March 20, 2017 Last Updated 8:06 am

News Corp chief exec says ‘ad fraud is being perpetrated ad nauseam’ as Havas Media UK pauses ads in Google/YouTube

Vaguely referring to Google and YouTube, Robert Thompson said ‘digital distributors have long been a platform for the fake, the faux and the fallacious’

The issue of ad fraud is beginning to have its day. Havas Media UK has became the first major media agency to decide to temporarily suspend advertising with Google and YouTube due to the issue.

“We have a duty of care to our clients in the UK marketplace to position their brands in the right context where we can be assured that that environment is safe, regulated to the degree necessary and additive to their brands’ objectives,” CEO Paul Frampton said.

Later Frampton tweeted that the agency “is working closely with Google to find a solution before unpausing ad spend.”

Today, News Corp’s chief executive Robert Thomson responded with a statement regarding the issue:


NEW YORK, NY – March 20, 2017 — News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson has responded to news of the Havas Media Group UK withdrawing advertising from Google and YouTube by noting that advertisers “need to go back to basics to protect their brands from serious damage.”

“Ad fraud is being perpetrated ad nauseam. It is rife throughout the digital world, and is facilitated by some ad agencies, which themselves make money from artificial audiences and pretend page views,” said Mr. Thomson. “Advertisers need to go back to basics to protect their brands from serious damage and to protect themselves from being involved in potentially criminal activity, whether it be supporting extremist groups or funding hardcore pornography.”

Mr. Thomson has been a longtime evangelist for the view that large tech platforms are “platforms for piracy” and fail to respect the fact that “there is a hierarchy of journalism.”

Excerpts of past remarks by Mr. Thomson:

Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, March 1, 2017

“Well, provenance is profoundly important and it’s becoming increasingly important to advertisers. Because you’ve seen the articles of late, The Times of London, they did a brilliant series on companies like Land Rover pulling out of digital and social because it is concerned about their ad placement on completely unacceptable sites….”

News Corp Earnings, February 9, 2017

“…We are in an era in which integrity is priceless, yet digital distributors have long been a platform for the fake, the faux and the fallacious, highlighting an issue which we have long stressed – that they have eroded the integrity of content by undermining its provenance. Put simply, content distributors are profiting at the expense of content creators and at the expense of veracity.

….And in the ad market, there has been an awakening, and there will surely be a reckoning.

Advertisers want reassurance that their products are displayed in suitable surroundings – they don’t want muddled metrics and they don’t want digital platforms and ad agencies arbitraging ambiguity.

The dangers of Chief Marketing Officers chasing fashion rather than function was highlighted in The Times of London today – some of the world’s best-known, most prestigious brands are inadvertently funding extremists and hardcore pornographers.

We are confident that our premium platforms and our great journalism will ultimately be beneficiaries of this reckoning.

…We are also testing our own digital ad network, which will provide a measurable, high quality audience for advertisers, who are increasingly wary, and rightly so, about the murky, tenebrous world of digital advertising…”

UBS Global Media & Communications Conference, December 6, 2016

“…ad agencies should also be responsible for the audiences that they’re creating, and then what they’re serving those audiences and how they’re serving those clients, because we’ve sort of gone from the era of Mad Men to mad metrics….

You would like to think now that this debate over fake, over fallacious, over faux, over fraudulent, will lead to advertisers, in particular, ad agencies and others, reassessing the value of different platforms because, I mean, the ad market is dysfunctional at the moment.”

DLD Conference, January 18, 2016

“If we are to be a well-informed society, you have to respect the provenance of intellectual property….There is a hierarchy of journalism….that is not reflected in Google and others that tend to think quantitatively. Are we a quantitative society or are we a qualitative society?….It is a dominant platform. Does it have responsibility as a dominant platform? Yes…”

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