Uber Suing Dentsu + Future of Fraud

Uber filed suit against its agency Fetch (a division of Dentsu) seeking $40 million in damages for fraudulent ads stewarded by Fetch. Uber spent $82.5 million in online advertising with Fetch over two years.

Marc Pritchard, CMO of P&G gave a tongue-lashing to the online advertising industry indicating 75% of all digital media dollars spent never actually made it to consumers…titling his presentation a wake-up call.

Uber’s lawsuit sends a shock wave across the ad industry.

But legally, they may not have much to stand on. The first ever click fraud trial in the Eastern District Court of New York (USA v. Gasperini, Docket# 1:16-cr-00441) was lost by the Feds.

Great pains were taken in USA v. Gasperini by the Feds to track down the click fraud operator, obtain extradition, capture the fraudster in Europe, and send him back to Brooklyn for what advertisers hoped to be the first of many click fraud convictions.

But Gasperini was acquitted on all felony charges.

This case, however, is a civil case, and Judges/venues play heavily in the courts.

“It’s a seismic shift in online advertising” said C3 Metrics advertising attribution measurement CEO Mark Hughes. “Everyone knows that there’s fraud…40% of mobile display, and video is fraudulent, and 68% of programmatic display is not viewable.”

“But just as global warming is not going to change soon,” continued Hughes “fraud won’t go away anytime soon. But what can change are specialized systems of attribution which automatically remove fraudulent touchpoints, remove non-viewable touchpoints, and measure them against their cost.”

“If this was done this from the beginning,” Hughes elaborated “Uber would have discovered the ROI on those tactics were unprofitable a long time ago, and saved at least 20% of their loss, or $16 million.”

Make no mistake, this is a seismic ground-shift.

Marc Pritchard is no longer the only one saying “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Uber, in an unprecedented move seen in online advertising, is saying that and more.

It’s not a wake-up call…it’s a wake up blast.