Revcontent drives traffic to client Web sites by putting links to relevant articles on other sites. It’s been criticized for driving traffic and revenue to fake news sites. The company has just launched a “Truth in Media Initiative” that lets consumers report articles they believe to be fake. I'm skeptical: the people reading those articles probably think they’re true, while partisans and partisan-bots are likely to attack accurate news as fake.
Fake news may be a tad less harmful if many of the viewers are actually robots, but those fraudulent clicks still boost the publishers’ revenue. In a rare bit of good news, the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) and White Ops reports that revenue lost to ad fraud is down 10% in 2017 from the prior year. The study found that demands for transparency by advertisers can reduce fraud from over 10% to under 2% of spend.
Ad blocking by consumers isn’t a response to fake news, although it does threaten the economics of both legitimate and illegitimate publishers. A study from AdBlock Plus and Global Web Index found that 40% of respondents used an ad blocker in the past month. Ad blocking is likely to increase since it's more common among younger users, just over half the respondents still don't know ad blockers are available, of U.S. and mobile ad blocking happens less often in the U.S. (so far) than in Asia.
The CDP Institute educates marketers about the issues, methods, and technology used to manage customer data, with a special focus on Customer Data Platforms. Join the CDP Institute for free access to valuable information and insights.