This week's review of ad fraud and privacy in the digital advertising space.
Fortune 500 companies were still buying ads on the sanctioned Russian bank website
Sberbank is a state-owned Russian banking and financial services company. It is Russia’s largest financial institution, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Pixalate has identified at least six Sberbank websites (download list here). At least one of them — onlaine-sberbank.ru — is using Google Ads for monetization as of March 2, 2022.
"Google, Wells Fargo, Spectrum/Charter Communications, GoDaddy, HBO Max (promoting a Harry Potter offering), Square Online, Hotels.com and AARP with the Ad Council (encouraging retirement savings) are among the companies whose ads were still on a website owned by a U.S.-sanctioned Russian bank, Sberbank, as of March 2, according to Pixalate," reports MediaPost.
Disney+ introducing an ad-supporting subscription
Disney+ will offer subscribers a cheaper option of its services supporting advertising on the platform. "The move reflects the hot streaming ad market, the pressure on Disney to keep its streaming business growing and a broader trend among media companies to try to rebuild the traditional television ecosystem online. But a lower-priced Disney+ carries risks, including potentially speeding the decline of some of Disney’s cable networks," according to The New York Times.
NBCUniversal terminates partnership with Hulu
"NBCUniversal has terminated its partnership with Hulu, an NBCU spokesperson confirmed, with all current in-season programming—including Saturday Night Live, The Voice along with the Chicago and Law & Order franchises—now streaming exclusively to the company’s own streaming service Peacock, starting in September. Currently the shows stream on both Hulu and Peacock the day after they air on NBC," informs AdWeek.
Variety: HBO allegedly shared subscribers' data with Facebook without consent
HBO was hit by a lawsuit accusing the company that it shared subscribers' viewing history with Facebook without consent, which could be a violation of federal privacy law. "The suit alleges that HBO provides Facebook with customer lists, which allows Facebook to match customers’ viewing habits with their Facebook profiles," according to Variety.
Gannett Co. provided inaccurate information for advertisers during 9 months span
USA Today's owner, Gannett Co., "provided inaccurate information to advertisers for nine months, misrepresenting where billions of ads were placed," informs the Wall Street Journal. The error was an example of "domain spoofing" where ad inventory appeared to be on a different site than expected.