Google forced to admit that fake web traffic is costing advertisers real money.

Google forced to admit that fake web traffic is costing advertisers real money. I’ve always thought that the ad revenue generated by Facebook, Google, and most other big Internet companies are mostly fake. Unless they publish the code for how they calculate clicks it’s all just secret sauce.

Google is issuing refunds for ads that ran on websites with fake traffic, people familiar with the situation said, as the web giant develops a tool to give marketers more transparency about the ads they buy through its platform.

In the past few weeks, the Alphabet Inc. unit has informed hundreds of marketers and ad agency partners about the issue with invalid traffic, known in the industry as “ad fraud.” The ads were bought using the company’s DoubleClick Bid Manager over the course of a few months this year, primarily in the second quarter.

Google’s refunds amount to only a fraction of the cost of the ads served to invalid traffic, which has left some advertising executives unsatisfied, the people familiar with the situation said. Google has offered to reimburse its “platform fee,” which ad buyers said typically ranges from about 7% to 10% of their total purchase.

From the Wall Street Journal