Expert Weigh-In: How to Stay Ahead of Digital Fraudsters

Katie Spurkeland Feb 26, 2021

It’s estimated that nearly $19 billion is lost to worldwide digital fraud each year. In response, ad compliance has become a necessity for marketers that want proper channel attribution and protection against ad spend theft. 

In light of this trend, I recently had the opportunity to connect with Gary Kibel, partner at Davis & Gilbert LLP, specializing in the areas of Digital Media, Technology & Privacy; Intellectual Property and Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Practice Groups. Gary shared his expert opinion on compliance monitoring in digital advertising and served up valuable takeaways for any brand interested in maintaining integrity and eliminating spend theft. Read on for Gary’s expert advice for performance marketers on brand protection. 

Q: Why should brands care about compliance monitoring in their digital advertising? 

Compliance monitoring is an important piece of any marketing plan because of the major risk brands run for damaging their reputation online. If a brands’ ad appears next to offensive material, illegal content or schemes that defraud consumers, the hit can be significant, especially if the brand is viewed as an enabler of such content by providing the advertising dollars.  

Brands spend a tremendous amount of time and effort developing, promoting and protecting their image, even outsourcing the initiative to PR agencies, branding agencies and others that can devote all their time to these efforts for their clients.  

Q: What are the biggest mistakes that brands make when it comes to monitoring and compliance with their digital marketing initiatives? 

The biggest mistake is a failure to have a comprehensive monitoring program in place in advance of campaigns that result in decisive action when problems are uncovered. One can’t wait until there is a problem before developing a plan. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil cannot be a strategy—take early action. 

Q: What has changed over the past 5 years that amplifies the importance of monitoring and compliance in digital advertising? 

Fraudsters are becoming increasingly more creative as the digital industry continues to grow in complexity. For example, fraudulent media purchases or phishing scams which result in funds being wired to fraudulent accounts are unfortunately all too common. Compliance strategies need to adapt to their evolving tactics in order to protect brands’ digital presence. 

Q: Specific to affiliate, what are examples of risk in a pay-for-performance environment? 

There are positives to the pay-for-performance model, in that it is measurable with clear indicators of success. However, this model also incentivizes fraudsters to take advantage of the immediate financial gains. Therefore, while an effective model, it comes with risks that brands should proactively plan for, including publisher violations of search, social, code and domain terms and conditions. 

Q: What quick recommendations do you have for brands to protect their integrity in digital advertising? 

Measures brands can take include: 

  •  Verify service providers and partners to ensure that their capabilities align with your brands’ needs, whether it be tech or service
  •  Monitor all advertising placements to ensure that brand integrity is upheld, and no violations of terms and conditions are active.
  •  Take immediate action once problems are identified to eliminate spending your ad dollars on fraudulent content.
  •  Consider the risks of any campaign before proceeding and enable a turn-key plans for violation scenarios.

Q: What are some of the predictions that you have for the next year in terms of digital marketing tactics that will require brand monitoring? 

New privacy laws will change the online ecosystem over the next few years. With these privacy laws will come more compliance obligations, and the risk of non-compliance will be greater. Brands should stay abreast of these developments since they may require new disclosures and changes to some common practices. 

To learn more about automated detection and streamlined compliance management, reach out to the BrandVerity team for a demo. 

About Gary Kibel

Gary Kibel is a partner with the law firm of Davis & Gilbert LLP, specializing in the areas of Digital Media, Advertising and Privacy law. Gary regularly counsels clients with respect to issues such as interactive advertising, search marketing, affiliate marketing, behavioral advertising, social media, privacy and data security, corporate matters and laws affecting the Internet. Prior to becoming an attorney, Gary was an Information Systems Analyst with Merrill Lynch. He is also the General Counsel of the Performance Marketing Association 

Davis & Gilbert is widely regarded as the premier law firm in the U.S. representing advertising, marketing and promotions agencies, from specialized shops to the largest advertising holding companies in the world, and also represents prominent technology and entertainment companies, marketers, and advertising trade associations. 

You can follow Gary on Twitter @GaryKibel or get in touch at 

*This interview was initially published in April 2019 by Pepperjam. 

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