Sahm Adrangi's Presentation on Ad Fraud & Short QuinStreet: Kase Learning Short Selling Conference ~ market folly

Monday, June 4, 2018

Sahm Adrangi's Presentation on Ad Fraud & Short QuinStreet: Kase Learning Short Selling Conference

We're posting up a series of presentations from the recent Kase Learning Short Selling Conference.  Next up is Sahm Adrangi of Kerrisdale Capital who presented about ad fraud and talked about Quinstreet (QNST) which he published a short report on last month.

Sahm Adrangi's Presentation on Ad Fraud & Short QuinStreet (QNST)

- Recently gave a presentation on being short St. Joe (JOE) and short QuinStreet (presentation here), the latter of which plays into the theme of ad fraud

- Ad fraud is basically when online ad impressions or clicks are artificially higher due to bots, not actual users viewing the material.  Pay-per-click ads see 'fake' clicks and then there's sites with tons of fake traffic that are just full of ads to inflate the numbers.  Ad stuffing is when a video has other videos behind the main video someone is watching, giving impressions to something that's not actually being viewed

- Ad fraud is so prevalent and the intermediaries are beneficiaries of it (ad agencies etc), making them slow to adopt preventive measures.  The ultimate loser is the buyer of the ad but it's difficult to detect who is viewing your ad (human vs bot)

-  Technology is rapidly evolving and the bad actors are using more sophisticated measures to generate more fraud

- QuinStreet: if you look at investor presentations or management comments, it's hard to discern where exactly the revenue is coming from (lead generation, or ad-matching placements, etc).   Another report by a separate firm attacked Criteo late last year for suspect traffic as well.

- Walked through examples where some of Quinstreet's sites were receiving traffic from other sites that isn't what it seems: a car insurance site was receiving a lot of traffic, but not from people looking for quotes on car insurance, but rather people earning 'swag bucks' for filling out online surveys and things like that.  Thus car insurers buying ads / paying for leads, weren't really getting what they thought they were (the video below walks through the whole scenario as it's too long to type out)

- Thinks the opacity in the online ad space and lack of disclosures is a good place for short activists to hunt

Embedded below is the video of Sahm Adrangi's presentation:

mbedded below is the slideshow pdf of Sahm Adrangi & Kerrisale Capital's presentation on short QuinStreet (QNST):

Be sure to check out the rest of the presentations from the Kase Learning Short Selling Conference.

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