It's time to take more steps to not only prevent compliance and fraud issues, but to expose and remove those in the industry who are persistent offenders.
This year has seen numerous legal and enforcement actions against the interactive advertising industry. Actions by authorities range from Jesse Willms being accused by the Federal Trade Commission of defrauding almost a billion dollars, to DigitalPoint.com founder Shawn Hogan being criminally prosecuted for cookie stuffing. On top of that, dozens of other advertisers, networks, and marketers have been linked to fake news sites, acai berry diet scams, credit card fraud, and a general lack of ethics or common sense. It seems that almost every week there is a new scandal facing some company in the industry.
Taking action against unscrupulous members of the industry is generally a step in the right direction. However, it also deeply concerns me what these actions mean to us as an industry and how they will affect us all. Here are some key points that the industry needs to consider and seriously think about:
As an industry, we need to take more steps to not only prevent compliance and fraud issues, but to expose and remove those in the industry who are persistent offenders. If you are a display network, you need to take proactive steps to prevent deceptive or fraudulent advertisers from advertising with you: it's no longer an acceptable excuse to say you aren't responsible for their actions. If you are a technology company, you need to prevent known scammers from using your technology, because you are hurting the rest of your clients' reputations. If you are one of those scammers, the guys who keep on promoting scams, showing up on the radar of enforcement agencies and consumers' complaints, you will eventually get what you deserve: more lawsuits, more enforcement actions, and hopefully, eventually jail time.
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Pace Lattin has been working in interactive advertising since its inception. From being a co-owner of the company that sold advertising in ClickZ before the turn of the century to founding a major interactive advertising publication, he has been involved with all aspects of the interactive advertising industry. He is currently the executive director of the Executive Council of Performance Marketing, an industry organization that represents over 100 C-level executives.
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