Why publishers don’t name and shame vendors over ad fraud

Publishers are getting noisier about the level of domain spoofing occurring against their inventory, with News UK the latest to talk openly about the results of its first programmatic blackout test. But few, if any, feel empowered to publicly name any supply-side platform that lets in large volumes of fraudulent inventory to their platforms — and for good reason.

For starters, lawsuits are messy, expensive and drawn out. Proving foul play when it comes to fraudulent inventory is extremely difficult, and publishers are wary of the legal ramifications.

If publishers don’t have sufficient evidence of an SSP acting badly, they could also be sued for defamation. “It’s unproven whether attempting to buy your own inventory would stand up in court as evidence of fraudulent behavior or malpractice on behalf of the SSP and whether the use of ads.txt and the public naming and shaming would bring a legal response,” said one publishing executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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