King Tim the Terrible just shelled out some major cash to give AOL a makeover as a media monster, not your uncle's ancient homepage—but according to a new report by AdWeek, it might have purchased itself some big problems.
Adap.tv, basically a clearinghouse for online video ads, is chock full of scammy, spammy marketing pushed by robots:
Adap.tv has a particular problem with straight-up bogus ad impressions generated by bots for the purpose of taking from advertisers, say multiple sources with first-hand knowledge of the exchange. Some experts pin the amount of suspect inventory in Adap.tv’s exchange at anywhere from 30 to 80 percent.
If Adap.tv's value was based largely on what amounts to fake humans refreshing the same thing over and over, AOL is going to have to clean shop very quickly—and maybe consider why it didn't learn this before it plunked down hundreds of millions of dollars.