Latest News and Viewpoints

Taking on digital ad fraud at the local - and criminal - level


Caption: We call this ad exploit “Speed Racer.” Spoiler: You didn’t really win anything.

Editor & Publisher published one of the most comprehensive looks at digital ad fraud and how local media associations, publishers and tech companies are helping combat the issue. Law enforcement is increasingly stepping in, but the problem remains under the radar for most publishers and consumers.

As Maggie Louie, CEO of Atlanta-based ad-fraud solutions start-up DEVCON, puts it in the article, “People ask me all the time ‘What’s the best way to fight ad fraud?’ which is a bit like asking ‘What’s the best way to stop all crime? The truth is that criminals are exploiting the online ad ecosystem, stealing billions from the pockets of advertisers and publishers in so many diverse ways that it is really impossible to only think of this as ad fraud.”

That’s why is proud to have organized the largest study of ad fraud at the local level with DEVCON, the Local Media Association and OpsCo. By working with DEVCON to offer free ad-fraud detection software to local news publishers - called Freedom for Media - we already have uncovered millions of exploits, trends that point to how criminals use high-traffic days - such as the night of the mid-term elections - to increase the number of exploits and how the real Red Scare may be hidden in the code of a page about high school scores.

AdHack will be sharing results of this study at several upcoming conferences, including the Mega-Conference - a combination of the Local Media Association, the Inland Press Association and the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association February 25-27. We’ll also be center-stage at the Local Online Advertising Conference in New York March 11-12.

Our mission at is simple: Raise awareness of digital ad fraud and seek solutions until there is no reason for AdHack,org to exist. Unfortunately, it’s clear that we’re only getting started.

Rusty Coats