Snapchat Faces Brand Safety Issues; Oath's CMO Discusses Verizon's Broader Strategy

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Snap Safety

Snapchat might be shiny, but it isn’t immune to the brand safety landmines plaguing the digital ad ecosystem. GroupM recently sent a memo to clients warning that their ads could be running adjacent to “explicit adult content” on Snapchat Stories. Turns out a porn star was using a branded lens, although not in an explicit manner. The advertiser in question was spooked regardless. On Tuesday, the platform announced partnerships with Moat, Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify to help monitor Snapchat’s brand safety procedures. Rather than actually monitoring the content, Snap’s new partners conducted independent reviews of Snapchat’s brand safety protocol, which is designed to block ads from appearing next to inappropriate or objectionable UGC. Moat, IAS and DV are also founding members of a “Snapchat Brand Safety Coalition” that will meet regularly to discuss best practices and bubble up brand safety recommendations for Snap’s platform. Hopefully the results aren’t ephemeral. Ad Age has more.

Oath’s Promise

Oath CMO Allie Kline talks with The Drum about why Verizon restructured decades-old brands Yahoo and AOL under a new name and how it plans to leverage its stable of media properties (like Tumblr, HuffPost, Yahoo News, TechCrunch and Makers). Kline likens Oath to a P&G-style holding company. “When you go to the grocery store, you don’t look for P&G, you look for Bounty, Head and Shoulders, Dawn,” she said. Oath will harness individual brand strengths without being bogged down by weaknesses. Tumblr was a drag on Yahoo, but within Oath it’s a nice little social engagement factory. Likewise, AOL Mail won’t need to worry about winning over millennials. It can continue to serve older users with whom it has an unbreakable grip. More.

App Fraud

More than 36 million Android phones were infected with click fraud malware found on roughly 50 apps in Google’s Play Store. The malware, dubbed Judy, was able to get around Google’s fraud protection system by injecting the malicious code from a remote server after the user downloaded an app. The infected apps, most from South Korean developer Kiniwini, then went on to click ads without the user’s knowledge. This type of fraud "has become commonplace" in digital advertising, says Andrew Smith, senior lecturer at the UK’s Open University. "There are many tools available, and the advantage is that the malware distributor can change them remotely, which makes it difficult for anti-malware software to keep up.” More at BBC News.

Ad Tech Repurposed

In 2013, a former Admeld sales engineer named Matt Burton and a bunch of other ad tech vets created the fin tech company Orchard Platform to build an exchange for loans. [AdExchanger coverage] It was supposed to resemble the online ad marketplaces that Burton and his team knew so well. But the sailing so far has been anything but smooth, reports The New York Times. Last year, Orchard was on the cusp of excitedly unveiling its flagship product. Since then, however, “Orchard has completed just a scattering of transactions. Over that time, it burned through more than $5 million in legal fees and other expenses.” Read more. Challenges include regulatory issues and an inability to get lending platforms to partner, but the company is raising new funds and charging ahead on Burton’s vision.

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