not easy to pick a worse time.”

Further reading:

Leave a comment

Unmade Index fall accelerates as Seven’s debt load outweighs its market capitalisation

The market wipeout of Australia’s ASX-listed media and marketing stocks accelerated on. Wednesday, with the Unmade Index, which was already at a record low, losing another 1.54%.

The Unmade Index landed on 472.2 points, representing a loss of nearly 53% of its value since the index started at 1000 points at the beginning of 2022.

The fall was worse than the wider ASX All Ordinaries which lost 0.5%.

Seven West Media passed the threshold where its net debt - $257m when it last updated the market in February - is now larger than its market capitalisation which dropped by 2.9% to $254m yesterday.

Meanwhile, Southern Cross Austereo stocks (down 0.7%) dropped to a new all-time low as the company’s market capitalisation fell below $170m for the first time.

Ooh Media (down 1.1%) hit its lowest point since November last year. IVE Group (down 1.8%) was its lowest since last October.

Enero (down 2.8%) fell to its lowest point since last June.

Pureprofile, which hit a low point since 2020 on Tuesday, recovered by 11.1% yesterday.

How we covered the wipeout yesterday:

Today’s podcast was edited by the excellent people at Abe’s Audio.

Time to leave you to your Thursday. We’ll be back with more tomorrow.

Have a great day.


Tim Burrowes

Publisher - Unmade


Unmade: media and marketing analysis
Unmade: media and marketing analysis
Media and marketing news with all the in-depth analysis, insight and context you need.
Unmade offers industry news from an Australian perspective, from the founder of Mumbrella and the author of the best-selling book Media Unmade, Tim Burrowes