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Click Fraud Increased Slightly in Q4 2008

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Click Forensics has released click fraud data for the fourth quarter of 2008. The click fraud rate grew slightly year-over-year. Here are the primary findings:

  • The overall industry average click fraud rate grew to 17.1 percent for Q4 2008. That’s up from 16.0 percent in Q3 2008 and from the 16.6 percent rate reported for Q4 2007.
  • The average click fraud rate of PPC advertisements appearing on search engine content networks, including Google AdSense and the Yahoo Publisher Network, was 28.2 percent. That’s up from the 27.1 percent rate reported for Q3 2008 and down slightly from the 28.3 percent rate reported for Q4 2007.
  • Traffic from botnets was responsible for 31.4 percent of all click fraud traffic in Q4 2008. That’s up from the 27.6 percent rate reported for Q3 2008 and the 22.0 percent rate reported for Q4 2007.
  • In Q4 2008, the greatest percentage of click fraud originating from countries outside the U.S. came from Canada (7.4 percent), Germany (3.0 percent) and China (2.3 percent).

“Based on the data we tracked in Q4 2008, it seems that the online advertising industry is not immune to the growing tide of cybercrime during this recessionary period,” said Tom Cuthbert, president of Click Forensics. “Both the overall click fraud rate and the rate of click fraud originating from botnets were the highest ever in Q4 2008. In addition, we’ve started to see old schemes like click farms reemerge. Advertisers should pay close attention to these types of threats in their online campaigns throughout the year.”

Related Reading
Click Fraud: What It Is, How to Fight It
Rounding Up the Usual Click Fraud Suspects
Click Fraud Declines Slightly in Q2 2008
Q1 2008 Click Fraud Down from Last Quarter, Up from Last Year
Click Fraud: Somebody Is Cheating You


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