Two mobile advertising companies are involved in an argument. Location Sciences claims Blis Global sold compromised data to marketers.
According to Location Sciences, Blis manipulated data transmitted to its verification platform, which was used in advertising campaigns for brands such as supermarket chains Aldi and Unilever, in order to improve its own reputation with advertisers.
Blis denies these allegations and has threatened legal action, citing defamation, after Location Sciences presented his allegations of data manipulation to media outlets such as Mindshare and Universal McCann.
Mark Slade, CEO of Location Sciences, which is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange, said in a letter to shareholders on Monday that it was unacceptable for partners to change any data they transmit through the company’s platform.
“The biggest disappointment to me is that an industry in dire need of transparency, especially given the privacy implications for consumers, is so resilient to scrutiny and transparency,” said Slade.
Data providers like Blis sell geographic data to marketers who then use that information to serve targeted ads based on their location or location.
According to a source close to the company, Blis changed the last two digits of the latitude and longitude data obtained from real-time requests for quotations for bids. Blis claimed to have changed the data to correct for a bug in Location Sciences’ data verification platform called Verify.
Location Sciences presented these results to Mindshare and Universal McCann from GroupM, the agencies involved in the affected test campaigns for Unilever and Aldi, respectively.
GroupM said it did not comment on ongoing legal matters, while Universal McCann refused to comment. Neither Unilever nor Aldi responded to Adweek’s request for comment.
After receiving allegations of data manipulation, Blis threatened legal action against Location Sciences and sent him a defamation letter on November 13th.
The London-based operator alleged that Location Sciences made false statements and claims that “have the potential to cause Blis reputational and financial loss.”
A Blis spokesperson described Location Sciences’ claims as “unfounded, defamatory and untrue”.
“Blis has always been committed to accuracy, transparency and verification. We were the first to support Location Sciences’ entry into the market in 2019 when Verify was a new, untested product. We made them aware of a bug in their system in February 2020, which they acknowledged, but have not yet fixed, ”said the Blis spokesman.
According to Location Sciences, Blis is the only Verify user who is causing suspected defects in the platform.
According to Statista, spending on location-based mobile advertising in the US is around $ 27 billion. However, location data can easily be tampered with or misused, which has led regulators and technical platforms to restrict the practice. Both regulators and Big Tech are currently scrutinizing how location data is being collected and used – another sign of growing pressure on Ad Tech’s data practices.
In July, a group of lawmakers wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission calling for an investigation into “widespread data breaches by advertising technology companies” who sell private information, such as American location data, without their knowledge or consent.
In early December, Apple and Google banned data broker X-Mode from collecting location data from their mobile platforms after Vice reported that X-Mode was collecting data from popular apps and selling it to US defense companies and the US military.