News UK discovers high levels of domain spoofing costing marketers hundreds of thousands

News UKNews UK, the publisher behind The Sun, The Times, and The Sunday Times, has discovered that domain spoofing is costing marketers around £700,000 each month on its newspaper brands – just months after the Financial Times (FT) uncovered similar damning findings.

According to a two-hour test conducted by the UK subsidiary of mass media behemoth News Corp, 2.9m bids per hour were made on fake inventory alleging to be coming from The Sun and The Times.

“We wanted to expose where brands are being tricked into thinking they’re buying quality inventory, bidding on what they think is a premium site when it isn’t,” Ben Walmsley, digital commercial director for News UK, told Digiday.

The test, which was carried out between 3am and 5am on 4 December, saw the publisher put a stop to all advertising on its sites – making it impossible to buy any of its programmatic inventory.

Despite this, there was still plenty of activity on what was clearly fraudulent inventory, and the 2.9m impressions were found to be across two of News UK’s unnamed supply side platforms (SSPs). The majority of the fraudulent inventory was found to be display, but there was also video inventory.

Overall, the publisher focused on inventory bought via its six biggest SSP suppliers. Of the two showing fraudulent activity, one had a significantly higher amount of fake inventory. Meanwhile, two SSPs were fond to be totally clean, and the other two are yet to provide News UK with their data logs.