Several of Newsweek Media Group’s business websites are allegedly buying and manipulating traffic that originates on pirated video streaming sites. The company acknowledges buying traffic, but denies engaging in ad fraud.
The publisher of Newsweek and the International Business Times has been engaging in fraudulent online traffic practices that helped it secure a major ad buy from a US government agency, according to a new report released by independent ad fraud researchers.
IBTimes.com, the publisher’s US business site, last year won a significant portion of a large video and display advertising campaign for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency. Social Puncher, a consulting firm that investigates online ad fraud, alleges in its report that the ads were displayed to an audience on IBTimes.com that includes a significant amount of “cheap junk traffic with a share of bots.”
Specifically, Social Puncher’s report alleges that IBT supplemented a drop in organic search traffic to its website with paid traffic that used redirected traffic from pop-up or pop-under ads from pirate streaming sites. The vast majority of the ads for the CFPB were served this way, making it likely that real people never saw them — or immediately clicked away — while still allowing IBT to meet the buy’s traffic requirements.