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For years we have been writing about the fraud and double-dealing that have made online advertising a cesspool of corruption.

But marketers, with the encouragement and willful collusion of the online industry's ad agency lapdogs, continue to irresponsibly piss away billions of dollars on worthless online crap.

As I have said countless times:

  • They don't know what they're buying
  • They don't know who they're buying it from
  • They don't know what they're getting
  • They don't know how much they're paying

Last week, two major scandals hit the online advertising business, adding to the litany of unscrupulous practices that are its norm.

First, it was discovered that for two years Facebook has been reporting a grossly inflated measure of the time people spend watching videos on Facebook's site --  inflating their numbers by as much as 80%. (How crooked do you have to be to inflate by 80%? Well, I'm eleven feet tall, so I know!)

Of course, the extent of the fraud had to be dragged out of the odious creeps at Facebook.

At first, without making any kind of serious announcement, they tried to sneak it by us in a post in their "Advertiser Help Center" by saying they had merely "renamed a metric."

By the way, I didn't steal your home. I renamed a title.

Kudos to Publicis for seeing through this horseshit, digging their heels in and insisting that Facebook reveal the true nature of their swindle.

Or at least the visible part of it.

Remember, like Google, Facebook refuses to accept industry standards. They won't  allow impartial third parties to fully audit their numbers. Regardless of their excuses, there is only one logical explanation for these aristocrats not to allow full third party auditing -- because their numbers must be bullshit. Well, now we know they're bullshit, don't we?

The second scandal involves Dentsu, the world's 5th largest agency network.

Dentsu has an astounding stranglehold on every aspect of media and marketing in Japan. According to the Financial Times, Dentsu has an "empire of advertising agencies, brand consultancies and public relations subsidiaries includes ties with TV broadcasters and Japan’s two biggest news agencies — a network of influence that stretches deeply into corporate and public life."

In other words, their power and influence in Japanese media is totally out of control.

In recent years Dentsu has been extending its reach worldwide through the acquisition of Aegis, a global media buyer, and other non-Japanese companies.

After being hounded by one of its biggest clients (Toyota) Dentsu finally admitted last week that for about 5 years they have been guilty of screwing clients out of millions by engaging in online buying trickery.

As the scandal grows, over 600 cases involving over 100 Dentsu clients are being investigated.

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., G.E. , J.P. Morgan Chase, and Nationwide Insurance have launched audits of their agencies. This could turn out to be one of the most fun-packed winters in years. One can only wonder when other U.S. companies will wake up and look into how vigorously they're being penetrated by the con men relentlessly hustling the miracle of online advertising at them.

The ad industry has never seen anything like the crookedness and sleaze of online advertising. And I have never seen anything like the willful ignorance and deplorable gullibility of today's laughable "marketing and advertising professionals."


Insider tip...

If you want to know who the real meatballs are in the Facebook "Inflategate" circus, keep your eyes open this week for the agency honchos who issue statements saying "Oh, it's really no big deal. We got our money's worth." These are the clowns trying to cover their asses and hold onto their jobs after pissing away 80% of their clients' "investment" in Facebook video.

And let's not forget the CMOs who will be tap-dancing their sorry butts off having once again shown themselves to have no idea how they're wasting money, just as long as it sounds hip and sexy.


On A More Pleasant Note...

What a great week I had speaking in Oslo for Discovery Networks, Norway and then traveling to Dublin to speak at IAPI's ADFX awards.

Two wonderful groups and two fantastic cities. I even got to wear a monkey suit.

This week I'll be in NYC reporting and podcasting almost live with the great Sharon Krinsky from the week-long festival of self-promotion called Advertising Week.

Starting Monday, please check out our daily podcasts here.


Your Homework Assignment

To get fuller details on the above-mentioned scandals, be sure to read the excellent reporting in The Wall Street Journal over the past few days by Suzanne Vranica and Mike Shields.




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