This Much I Learned: Bob Hoffman on marketers’ indifference to ad fraud

In the latest episode of Marketing Week’s podcast series, Bob Hoffman, bestselling author and the man behind the Ad Contrarian blog, discusses the consequences and causes of ad fraud and the role marketers have had in facilitating it and need to have to stop its spread.

Bob Hoffman, aka the Ad Contrarian, has called out the industry’s lack of action against ad fraud.

Taking aim at both organisations and individuals, he claims marketers “don’t really care that much” about the impact ad fraud is having, both on people and democratic society in general.

“I think they [marketers] are more interested in what’s convenient for them than what’s good for the world,” he says. “We have acted very irresponsibly – all of us in the advertising world – on this issue. I’m not going to give anyone a free pass on this.”

In his latest book, AdScam: How Online Advertising Gave Birth to One of History’s Greatest Frauds, and Became a Threat to Democracy, he focuses on tracking in particular, likening it to spying.

“My conclusion is that ad tech, and specifically tracking, is a very dangerous thing,” he adds.

“Nobody knows for sure how big ad fraud is, but it’s probably – according to most experts – $60bn or more a year and… it’s probably going to organised crime, it’s probably going to unfriendly governments who can easily steal from the ad tech ecosystem and it’s probably funding some very bad things in our world.”

Listen to the podcast for the full interview, which also covers how to improve the industry and why Hoffman believes it’s his job to be subversive.

From opening up about mental health issues to closing the career confidence gap, you can listen to previous episodes of Marketing Week’s This Much I Learned podcast on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud and Spotify.