DoubleVerify Uncovers Ad Fraud Tied to Copyright Infringement Sites, Costing Online Advertisers $6.8 Million / Month

New York, NY – DoubleVerify, the worldwide leader in online transparency, accountability and performance measurement has uncovered elaborate advertising Fraud activity on over 1,200 suspected websites that together are defrauding online advertisers of an estimated $6.8 million per month. This massive Fraud originates from user traffic on websites classified as copyright infringement.  The ad impressions from this traffic are ‘laundered’ through a complex series of redirects that make the ads appear as though they originated on legitimate sites containing advertiser-friendly content.  Further, the Fraudulent ads use code hiding the ad creative from being displayed in the user’s browser, resulting in advertisers paying for impressions that are never seen.

DoubleVerify’s Fraud Detection Lab has released new technology to uncover and protect against this wave of impression laundering Fraud.  This new technology is now fully deployed into DoubleVerify’s MRC-accredited Fraud identification and blocking platform to give customers the most powerful verification protection available in the market today.

DoubleVerify data scientists analyzed over 1,000 advertiser campaigns delivering more than 10 billion impressions on 3 million plus websites in a recent 30-day period to reveal the following results:

  •          Over 1,200 websites in copyright infringement categories were laundering ad impressions through a set of seemingly legitimate sites with advertiser-friendly content.
  •          3.0% of all Network/RTB-purchased impressions were delivered via sites participating in this Fraudulent activity.
  •          0.1% of Publisher-purchased impressions were delivered via sites participating in this Fraudulent activity.  This likely occurs when publishers purchase third-party inventory for audience extension or other off-site fulfillment programs.

DoubleVerify estimates that impressions on the sites involved in this Fraud cost advertisers and legitimate inventory sellers nearly $6.8 million per month and have the following additional impacts on the industry:

  •          Operational resources are wasted trying to identify Fraud and eliminate its impact on their campaign analysis, media planning and inventory management.
  •          CPMs are depressed due to the artificial increase in supply caused by Fraudulent impressions and the lower ROI observed in segments that pool together Fraudulent and legitimate inventory.
  •          Online advertising media dollars are unwittingly distributed to websites categorized as copyright infringement despite the best efforts of the industry’s good-faith participants.

“Copyright infringement is a significant issue that is siphoning dollars away from the creative community,” said Jon Taplin – Director of Annenberg Innovation Lab who has been working to drive awareness of and bring transparency to advertising on copyright infringement sites. “DoubleVerify’s identification of this impression laundering Fraud is a significant milestone towards cutting off the funds that these sites need to continue their operations. DoubleVerify’s technology and verification solutions are a welcome addition to the tools that advertisers, agencies, networks and exchanges can employ to ensure that advertising dollars are not contributing to the problem of copyright infringement.”

DoubleVerify’s solutions have been updated to systematically protect advertisers from this Fraudulent activity. Brands deploying the DV BrandShield proactive blocking solution will immediately cease serving ads to these sites, offering maximum protection. Those brands using the DV BrandAssure monitoring solution will see these sites flagged on their reports and their dedicated Performance Management team member will actively coordinate removal of these sites from the buy. Inventory sellers using the BrandShield Connect integration platform are further protecting their advertising campaigns with the heightened safety this solution offers on every impression they sell.

Full details of this Fraud analysis and new product enhancements are available in the DV Fraud Lab Report accessible online at or by contacting your account representative.

About DoubleVerify

DoubleVerify ( is the world leader in online media transparency, accountability and effectiveness insights. It is the top choice of brand marketers, agencies, advertising networks, demand side platforms, exchanges and digital publishers looking to ensure quality advertising environments, campaign transparency and performance. DoubleVerify validates over 60 billion advertising impressions per month for hundreds of Fortune 500 brands, advertising networks and media platforms. DoubleVerify was conferred the World Economic Forum 2012 Technology Pioneer Award for being one of the most innovative stakeholders in the technology space. Headquartered in New York City, DoubleVerify’s investors include JMI Equity, Institutional Venture Partners, Blumberg Capital, First Round Capital and Genacast Ventures.

*Fraud Definition and Clarifications

DoubleVerify’s MRC-accredited Verification solutions utilize two content categories to classify sites as Fraud and provide clarity for our customers:

Confirmed Ad Impression Fraud – Sites with significant direct evidence confirming that Ad Impression Fraud is taking place.  Ad Impression Fraud manipulates ad serving, ad display or traffic activity such that ad impression measurements are incremented inappropriately because the ads cannot be seen by a user, are not served within operationally viewable parameters or were displayed as a result of machine-generated traffic.

Suspected Ad Impression Fraud – Sites with significant circumstantial evidence that Ad Impression Fraud is taking place such as site data, traffic patterns, viewability data and relationships to sites with Confirmed Ad Impression Fraud. Ad Impression Fraud manipulates ad serving, ad display or traffic activity such that ad impression measurements are incremented inappropriately because the ads cannot be seen by a user, are not served within operationally viewable parameters or were displayed as a result of machine-generated traffic.

For the purposes of this release, any description of Fraud means Ad Impression Fraud.  Sites described as Fraudulent means those in this study that we have classified into the “Confirmed Ad Impression Fraud” or “Suspected Ad Impression Fraud” contextual categories.  Fraudulent activity or Fraudulent impressions means the advertising impressions on Fraudulent Sites

As used by the IAB Verification Guidelines, DoubleVerify contextual category definitions, this release, and related posts and reports, the use of the words Fraud, Fraud Site, Ad Impression Fraud, Fraud activity, Laundering, Laundering Site and other related terms are not intended to represent Fraud or Laundering as defined in various laws, statutes and ordinances or as conventionally used in U.S. Court or other legal proceedings, but rather a custom definition strictly for advertising measurement purposes.

The statements made in this article regarding Fraud all relate to DoubleVerify’s observations and data collection during April 2013.  These statements shall not be construed to imply information or conclusions regarding activity that took place outside of the studied period.