Kraft Foods, Greyhound Lines, and Capital One Financial have all been hoodwinked into buying online banner ads that were never seen by consumer eyes, according to The Wall Street Journal.
All three companies, and many more, fell victim to invisible ad units. These units are created with code that appears to show up on legitimate websites, when they are in fact placed on invisible pages.
The Journal points to the now-defunct MyToursInfo.com, where code on the website opened more than 40 web pages whenever a consumer visited the site. Each of those invisible pages often contained three advertisements. The ad networks Burst Media and Tribal Fusion allegedly sold ads on MyToursInfo.com, according to the Journal, but both networks condemned the practice and said they work to detect such scams.
Part of the problem with invisible ads stems from the inability of marketers to audit their banner campaigns, which are often purchased through ad networks on a CPM basis. Domino's Pizza, another advertiser that has fallen prey to the scam, is now avoiding future problems by focusing exclusively on pay-per-click advertising.