High Speed Click Fraud: Over One Third Of All Internet “Traffic” Is Fake

“When you bundle bots, clicks fraud, viewability and the lack of transparency [in automated ad buying], the total digital-media value equation is being questioned and totally challenged,” warns one advertising group executive as the WSJ reports about 36% of all Web traffic is considered fake, the product of computers hijacked by viruses and programmed to visit sites. This means, simply put, that marketers, who are pouring billion of dollars into online advertising, are confronting an uncomfortable reality: rampant fraud… and the fraud is only going to get worse…

 

Via WSJ,

Spending on digital advertising—which includes social media and mobile devices—is expected to rise nearly 17% to $50 billion in the U.S. this year. That would be about 28% of total U.S. ad spending. Just five years ago, digital accounted for 16%.

The big question is whether attitudes will change if signs of fraud increase.

Billions of dollars are flowing into online advertising. But marketers also are confronting an uncomfortable reality: rampant fraud.

 

About 36% of all Web traffic is considered fake, the product of computers hijacked by viruses and programmed to visit sites, according to estimates cited recently by the Interactive Advertising Bureau trade group.

 

So-called bot traffic cheats advertisers because marketers typically pay for ads whenever they are loaded in response to users visiting Web pages—regardless of whether the users are actual people.

The fraudsters erect sites with phony traffic and collect payments from advertisers through the middlemen who aggregate space across many sites and resell the space for most Web publishers. The identities of the fraudsters are murky, and they often operate from far-flung places such as Eastern Europe, security experts say.

Big advertisers are in “crisis”

Chief Executive Vivek Shah, the chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, said at the group’s annual conference last month that Internet advertising was facing a “crisis.”

 

 

“The clients we work with would love to spend more money in digital,” says Quentin George, a co-founder of ad-technology consulting firm Unbound. “But until we give them more control and transparency on how the money is being spent, they will continue to have questions and hold money back.”

 

 

“We’re aware of the concerns within the industry about ad fraud and are working to address those concerns as they pertain to our business,” a GM spokeswoman says.

One wonders just how “valuable” all those social media companies really are if the bots and fraud was removed? This isn’t the first time we have discussed this, but it seems even the advertisers are now doubting the new word order of “social” and “mobile” as the panacea for ad spend.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1jnhB1i Tyler Durden

Carl Icahn’s Next No-Brainer? “A Major Sell-Down Of Artificial Market Is Coming”

Sprinkled in between Herbalife promotion and eBay board decimation, CNBC’s favorite crowd-pleaser Carl Icahn offered a few pearls of wisdom that the TV anchors were un-prepared for:

  • *ICAHN SEES MAJOR SELL DOWN OF MARKET COMING
  • *ICAHN CALLS MARKET ARTIFICIAL BECAUSE OF FED POLICY

Of course, Icahn did not specify the timing which provided just enough cover for the talking heads to confirm their “but stocks are a buy” perspective. We wonder whether the “sell-down” is as big a “no-brainer” as many of Carl’s other ideas.

Icahn had plenty to say:

Herbalife…

  • *ICAHN SAYS SEN MARKEY REQUEST REASON FOR HERBALIFE PROBE BY FTC
  • *ICAHN TELLS CNBC HERBALIFE IS NOT A PONZI SCHEME
  • *ICAHN SAYS ACKMAN DIDN’T SCORE BIG VICTORY WITH FTC PROBE
  • *ICAHN SAYS HE HAS NO PERSONAL ANIMOSITY WITH ACKMAN

Ebay…

  • *ICAHN SAYS EBAY’S DONOHOE HAS NOT DONE A GOOD JOB
  • *ICAHN SAYS DONOHOE HAS DONE LESS THAN MEDIOCRE JOB: CNBC
  • *ICAHN:DOJ SHOULD STEP IN ON EBAY DIRECTOR SCOTT COOK OF INTUIT
  • *ICAHN SAYS GOOD CORPORATE GOVERNANCE NEEDED: CNBC

Netflix:

  • *ICAHN SAYS HE SOLD OFF FAIR PERCENTAGE OF HIS NETFLIX HOLDING
  • *ICAHN SAYS THINKS HE SOLD HALF OR MORE OF HIS NETFLIX HOLDING
  • *ICAHN SAYS NETFLIX IS A GOOD COMPANY WITH GOOD CEO

The Market…

  • *ICAHN SEES MAJOR SELL DOWN OF MARKET COMING
  • *ICAHN DOESN’T SPECIFY TIME FRAME FOR MARKET SELL DOWN
  • *ICAHN CALLS MARKET ARTIFICIAL BECAUSE OF FED POLICY

 

As an aside, isn’t it stunning that the business media hang on every word out of the billionaire investor’s mouth (and twitter feed) when it is related to a “buy” or an upward move in stocks… but, once it is in the ball-park of something less than a strong buy to the moon, the comments are briskly dismissed as if he were the next Harry Dent…


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1hgsevS Tyler Durden

The Turkish Government Is About To Find Out Why Bitcoin Is Not A Bubble!!!

The Turkish government has exercised its censorship chops in banning Twitter in an attempt to quell distribution of anti-government recordings, and in the process has materially popularized the service, to wit: Forbes – Streisand Effect Takes Hold As Turkey Bans Twitter

In an attempt to halt widespread allegations of corruption, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shuttered Twitter – but so ineffectively that the number of tweets sent in the country has remained unaffected.

Last night, Erdogan announced that, following a court order, Twitter was now disabled in the country. “We’ll eradicate Twitter,” he said. “I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic.”

The Washington Post reports,Turkey bans Twitter — and Twitter explodes.
Of course, the Islamic leaning Aljazeera.com‎ says “Twitter users ridicule Turkey ban“.

Leaked recordings shared on Twitter include one in which Erdogan allegedly instructs his son to dispose of cash [AP]

Turkish and global social media users have mocked moves by Turkey’s government to restrict access to Twitter.

The hashtags #TwitterisblockedinTurkey and #Turkey blockedTwitter became the top trending topics globally on Friday, just hours after the Turkish government imposed the ban.

The number of tweets from Turkey reportedly rose by 138 percent as savvy Internet users, including the country’s president Abdullah Gul, found it easy to circumvent the shutdown.

“The whole world is laughing at you #ErdoganBlockedTwitter,” users tweeted, as dozens of images mocking the ban – including one showing Twitter birds covering Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s head in droppings – were shared on the platform.

Another popular tweet shared a poster of the prime minister on a Barack Obama campaign poster with the message, “Yes, we ban”.

Erdogan on Thursday night promised to “root out” and wipe out” the social media platform after users published claims of corruption against him.

Leaked recordings shared and linked on Twitter include one in which Erdogan allegedly instructs his son to dispose of large amounts of cash from a residence amid a police corruption probe.

One method of ridicule was to go around the the blocking if the Twitter domain name by using Google’s DNS (Domain Name Server) services which allowed anxious and potential Twitter users to find the Twitter website through Google’s machinations. So, what does the Turkish government do? They blocked Twitter at the IP level and then went so far as to bank Google’s DNS. This means that Turkey is attempting to block out a portion of the Internet, to wit: Turkey Blocks Google DNS as Erdogan Defends Twitter Action 
 
Now here comes a quick education for the old fogey-type folk that declare Bitcoin is a bubble, ponzi scheme currency with no intrinsic value. If you recall my many videos that declare the value of Bitcoin is in the protocol, and not the unit of account that everyone is calling a currency, then you may realize that the Bitcoin technology can literally take the Turkish government down. 
(go to time market 1:10 in the video for the explanation)
Those that know the Bitcoin protocol well know that it is an ideal method of overcoming centralized control in regards to value transfer. Well, it’s easily assumable that website data access is value transfer as well. If anybody in Turkey is reading this, then email me and I’ll show you how to step around even Erdogan’s Google DNS ban using the Bitcoin derivative known as Namecoin – A peer-to-peer, censorship resistant, alternative DNS root and data storage technology. Using that “tulip” technology with “no intrinsic value”, Namecoin facilitates cryptographically secure decentralized name and data storage.
 
According toWikipediaNamecoin (sign?; code: NMC) is a cryptocurrency which also acts as an alternative, decentralizedDNS, which would avoid domain namecensorship by making a new top level domain outside of ICANN control, and in turn, make internet censorship much more difficult, as well as reduce outages.[3][4][1][2][5][6][7][8]
Now, we all know that Krugman and Roubini and all of the not so technologically inclined macro economists may not believe that Bitcoin, et. al. has any intrinsic value, but if somebody like me led a “Coin” revolt in Turkey, do you think Erdogan would believe the economists or me in regards to the intrinsic value of this technology.
If you think Namecoin can be disruptive to the status quo, you aint’t seen nothin’ yet. Wait until the launch of UltraCoin, when those little Haitain kids in shacks out trade the Goldman prop desk on that BTC/AU pair trade.
That’s right, I’m teaching 3rd world children how to trade using cryptocurrency derivatives and plain old fashioned derivatives. I’m comfortable pitting them against the names that the developed world worships, as long as its using this new tech. Let’s see how they fair…
I just love the smell of creative disruption in the air. These pics were taken after some training sessions in Port au Prince, Haiti this weekend.
20140322 124403
DSC08625DSC08627


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1iURlsj Reggie Middleton

Russian Politician Suggests Dividing Ukraine Along Lines Of Nazi-Soviet Pact, Proposes West Ukraine Referendum

It has been a while since well-known Russian nationalist and spotlight-grabbing politician, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, made headlines. The recent flame up of Cold War 2.0 is precisely the cover the flamboyant individual needed to reemerge once more, scandalous as ever. Because while the west scrambles to find a way to punish Russia for openly flaunting its relentless hollow threats by annexing Crimea, Zhirinovsky is back and has a “modest proposal” for Ukraine, and the countries neighboring the troubled former USSR territory: namely dividing the country along the lines of an infamous Nazi-Soviet pact, suggesting that regions in Western Ukraine hold referendums on breaking away from Kiev. In a letter sent to the governments of Poland, Romania and Hungary, Vladimir Zhirinovsky also suggested those countries hold referendums on incorporating the regions into their territory. The question is whether Zhirinovsky, who traditionally has been just a bit of a loose cannon yet whose nationalist Liberal Democratic party largely backs President Vladimir Putin in the Russian parliament,speaks only for himself, or whether Putin is using him the way the Fed uses Hilsenrath.

Before readers dismiss his ramblings as those of a deranged lunatic, it is worth reminding that he is deputy speaker at the Duma and his ideas and language resonate with a large part of the Russian population and the Kremlin’s increasingly pro-nationalist rhetoric.

Reuters has more details on his proposal:

His letter, seen by Reuters, suggested Poland, Hungary and Romania, who are now in the European Union, might wish to take back regions which he said were in the past their territories.

 

The regions were incorporated into Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union at the end of World War Two and featured in a secret annex of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact under which the Soviet and Nazi German foreign ministers carved up the area.

 

It’s never too late to correct historical errors,” Zhirinovsky wrote. It was not clear whether the letter was serious or a publicity stunt. But it follows a crisis in relations between Moscow and Kiev since the Moscow-backed Viktor Yanukovich was ousted as Ukraine’s president last month.

 

Zhirinovsky proposed Ukraine’s Chernivtsi, Zakarpattia, Volyn, Lviv, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk and Rovensky regions, together with Poland, Romania and Hungary hold referendums on whether the regions should break away from Ukraine.

 

Romania might wish to have Chernivtsi, Hungary the Zakarpattia region, and Poland the rest, he said. 

 

The proposal would allow central Ukraine to be free of “unnecessary tensions” and the referendums would “bring prosperity and tranquillity to the Ukrainian native land,” the letter said.

We never said he didn’t have a sense of humor. One nation, however, was not amused: Poland…

Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski dismissed the letter as a “complete oddity” and regretted some Russians “still think in terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.”

… And of course Ukraine.

Ukraine’s government spokeswoman declined to comment. Sergei Sobolev, head of Ukraine’s largest parliamentary faction, the Fatherland party, called Zhirinovsky a “provocateur”.

 

“But Zhirinovsky often is the voice of Putin,” he added.

 

Alexandr Efremov, head of the parliamentary faction Party of Regions, Ukraine’s former ruling party, said he did not support Zhirinovsky’s proposal.

 

“Just as we have some intemperate people, Russia has some of them as well,” Efremov said at a briefing. “I do not support this (Zhirinovsky’s) approach.”

Perhaps the most important message here is that with the Russian nationalism wave increasingly a dominant talking point and motivation in voting for any one political party, hopes that the Ukraine “precedent” will promptly be buried under the rug can be soundly eliminated for good.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1iURkEK Tyler Durden

Obama Demands Russia Leave G-8; June Summit Cancelled While Ukraine Deploys Army Along Borders

UK Prime Minister David Cameron stated that it is “absolutely clear” that the G-8 Summit scheduled for June in Sochi, Russia will not go ahead. But it is President Obama that appears to be pressing the hardest for major changes:

  • OBAMA SAID TO PRESS ALLIES TO SUSPEND RUSSIA FROM G8: WSJ

This comes at a time when Ukraine forces are being withdrawn from Crimea and deployed to North, South, and East borders of the region.  Meanwhile, Ukraine is taking its soldiers pulled from Crimea and deploying them along all other borders.

  • UKRAINE’S PARUBIY: PRIORITY IS TO PROTECT BORDERS, LEAVE CRIMEA
  • UKRAINE DEPLOYS ARMY TO NORTH, SOUTH, EAST BORDERS: PARUBIY
  • UKRAINE HAS MOBILIZED MORE THAN 10,000 PEOPLE, PARUBIY SAYS

David Cameron says G-8 Summit Scrapped…

There will be no G8 summit in Russia this year, David Cameron said in a further ign of efforts to isolate Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

 

The Prime Minister said it was “absolutely clear” the meeting could not go ahead.

 

Speaking in The Hague ahead of a meeting of G7 leaders, he said: “We should be clear there’s not going to be a G8  summit this year in Russia. That’s absolutely clear.”

 

Preparations for the planned June summit in Sochi had already been suspended as a result of Russia’s actions in neighbouring Ukraine.

And Obama is calling for Russia to be kicked out of the G-8.

  • OBAMA SAID TO PRESS ALLIES TO SUSPEND RUSSIA FROM G8: WSJ


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/OO49G6 Tyler Durden

Russia Retaliates; Sanctions 13 Canadian Officials

With the list of high-ranking US officials running dry, it appears Russia has turned its attention, in the tit-for-tat sanction battle, to Canada. Following Canada’s sanctions against 10 top Russian an Ukrainian officials last week, Russia has placed travel bans on 13 Canadian lawmakers and officials.

  • *RUSSIA SETS SANCTIONS AGAINST 13 CANADIANS IN RETALIATORY STEP

The list includes aides to PM Harper and the head of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, and is, according to Russia’s foreign minister, a response to the “unacceptable action by the Canadian side that has inflicted serious damage to bilateral relations.”

 

Russia announced on Monday that it was barring 13 Canadian officials, lawmakers and public figures from the country in retaliation for sanctions imposed by Canada over Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Full list of persons sanctioned indicated on the Foreign Ministry’s website :

1. Christine Hogan –  ‎Foreign & Defence Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister at Privy Council Office

2. Wayne G.Wouters – public servant and Clerk of the Cabinet. Canada’s most senior civil servant.

3. Jean-Francois Tremblay – Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Operations), Privy Council Office

4. Andrew Sheer – Canadian Member of Parliament and the Speaker of the House of Commons. At age 32, he became the youngest person to serve in this capacity in Canadian parliamentary history

5. Peter Van Loan – Canadian politician who is the Member of Parliament for the electoral district of York—Simcoe. He has been the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons since May 18, 2011

6. Raynell Andreychuk – Canadian Senator, lawyer, and former judge and diplomat

7. Dean Allison – Canadian politician. He was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 2004 federal election for the new riding of Niagara West—Glanbrook

8. Paul Dewar – Canadian educator and politician from Ottawa, Ontario. He is the New Democratic Party Member of Parliament for the riding of Ottawa Centre

9. Irwin Cotler – Member of Parliament for Mount Royal. He served as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada from 2003 until the Liberal government of Paul Martin lost power following the 2006 federal election.

10. Ted Opitz – Canadian politician and a retired Canadian Forces Lieutenant-Colonel who was elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 2011 election.

11. Christia Freeland – Canadian writer, journalist and politician. Freeland has served in various editorial positions with the Financial Times, The Globe and Mail and Thomson Reuters, where she was the managing director and editor for consumer news before she announced her resignation to run for the Liberal Party nomination in the by-election to replace Bob Rae as the Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre.

12. James Bezan – Canadian politician. In 2004, he was elected to the Canadian House of Commons as a Conservative.

13. Paul Grod – President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress

 

Intriguingly, they sanctioned 13 Canadians and only 9 Americans…?!


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1oUD7JQ Tyler Durden

Cocaine-Filled Condoms Intercepted On Way To Vatican

Despite Pope Francis’ recent attempts – mostly for media and public consumption, if not so much in actuality – to clear out decades of corruption at the Vatican including shady financial backroom dealings, involving countless global banks, some very odd things continue floating up to the surface. Like condoms filled with cocaine.

From AP:

German customs officials intercepted a shipment of cocaine destined for the Vatican in January, weekly Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday.

 

Officers at Leipzig airport found 340 grams (12 ounces) of the drug packed into 14 condoms inside a shipment of cushions coming from South America, the paper, reported citing a German customs report. It said the package was simply addressed to the Vatican postal office, meaning any of the Catholic mini-state’s 800 residents could have picked it up.

Not surprisingly, nobody at the Vatican stepped up to laim the 14 condoms. Especially since they appear to have been tipped off.

The paper reported that a subsequent sting operation arranged with Vatican police failed to nab the intended recipient. No one claimed the package, indicating that he or she was tipped off about the plan. The drugs would have a street value of several tens of thousands of euros.

 

A spokesman for the German Finance Ministry, which oversees the customs office, confirmed the report. Prosecutors in Leipzig planned to issue a statement Monday providing further details, Martin Chaudhuri told The Associated Press.

 

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi confirmed that the Vatican police had cooperated with German police in an attempt to identify the traffickers. He said the investigation remained open.

The open question: was the cocaine sent for cardinal consumption, or even worse, for reselling purposes. Sure, the Vatican’s finances are hardly as strong as they were when the Vatican Bank was humming along but who knew things were so bad to essentially make the Vatican a Breaking Bad spin off?


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1jw4zu9 Tyler Durden

Guess Which Precious Metal Is Controlled By The Russians

Submitted by Tim Staermose of Sovereign Man blog,

Palladium is like the Rodney Dangerfield of precious metals. It never gets any respect.

If you ask someone about precious metals, in fact, just about everyone has heard of gold and silver. And occasionally platinum.

But palladium is one of those obscure precious metals that few people think about, or even know about.

Aside from actually having its own currency code (XPD), palladium is widely used in a variety of industrial applications, from spark plugs to catalytic converters to hydrocarbon ‘cracking’ to electronic components.

And here’s something most people don’t know: most of the world’s palladium is mined in Russia.

Since October 2013, Palladium prices have had a moderate boost—about a 5.3% increase in five months.

But given what’s happening in Russia, prices could soar. In fact, with trade sanctions looming, palladium could be taken off the world market indefinitely.

As the following chart shows, palladium has just broken out to a new 52-week high and is showing strong upward momentum.

1 year palladium Guess which precious metal is controlled by the Russians...

Moreover, if you look at the 5-year chart, it could be about to break out to even longer-term highs.

5 year palladium Guess which precious metal is controlled by the Russians...

I would consider buying palladium today, with a stop-loss order to protect your capital, at $759. That means if the market should prove this thesis wrong, the loss would be limited to just 4%.

I think the near-term upside target is the 5-year high of $855. That’s about an 8% gain from where we are today.

An upside of 8% versus a downside of 4% makes palladium a good risk/reward trade, given that the odds of the higher-price outcome are much better than the odds of the lower-price outcome.

But if tensions between the West and Russia escalate and trade sanctions stay in place for a prolonged period, $855 could be a very conservative upside target for palladium.

The last time Russia withheld palladium supplies from world markets back in 2000, the price rose 151% from a low of $433 in January 2000 to over $1,090 an ounce by January 2001.

In a scenario like that, palladium would be an incredibly profitable trade.

One easy way to take a position in palladium is via the ETFS Physical Palladium Shares (PALL on the New York Stock Exchange).

A new physical palladium ETF sponsored by Standard Bank has also just launched in South Africa.

And Absa Bank, which already sponsors the world’s largest platinum-backed ETF, has also announced it will launch a palladium ETF called NewPalladium. It will list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on March 27th.

These new palladium ETF launches, coming at a time of tightening supply due to Russian sanctions, could easily add more upward momentum to palladium prices, as they will withdraw supply from the market to physically back their shares.

However, if you want to avoid the possibility of any counterparty risk, there’s no substitute for owning the physical metal yourself.

The Royal Canadian Mint has in the past minted palladium versions of its very popular and instantly recognizable Maple Leaf bullion coins.

You can also buy 1 troy ounce palladium bars from most major dealers.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1eFeLAH Tyler Durden

Biotechs Battered And MoMos Muppet’d – Carry Unwinds Sparks Stock Dump

Despite the ubiquitous pre-open ramp by USDJPY, equity markets resumed Friday's weakness out of the gate led by the best of the worst. Biotechs are being battered (-13% from highs) and momentum-high-flyers are being monkey-hammered (led by NFLX and TSLA). This is weighing most heavily on Nasdaq for now but the dive in JPY crosses is dragging all stocks lower. Treasuries are rallying and the USD is rising modestly.

 

Biotechs are back at 7 week lows…

 

USDJPY in charge…

 

And since the FOMC, things have been ugly for the MoMos…

 

as all the major indices are now red post Yellen…


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/ORA6Nv Tyler Durden