I often think back to my bi-annual NYC trips visiting family, where I always looked forward to visiting Battery Park by the Statue of Liberty. There was always a slick New Yorker with a trench coat full of quality merchandise. Where else could a kid afford a Rolex? They were always fakes and fell apart after a few weeks, but they looked real.
Today I receive requests from thousands of websites looking to monetize their traffic. It’s the trench coat all over again. About half of the submissions are blacklisted by just about every ad network and agency out there. Another 20-25% is new sites that you’ve never heard of, but they somehow manage to ramp up to 10 million unique impressions per day.
It’s a vicious cycle perpetrated not only by the publishers but by the media buyers who simply need the volume. There seems to be some hope that companies such as Cloud Flare and Integral ad Science can filter out the bots and click farms of the world. We work closely with these companies at Barons Media, working to integrate these technologies into our proprietary ad server and owned and operated sites. It’s a constant effort to provide a safe network for our advertisers.
I’m always looking into new web and mobile properties to add to our portfolio. Today, bot traffic has surpassed human traffic and this impedes my ability to find quality acquisitions. As we continue to experience massive growth I find us turning to in-house development.
Lately we’ve channeled a lot of our resources into the development of premium sites such as http://www.pasta.com and http://www.hypster.com. We’ve hired writers, web developers, creative directors, and more, and the effort has been well worth it. We’re seeing great organic growth from these sites and in turn the advertising dollars are pouring in.
Mobile has been another area of interest. While still in its infancy, there is plenty of money to be made with mobile inventory. It too, however, has its share of bots and click fraud. Another issue is that a major percentage of clicks on mobile are due to user error. People simply click on the ad accidently because of the screen size. I have seen more demand for mobile app traffic as opposed to mobile optimized web, especially IOS traffic. This is probably due to the cleaner nature of in app traffic. While android has an open platform where bot traffic may be a possibility, it is extremely difficult, (if possible at all), to generate bot traffic on IOS apps. Due to the IOS demand we’ve already begun development on both Pasta.com and Hypster.com IOS apps.
Wasted advertising dollars has become a major issue within the industry. We constantly put preventative measures in place against fraudulent traffic to ensure quality on our network, I hope more companies will follow suit. Let’s clean things up just like they did at Battery Park!