According to recent media reports, IBM has gotten together with Salon Media to pilot a new Blockchain product from AdLedger. The new project aims to take advantage of the power and flexibility of Blockchain technology to fight digital advertising fraud. The Campaign Reconciliation Project aims to reduce the number of intermediaries in the online advertising sector. The presence of numerous intermediaries between advertisers, publishers and their end users has been cited as one of the reasons why the online advertising industry has become more vulnerable lately to sophisticated fraud techniques, such as those using automated bots and domain spoofing.
The proof-of-concept project focuses on campaign reconciliation, recording the conditions set out in contracts between advertisers and publishers, the details of how those contractual terms are fulfilled and payments issued to ad publishers.
According to IBM, a peer-to-peer network using the Blockchain can be highly beneficial when it comes to achieving a better level of transparency in digital advertising. The nature of Blockchain technology means that the data recorded cannot be modified or tampered with and can be seen by all parties. If enough players involved in the industry, such as digital advertising networks, ad technology providers, marketing agencies, advertisers and publishers started using Blockchain-based solutions, the project will become a success. Use of the Blockchain makes it easy to audit and reconcile important data, detect fraud, manage the issuance of payments and immediately spot any discrepancies.
While fraud involving digital advertising is as old as the Internet itself, it has become a much bigger concern now that companies are often conducting the majority of their business online. The most recent figures published by Juniper Research show that companies advertising online will lose close to $19 billion combined in 2019. Losses associated with fraudulent activities are expected to keep rising and are estimated to reach $44 billion per year in 2022.