Austrian tourism office claims historic fraud reduction blockchain platform

The Austrian tourism authority says advertisers will lose $51 million a day to fraud this year. Its new platform will help reduce these losses as well as drastically cut the cost of ads

The Austrian National Tourist Office (ANTO) claims to be “making history” by being among the first in the world to run a blockchain-powered digital ad campaign designed to reduce fraud and costs.

ANTO has partnered with Ethereum-based ad platform Adbank, powered by the ADB token, which helps reduce fraud, a crime that will cost advertisers $51 million ($18.6 billion in 2018) a day this year, the firm says in a press release.

“This level of transparency between advertiser and publisher is unprecedented, especially for an organisation like ANTO,” says Adbank CMO and Co-Founder Angelo Dodaro. “For the first time, advertisers like them can see where their money is going, rather than going into a ‘black box’ that shows data we know for a fact is questionable.”

Dodaro says “it’s exciting to see a country like Austria acknowledging the powerful use case that exists for advertising on the blockchain.”

70% markups

The platform is also designed to reduce fees charged by ad tech intermediaries, who in many cases mark up the cost of ads by up to 70% and sometimes more.

“Markups and ad fraud cost the tourism industry billions per year, and there is little to no accountability with the current advertising ecosystem,” says Kelsy Cole, Adbank CSO and Co-founder. “ANTO will be the first of many travel-focused partners to mark the beginning of an era where the advertiser has the control they deserve using Adbank’s technology.”

The Austrian tourism authority has also partnered with Red Bull Media House, which is providing inventory via its Alpine lifestyle publication Bergwelten. Red Bull agreed to get involved after a visit to Adbank’s headquarters in Salzburg, Austria.

“Studies have shown that programmatic digital ad networks take 48 cents of every dollar on average and that’s before ad fraud comes into the mix,” ANTO says in the press release. “Ad fraud is a particularly insidious issue in the industry with 56% of all website traffic being driven by bots and non-human traffic.”

A global premier destination

Michael Scheuch, head of Brand Management for ANTO, says “we are actively positioning Austria to be one of the premier global destinations to visit all year round. In the pilot with Adbank, one of the more interesting blockchain applications in the advertising sector, we hope to overcome on a global scale various difficulties within classic online advertising.”

Adbank completed their blockchain-based payment protocol in March. It will work in combination with their patent-pending anti-fraud AI (artificial intelligence). “Adbank is one of the few ad tech companies in the world in the race to fix the advertising industry’s problems with the tech that was birthed by Bitcoin: blockchain,” the press release concludes.

In 2016, governments around the world invested nearly $415 billion to promote tourism to their countries, a World Travel and Tourism Council report revealed.

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