By Joseph Waring

Regulation needed to curb mobile ad fraud

Mobile ad fraud, a global problem which is growing exponentially as smartphone penetration soars, is proving difficult to tackle because it is constantly evolving and self-regulation by the industry hasn’t slowed the development of new fraud technology.

Speaking to Mobile World Daily ahead of his appearance in today’s Operator Summit on Thursday, Kenneth Wong, regional strategy director for APAC at M&C Saatchi Mobile, said: “For the industry, it is important to stay vigilant and all the stakeholders in the adtech ecosystem to take collective responsibility. But more than cooperation, we need regulation. Until now we have been self-regulating, which clearly has not worked.”

Wong noted that due to the lack of regulation there is no accountability on any party when it comes to ad fraud, so there isn’t any “push” to put their best effort into curbing the problem.

The two main challenges are fraudsters are always a few steps ahead of the curve, coming up with innovative ways to defraud the system, and tackling ad fraud is not in the best business interest of a lot of companies in the adtech value chain.

“It’s an extremely high-effort procedure, with very minimal return. Spending an enormous amount of time and resources to develop the latest fraud technology, only to find a new method of app fraud appearing the next day does not justify the business decision made.”

According to the latest data from Kochava, mobile ad fraud is estimated at $1 billion annually. Wong noted the specific number is extremely hard to measure, as not all app fraud is caught due to the complexity of the process and it is continuously evolving.

He said many companies are coming up with fraud detection and prevention technologies, and there is a lot innovation coming around tackling fraud.