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Unaware of the complexities in tech, users end up interfacing with machines.

Ad fraud is seen from a very myopic and transactional view by the entire ecosystem. Due to this insensitive nature of advertisers and publishers, an ordinary user of the service or application suffers.

As per media reports, the latest buzz of the app world is Gleeden, a French dating and social networking service primarily marketed to women. Its success in India is also skyrocketing. With over 8 Lakh users in India, the app witnessed over 300% increase in subscriptions compared to the previous couple of weeks. That’s a joy ride for the app!

BOT-driven users and traffic have been degrading the quality and genuineness of engagement driven by various platforms offering e-commerce, financial services, healthcare, travel, social networking, dating, and whatnot. This is literally ‘burning’ money of the entire digital value chain, including the investors who put money in growing ventures to help them scale up.

But what is more damaging and consequently far-reaching is the overall experience of any user who is seriously looking at the service or value offered by the app or service. Imagine apps and use cases like dating, etc., where users come up with more of an emotional reason and look for satiating very intangible feelings.

If the users on these platforms are either BOTs or the profiles are not validated, which aren’t, the whole reason for being on the platform is jeopardized. Some people also get extremely serious about these services, and the engagement could be beyond a superficial connection. In that case, a person is emotionally drained and heart-wrenched upon learning that the engagement has either been with a BOT or an imposter.

This is a considerable brand safety issue where the credibility and reputation of the service go for a toss. Retail or financial services need to be careful about ad fraud and brand safety. Still, it is also equally important for platforms like dating and social networking apps to have a clean and trusted user base leading to genuine engagement.

Digital platforms cannot do without inorganic growth. They will have to continue spending on Performance campaigns to get the platform discovered and potentially acquire users. However, it needs to be done with precaution to ensure that we are not paying for something that is fake and can rip apart the platform’s reputation at any stage – from acquisition to re-engagement.

There is an old saying, “Precaution is better than cure,” A cure is always expensive and unsuccessful in reversing the damage. Ad fraud is one such classic example where even increasing budgets on damage control will not yield the desired results because one single bad experience makes its eternal mark in the minds of a prospect or a user. That’s the extent of damage ad fraud can cause to the safety of a brand.

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