Friday, January 8, 2021

"Uber was swindled out of $100m in ad spend and no one is talking about it"

 From The Hustle, January 7, 2021:

Uber losing $100m on ad spend shines light on the (often ineffective) programmatic ad industry. 

Nandini Jami blew our collective minds when she resurfaced this story over the weekend.

In 2017, her internet watchdog organization Sleeping Giants was nipping at Uber’s heels over ads the rideshare company placed on Breitbart.

Uber responded by cutting ~$15m worth of ads

Surprisingly, the rideshare leader saw no significant drop in user acquisition.

On closer inspection, Uber exec Kevin Frisch found all sorts of problems with their ad partners, like:

  • Impossible numbers: The number of daily ad clicks reported by some networks were higher than their total active users.
  • Slimy practices like spying on users’ mobile app store usage, then claiming credit for organic sign-ups.

In the end, Uber cut ⅔ of their ~$150m ad budget — with no negative effects — and launched the first major ad fraud lawsuit.

Up to 99% of programmatic ad spend is being wasted…

… says digital marketer and independent fraud researcher, Dr. Augustine Fou.:...


We happened to catch the story at the time:
September 2017
Is Anything About Online Advertising Real? Uber Sues Their Ad Agency For Click Fraud

Possibly related:
"Google To Refund "Fake Traffic" Advertising Revenue"
Behavioral Econ.:"Advertising and the Death of Don Draper"
Whoa: "Domain Spoofing Costs Business Insider 10M Fake Impressions -- in 15 Minutes - AdvertisingAge"