PALM SPRINGS, Calif — It is one of the leading causes of contemporary digital ad fraud. But just how big is domain spoofing, and how damaging is it?

When News UK, News Corp’s UK newspaper publishing arm, conducted a test in December, the results were shocking.

Though it removed the inventory of its The Times and The Sun publications from programmatic sources, for a period of two hours early in the morning of December 4, the company continued to see fake versions of that inventory in exchanges.

Specifically, according to its calculations, 2.9 million bids per hour were made on the fake inventory, meaning ad buyers are being duped in to wasting up to £700,000 ($972,000) per month on misplaced advertising.

It’s called a blackout test and, in this video interview with Beet.TV, News Corp’s SVP and global head of programmatic says the company is going to repeat the test in the US.

“We’re going to be running a couple of tests here in the U.S. around the same theme.

“Potentially, millions and millions of dollars are being sent towards these fraudulent sites from buyers. People want to advertise – sometimes they think they are, but instead, they’re showing up on God-knows-where, and supporting who-knows-what, in terms of where the money’s flowing.”

Back in December, News Corp announced News IQ, a platform uniting first-party data, brand data, media properties and data science tools to help buy ads across News Corp brands, powered by AppNexus.

Guenther says he hopes advertisers use it to work directly with News Corp publishers on a basis of trust, so that “they can come to us and have a shortened supply chain and get access to this audience”.

He says News UK has been talking with the SSPs behind its spoofing problem, though it did not name them.

The IAB’s Ads.txt initiative, allowing publishers to place a text file on their servers which list the buying platforms which are allowed to buy their inventory, is one tilt at a solution to the spoofing problem. Guenther sees it as ” step in the right direction, but not a cure-all”.

Speaking at the IAB’s own Annual Leadership Meeting – where, last year, P&G marketing chief Marc Pritchard gave a rallying speech demanding ad-tech transparency that has been seen as the industry’s most important speech in years – Guenther says not much has changed.

“I think its gotten slightly better,” he says.

This video is part of a series covering the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting. The series is sponsored by AppNexus. Please visit this page for more coverage.

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