The bot operation called "Methbot" watches up to 300 million video-based ads every day automatically. According to researchers at White Ops, "up to $5 million every day is being stolen." The headlines are making a big deal out of the fact that it's a Russian botnet, but check out the discussion on WebmasterWorld for a deeper look at the facts.
Forum member smilie writes that " 'Russian' has nothing to do with a botnet with account from Caymans. Botnets have maybe about 5% of being 'Russian'. In this day, much higher percentage that they are Ukrainian...Roughly 30% Asian. 50% USA...There are thousands of Indian 'botnets' and ad clicking companies."
If the Russian angle isn't the real story, then what is? Simple - who is benefiting from these botnets? It's not about the Russians stealing from you, it's about the fact that Google, YouTube, and everyone else are doing zip-squat-diddly-nothing to stop this from happening. And they're probably just sitting on their hands because they still make boat-loads of money, even from bot traffic! The only one getting screwed over is the advertiser, because the ads don't get them any new business. But the folks running the ads have no reason to care who views them as long as people are paying to place ads on their platform.
Pretty scammy stuff! As smilie writes, "Let's discuss this, as it is clearly part of Internet Bubble 2.0 that's about to blow. You can't possibly expect these unicorns (and small businesses) to pay $1 - $4 - $10 / click for botnet traffic for long."