Click fraud

Interesting article from the NY Times: Web marketers fearful fraud in pay-per-click. Here’s the intro:

Businesses that pay billions to Google and Overture to steer potential customers to their Web sites are increasingly questioning how much fraud lurks in the blossoming pay-per-click model of advertising.

There is evidence that at least some scammers are clicking away at the ads or having programs called hitbots or clickbots do it for them with the knowledge that each click costs an advertiser money. Some of the troublemakers are disgruntled employees; some are companies trying to force competitors’ ad spending up; some are even Web page operators who let search engines deliver ads to their sites and then collect a cut when people click on those ads.

I only dabble in the world of pay-per-click through Google so I don’t have too much at stake personally. But this is a tiresome development and another example of the vulnerablility of a community to a minority of ill-motivated people. I wonder what innovations will emerge in response?

Thanks to danny g at AdPulp for spotting this.

2 thoughts on “Click fraud

  1. bp

    I have done a quite bit more than dabble (managed over $1MM in Google annual for my last company and smaller amount currently).

    This is a concern clearly, but two points that seem to be lost in most posts about this fear:

    1. Google does track clicks and has (at least in my experience) creditted and warned customers about fraud patterns.

    2. If you have a well designed and managed campaign, with apporiated tracking — hitbox plus CRM, for example — then you should be able to better gauge not only your effectiveness but be able to spot these patterns yourself and take apporiate measures.

    I wonder how much this is marketers blaming the tools rather than their poorly designed campaigns, offers, and products. that said, i do not doubt there is a some amount of rigging going on. to be properly effective at rigging you would have to distribute your actions. another use for zombie-infected PCs out there?

  2. Johnnie Moore

    bp: Thanks for commenting, I love it when my blog makes me better informed. I think what this reinforces is the importance of not letting your marketing, in whatever form, just run on autopilot. Get interested in the patterns and see what you can learn. Click fraud is just one of the interesting meanings to be made out of the information we get!


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