Pay-per-click advertising does exactly what it sounds: advertisers pay for
each click on their ad, usually mixed in among search engine results or
displayed on relevant websites.
"Click fraud" occurs when, for whatever reason, an ad gets clicked by
someone or something (usually an automated "bot" that simulates clicks) with
no intention of ever buying anything from the advertiser.
The sole intention of click fraud is to simply drain an advertiser's
budget and leave them with nothing to show but an empty wallet.
Who commits click fraud?
Usually an unscrupulous competitor who wants to break a rival's bank,
online "vandals" who get their kicks causing other people grief, or search
engine advertising affiliates who want to earn fat commissions by racking up
piles of bogus clicks.
Regardless of who does it or why, click fraud appears to be a growing
problem search engines hope stays under their advertising clients' radar.
This problem isn't exactly news to the search engine giants.
In fact, on page 60 of their 3rd quarter Report for 2004, Google admits
that they have "regularly refunded revenue" to advertisers that was
"attributed to click-through fraud."
Google further states that if they don't find a way to deal with this
problem "these types of fraudulent activities could hurt our brand."
Bottom line for Google and Yahoo! (which owns Overture, the Web's largest
pay-per-click search engine): as word of click fraud spreads across the Web,
they must act quickly to calm the nerves of advertisers who could well
abandon them over doubts about the veracity of their advertising charges.
The search engines all claim to carry measures that identify and detect
click fraud, but details about how they do it and to what extent remain
They claim revealing details about security would compromise their
efforts and give the perpetrators a leg up on circumventing their defenses.
This sounds good, but affords little comfort to advertisers who feel
caught between losing out on their best traffic sources and paying for
advertising that won't result in revenue.
One way to protect your business against click fraud is to closely
monitor your website statistics.
Look for an unusually high number or regular pattern of clicks from the
same IP address.
If you need help, enlist the aid of your hosting provider to aid you in
spotting suspicious trends in your website traffic.
Also, a number of services such as ClickSentinel.com have sprung up
online to help advertisers spot and quickly analyze and compile the data
necessary to effectively dispute fraudulent click charges with the search
About the Author:
Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the co-author of an
amazing new ebook that will teach you how to use fr^e articles to quickly
drive thousands of targeted visitors to your website or affiliate links...