In the Internet space there is one guy who has for almost two decades exposed scammers, and stood for ethics in marketing even when faced with enormous pressure from those who would do him harm. We originally discovered Pace Lattin almost a 8 years ago, when he was targeted by blackmailers that insisted on spreading rumors about him, posting false allegations against him unless he paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars. He refused to do so – and in the end one of his blackmailers even killed himself rather than go to jail.
He’s still at it years later, taking down all sorts of scammers and fraudsters, exposing them in his own website at PACEDM.com and other publications.
He had a few minutes out of his busy schedule to sit down with us, and we asked him about what he is doing with himself and the state of the marketing industry:
USAH: First of all, what is the current state of fraud in online marketing?
Pace Lattin: It’s worse than ever. Companies like Facebook and Twitter uses to actually seem to care a bit about scams on their sites when they started and for their first few years. Now they only pretend to actually want to stop the scams – because they know billions and billions of dollars are spent on ads from questionable sources. As long as someone pays their bill, and it doesn’t interfere with their system, they’ve done almost nothing to prevent someone from running scammy ads.
USAH: Do you have any stories about Facebook?
A few years ago I was at a Wynn Nightclub with some major facebook marketers. They were putting down at least $50,000 at the nightclub, were with a bunch of paid girlfriends – and one of the supervisors at Facebook’s ad division. The guy was so high and drunk at the time that he tripped over himself, went sprawling all over the place. He spilled his briefcase, and money spilled out of it, all $100’s. The people there admitted he came to Vegas all the time to take bribes.
USAH: What can marketers do to prevent fraud?
Ask around: If they really care, they can find out who the fraudsters are, and not work with them. It’s probably the first step in working in this industry. It’s not that hard: make a list, ask others, and then take notes about what every company says about potential partners. Additionally, you can always (smile) hire me.
USAH: Are their any companies you recommend for fraud protection?
Not anymore – as they have all been bought out, and worse, paid off. Some of them are nothing more than technology that was good a decade ago, while the fraudsters have become more and more sophisticated. A really easy way to monitor all potential fraud is to look at metrics, and run some back end ROI algorithms. If there is a bunch of clicks, and zero conversions compared to a normal campaign where there would be tons of conversions, it’s likely fraud. Put that in your contract that you expect normal metrics that are found on most legitimate advertising platforms.