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  1. #1
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    [EN] Uber sues ad agency over click fraud

    "Fetch was running a wild west of online advertising fraud."

    Becky Peterson
    Sep. 18, 2017

    Uber filed a click-fraud lawsuit Monday that could have big implications for the world of digital advertising.

    The app-based taxi company is suing Fetch Media over allegations that the advertising agency billed Uber for fraudulent ads. Uber is seeking at least $40 million in damages, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the lawsuit.

    Fetch ran Uber ads on websites with which the taxi service didn't want to be associated, Uber said in a statement. And Fetch claimed credit for app downloads even when customers didn't click on an ad first, Uber said.

    "With Fetch, we learned the age-old lesson 'buyer beware' the hard way," Uber said in the statement. "Fetch was running a wild west of online advertising fraud."

    Fetch's primary responsibility was to buy ad placements for Uber and monitor how well the spots did. But in its lawsuit, filed in the US District Court in San Francisco, Uber alleges that Fetch spent tens of millions of dollars on non-viewable and fraudulent advertising, particularly ones targeted at mobile devices. According to the lawsuit, Fetch was supposed to be compensated only when ads led to Uber app downloads.

    Uber discovered the alleged click fraud when it tried to stop having its ads run on the far-right news site Breitbart, said a source at Uber familiar with the allegations. Even though Uber significantly cut back on the ads it was running overall, the number app downloads Fetch reported didn't seem to change, the source said.

    James Connelly, CEO of Fetch, denied the allegations in a statement Tuesday, calling them "unsubstantiated, completely without merit, and purposefully inflammatory so as to draw attention away from Uber’s unprofessional behavior and failure to pay suppliers."

    Connelly claims that Uber stopped paying invoices without warning, and only brought up ad fraud to justify its non-payment.

    Uber was one of the hundreds of companies that blacklisted Breitbart after the 2016 presidential election and tried to prevent their ads from running on the site, which has promoted white nationalist views.

    But this past spring, BMW, Nordstrom and other big advertisers that had blacklisted Breitbart found ads for their brands running alongside the site's incendiary political coverage. That juxtaposition brought negative attention to the companies.

    While large companies like Uber often work with ad agencies to buy media placements, a lot of the work is automated. This means that rather than ad agencies buying specific ad placements at set rates — think $10,000 for a half-page newspaper ad — they buy open ad slots on websites automatically in real-time auctions.

    If Uber succeeds in its lawsuit, other companies, including Nordstrom and BMW, may see an opening to challenge media buyers over ads unwittingly run on Breitbart and may prompt advertisers to look more closely at the data being reported to them by advertising agencies and publishers.

  2. #2
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    Uber Sues Dentsu's Fetch Media for Fraud

    September 19, 2017

    Uber Technologies Inc. is accustomed to getting sued. Now it's doing the suing.

    The global ride-hailing company is taking advertising agency Fetch Media Ltd. to court for click fraud, alleging that the firm improperly billed Uber for "fake" online ads and took credit for app downloads it had nothing to do with. Fetch is owned by the world's fourth-largest advertising company, Japan's Dentsu Inc.

    Uber filed the lawsuit Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The next day, Fetch's founder and CEO, James Connelly, said in an emailed statement that the agency was "shocked by Uber's allegations, which are unsubstantiated, completely without merit, and purposefully inflammatory so as to draw attention away from Uber's unprofessional behaviour and failure to pay suppliers."

    Going on the offensive in court is a rare move for Uber. The company is a plaintiff in only two federal cases, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Meanwhile, it has been a named defendant in about 250 federal cases. The data aren't comprehensive but show Uber is usually on the defensive.

    As part of the lawsuit, Uber plans to seek at least $40 million in damages, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified disclosing legal plans.

    Online advertising fraud has grown more sophisticated in recent years along with the amount spent on such ads. Fetch has acknowledged the challenge publicly and has said it was working with research firm Forensiq to fight against mobile ad fraud.

    The Fetch CEO's statement said the agency "takes ad fraud extremely seriously" and said it was "unfortunate that Uber would misconstrue facts and use an industry-wide issue as a means of avoiding its contractual obligations." He said Fetch ended its agreement with Uber months ago, "after Uber stopped paying invoices for services provided by over fifty small business suppliers, engaged by Fetch to place Uber's mobile advertising."

    Uber said it discovered something was amiss when it canceled a campaign on the conservative website Breitbart, where Fetch was placing Uber ads. The company asked Fetch not to post advertisements on the site, but it saw ads appearing there anyway.

    Fetch pulled ads from all networks that had a relationship with Breitbart, but the move had little effect on the number of people downloading the app, contrary to Fetch's claims, the complaint said. Uber pays Fetch and other ad networks a fee when a potential customer downloads its app after seeing an ad. Uber alleged that after further inspection, Fetch had a widespread practice of over-billing. Uber claims that Fetch had been attempting to claim credit for app downloads it didn't generate.

    "With Fetch, we learned the age-old lesson 'buyer beware' the hard way," the company said in an emailed statement. "Fetch was running a wild west of online advertising fraud."

    From 2015 to early 2017, Uber paid more than $82.5 million for advertisements overseen by Fetch, according to the complaint. Uber has refused to pay more than $7 million that Fetch has said it owes. Fetch's publicly traded parent company Dentsu, which has a $12 billion market capitalization, is not named in the lawsuit.

    --Bloomberg News, with Ad Age staff

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