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Weekly Roundup: Cookieless Future, AdSense Scam, Supply Path Optimization.

Adtech Weekly Roundup
“We hear a lot about the potential for sabotage, it’s extremely rare in practice, and we have built some safeguards in place to prevent sabotage from succeeding."

Google AdSense Extortion Scheme

According to WhiteOps, ad fraudsters siphoned close to $6 billion last year. And, non-human traffic is cited as the worst aspect of programmatic ad transactions. After all, buyers aren’t paying for bot impressions and clicks and with its scale, ad fraud schemes in programmatic can become quite complex. By the time you figure out the problem, hundreds of millions of dollars (if not billion) will be lost. 

Last week, Krebs on Security reported a new e-mail based extortion scheme that targeted ‘AdSense’ publishers. Fraudsters demanded bitcoin in exchange for not directing bot traffic towards the publisher’s sites and ads. 

As you know, publishers will be suspended (and, then banned) from Google AdSense if the system detected unusually high bot clicks. And, that’s exactly what the fraudsters are using to extort bitcoin. 

“Very soon the warning notice from above will appear at the dashboard of your AdSense account undoubtedly! This will happen due to the fact that we’re about to flood your site with huge amount of direct bot generated web traffic with 100% bounce ratio and thousands of IP’s in rotation — a nightmare for every AdSense publisher.”  

– Email from the fraudster.

Google’s response:

Google assured that it has the tools and systems in place to filter invalid traffic from influencing publishers and advertisers. In fact, Google announced an update last year to deal with AdSense fake clicks. 

“We hear a lot about the potential for sabotage, it’s extremely rare in practice, and we have built some safeguards in place to prevent sabotage from succeeding. For example, we have detection mechanisms in place to proactively detect potential sabotage and take it into account in our enforcement systems.”

Google advises publishers to restrain from any sort of engagement and report the issue to Ad Traffic Quality Team. 


The threat isn’t something new and Google has the tools to mitigate the impact. As a publisher, it’s important to track the CTR of your ads regardless and keep Traffic Quality Team informed if there’s a scam. The scheme seems to target websites that use AdSense alone. 

Cookieless Future

As the extinction of the third-party cookie is approaching, we are seeing novel attempts by the industry players to combat the situation. Almost every week we are seeing new thoughts and suggestions coming from the industry veterans. As we said last week, “More and more potential solutions are cropping up as the cookie is fading away from the scene. With the passage of time, it will be easier to comprehend what is right and what is not right”. Here is what happened this week in the direction of a cookieless future. 

Google walks on Facebook’s path

The Wall Street Journal reported that Google is in talks with publishers about paying a licensing fee for content in a news product. It sounds similar to the Facebook News Tab.

So far Google has been aggregating the content from the news publications on Google News. It is a huge source of traffic for many of them. The traffic from Google News helps in increasing the ad revenue on the website, publishers can even run ads in the news app within their content, but licensing fees is something unheard till now. If the publishers start receiving a license fee for their content, then it can become an additional source of revenue.

A possible reason behind this move might be to deal with the European law which says that search engines should pay publishers for using their content snippets in the search results. But since Google has already said that it won’t pay the publishers, we cannot find out the exact purpose behind this development.

Spiegel’s subscription plan

Spiegel, a prominent German publisher,  introduced a subscription plan for the users who do not want to be tracked. The fee of around $5 can be paid and the users won’t see the ads on the platform, neither they will be tracked for advertising purposes. The users who do not want to pay the fee are free to browse the ad-supported website.

This move, however, can have legal complications in the future as privacy laws consider that the users have the right to deny tracking. The requirement to pay for a subscription may be seen as a violation of the rights.


As we said earlier, you will see many ways in which people will try to deal with the lack of a third-party cookie in the future. We will keep informing you whenever something new happens. It will help you to formulate your own strategy for the coming challenge.

Video Monetization and Header Bidding on the Rise

Recently, Pubmatic and Forrester released a report highlighting how video monetization and header bidding are booming together. 622 sales, operations, and IT professionals at the director level were surveyed for the report. It was found out that more and more publishers are embracing header bidding as the trend of programmatic continues to rise.

Different than display ads

There is no doubt that video has a high demand and therefore it provides better yield but at the same time, monetizing videos require different strategies and approaches as compared to display advertising. The gaps in technology and skills can sometimes hinder the implementation.

Benefits of programmatic

63.3% Publishers agree that programmatic increases the ad revenue, 56.8% agree that it improves demand optimization and 55.1% appreciate the granular reporting provided by it.

61.3%  say that header bidding will keep helping them in maximizing ad revenue, 57.7% agree that it increases the ad fill rate and more than half publishers say that it enhances their demand optimization, improves the user experience, and increases bid rates.


The growth of video is no surprise, neither the adoption of header bidding is. What is important for the publisher is to know how to capitalize on the opportunity. Make sure you have the best people for ad operations with all the knowledge related to video ads so that you always have the best possible implementation. You should be able to handle the glitches as and when they arrive. Read how to maximize your programmatic video ad revenue to make sure you are up to date.

Supply-path Optimization

If you are keeping up with our roundups, you know we have discussed supply-path optimization (SPO) here. From agencies directly going to SSPs to DSPs cutting down vendors, SPO can take several forms, to say the least. 

We agree with Max Jaffe from Group M. SPO: 

“SPO is not all about cutting down the vendors from your chain. Its focus is on the redundancy rather than the numbers. If you believe a vendor doesn’t serve a purpose that adds value to you over the long-term, it is wise to leave the setup.” 

Last week Jounce Media, a programmatic consultancy explained how integrating a single partner can create multiple supply paths. In other words, publishers end up authorizing multiple resellers, who in turn, authorize, reselling exchanges.

While it is necessary to authorize resellers if you connect via a partner (for instance, many publishers can’t connect to SSPs/Exchanges directly and so they connect via a partner and so partner becomes the direct seller and the other SSPs/Exchanges become resellers), it is better to ensure only the right resellers are being permitted to sell your impressions. 

Because DSPs can identify duplicate bid requests and find the best path to buy the impressions. As a publisher, you need to constantly audit and remove unnecessary resellers from the ads.txt file. 

Moments that Matter

Gmail’s Message to Newsletter Publishers: Get Rid of Inactive Subscribers – PubExec.

What Are the Prospects of the IAB’s ‘Great Collab’? – AdWeek.

MGID now only bills viewable impressions to advertisers – PPC.LAND.

Automatad Team

At Automatad, we help publishers to monetize better without hampering the user experience. Our products are live across hundreds of publishers, earning them incremental ad revenue with every passing second. You can request a free audit to get an estimated revenue uplift today.

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