Evidence of a ‘significant’ number of fraudulent impressions from digital video advertisements have been uncovered by digital performance solution company DoubleVerify.

The scheme is said to involve over 500 sites and impact more than 1% of all video ad impressions across the internet. It focuses on attracting revenue where demand is high and rates are ten times the price of a regular online display ad.

Impression laundering works by hiding the actual URL where an ad appears and using what DoubleVerify describes as ‘front sites’ that mimic legitimate publishers. Impressions are then sold that would not normally be purchased by advertisers.

URL masking

In more extreme cases, DoubleVerify’s DV Fraud Lab claims to have found multiple layers of ad-serving URLs that provide an element of camouflage to the actual URL where a video ad is delivered.

These so-called ‘front sites’ are are using sophisticated methods of deception including prominent, above-the-fold video placements and video content that targets high-value verticals such as automotive, travel, health and fashion.

DoubleVerify says it also unearthed publishers that adopted phony banner ads from recognisable brands to give their site a more legitimate feel while discovering examples of low-grade traffic laundered with the help of pirated content, ad injectors and incentivised traffic sites.