Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Online advertising model smells like fraud

Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, Apple, Spotify, Amazon, and more shove ads into your content. I always had the opinion that online advertising and the way these companies make money with it smells like bullshit. Online advertising dollars has always been bullshit. Starting all the way back in the early days of the Web and banner advertising. Anyone remember banner ads?

The latest discovery is in Spotify and ads counted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

In my test, it did not appear that The Bill Simmons Podcast had SAI at all. The episode I listened to had host-read ads that were either baked-in or dynamically inserted. So, let’s run through the type of stats that would have produced:

If the content was baked-in, Megaphone—media host for the Bill Simmons Podcast—wouldn’t have any way to know which portion was ad-content or not. So that 1-second play would have resulted in one IAB certified download for the episode. And since there’s absolutely no way to tell where the ads are in the episode for baked-in, that one IAB certified download would have likely been used to show that every single ad in the entire two-hour-long episode should be counted.

If you’re an advertiser paying good money to run ads on the podcast mentioned above you’d be pretty pissed off getting charged for something that never ran.

Big tech makes a huge chunk of their money from ads. Google being the biggest among them. What’s under the hood? It’s so easy for coders to hide mechanisms that over count clicks. Has any of this ever been audited by anyone?