Click Fraud Riles Search Advertisers

Article from EWeek reporting on click fraud at the Pay per click search engines.

As search-based advertising grows, so too does the concern over fraudulent clicks running up advertisers’ bills and shifting the rankings of paid search listings.

This is a big concern and the article talks about how Google will sometimes email an advertiser telling them they are getting a refund for suspected click fraud. I have gotten that email before and it does make you think, how does Google figure out what is fraudulent clicks and are they missing any?

While Google and Overture do proactively inform advertisers of the click fraud they detect, the majority of the burden for finding and proving click fraud has fallen to advertisers, panelists said.

"Search engines are profiting and have not published rules that speak to an investigation or give those harmed the information to get to the bottom of problem," said Ben Edelman, an Internet privacy research and Harvard University student.

Advertisers can analyze click patterns, visitor logs and other information, but Edelman said the search engines themselves should be able to access more detailed information that could help advertisers track down click fraud and even prove it in court.

So far, click fraud has yet to be tested in court, but panelists and attendees largely agreed that they expect cases to emerge both against alleged fraudsters and possibly against the search engines.

I have not had a real problem with click fraud at Google or Overture but have detected it at the smaller pay per click engines.   

Its KEY to use your stats analysis programs that track traffic from the pay per clicks and make sure it adds up.  At some of the smaller engines, I just noticed that they were reporting that I got 40 clicks BUT on the stats tracking, it would show maybe 4 visitors, that just didn’t add up and I reported it and got a refund.

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