Murky Ad-Tech Tactics: What You Should Know About Dark Pool Sales Houses

Behind the strategy unscrupulous publishers are using to avoid blocklists

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No one said ad tech wasn’t a little murky.

Last August, the industry watchdog Check My Ads and data supply researcher Zach Edwards uncovered evidence that unscrupulous publishers had discovered a way to circumvent blocklists in order to ultimately drive more ad revenue. 

Called “dark pool sales houses,” the strategy involves a ring of publishers acting in concert to take advantage of the lax regulation governing ad exchanges. Since identifying the issue and calling attention to it, Edwards and the Check My Ads team have watched the problem only worsen, rather than improve, as the strategy has grown popular among back-channel actors.

Nandini Jammi and Claire Atkin, the co-founders of Checky My Ads, found that publishers have been siphoning marketing spend from unwitting advertisers by improperly sharing the account IDs used in the transparency framework ads.txt,



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