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Google refunds clients for ad fraud, discusses plan to tackle issue

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

Google is refunding money to publishers whose ads ran against websites that drive fake traffic, The Wall Street Journal's Lara O'Reilly reports . Google's advertising placement arm, DoubleClick Bid Manager, served ads against fake traffic over the course of a few months this year. Google is refunding publishers between 7-10% of their total ad buys, which is likely less than the amount of fraud their ads are exposed to. (Industry estimates put digital ad fraud at anywhere between 10-20% of all digital ads.)

Google is working on ways to automatically rebate clients when Google and their third-party technology partners serve ads next to invalid traffic, which is often ads that don't load right, or ads served to bots instead of people. Google's Director of Product Management for Advertising Scott Spencer tells WSJ that he thinks the hundreds of technology partners Google works with will be supportive of the effort.

Why it matters: Google has been working to combat ad fraud on its platform and through its advertising distribution arm for years. Spencer told Axios in January that it has a team of over 1,000 people regulating bad ads, in an effort to ensure that their platform is a brand safe and efficient platform for advertisers. Google removed 1.7 billion bad ads from its platform last year, according to its 2016 "Bad Ads" report.

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