Click Fraud: What Is Your Ad Network Doing About It?

Web measurement firm comScore recently reported that U.S. shoppers have already spent $21.95 billion shopping online during the first 40 days of the November/December holiday season.

That figure represents a 12 percent increase from the amount spent during the same time period in 2009.

With increased marketing spend during the holiday season, it's more important than ever that online advertisers pay attention to their traffic and ensure that they are protected from fraudulent clicks.

In the online advertising industry we can't ignore the threat of click fraud.

A recent Click Forensics report showed that fraud for online advertisements rose to 22.3 percent, up from 14.1 percent during the same period last year.

For advertisers who may not be intimately familiar with click fraud, it's defined as, "an illegitimate click on an online advertisement generated by a person, automated script or computer program with no real interest in the ad."

I've been reading some chilling news about click fraud statistics recently. Clearly, click fraud is a real and continuing problem demanding attention. But it isn't time to panic.

Earlier this year, SEW's Melissa Mackey wrote about the increase in click fraud, noting that it is mostly due to fraudulent activity on mobile proxies and video ads. She also offered some helpful advice on what you can do to avoid being a target for click fraud.

When looking into anti-click fraud campaign implementation, be sure that your network is doing its job to protect you.

Ad network traffic is aggregated from hundreds, if not thousands, of different traffic sources.

When it comes to monitoring these sources for quality, third-party monitoring is fine; however, the timeline for analysis, feedback, and implementation of traffic optimizations can take weeks.

Look into what fraud-monitoring technologies the ad network has implemented to identify and remove suspicious PPC traffic.

It's important for these networks to have sufficient understanding and control of their own traffic sources so that they can implement optimizations in a more timely fashion.

Look for internal click fraud protection measures from these networks. Ideally, a network should give advertisers the power to add and remove traffic sources immediately based on campaign performance.

Click fraud is a serious problem. With proper vigilance though, your ad networks should be able to spot it and remove it.

About the author

As founder and CEO of Advertise.com, Daniel Yomtobian is a recognized expert in online marketing, including display advertising and retargeting, Daniel began his career in the mid 1990s as the co-founder of WayInternet and Findology. He later sold his shares to pioneer the largest privately-owned pay-per-click search network, ABCSearch. In 2008, Daniel expanded his search industry expertise with the launch of an innovative social search engine, Scour.com. The site has won two prestigious awards including Mashable's Open Web Award and CNET's Webware 100 Award. Daniel's vision of creating a comprehensive, one-stop solution for Internet advertisers came to fruition in 2009 when he rebranded ABCSearch as Advertise.com while continuing to innovate new products. In 2010, Daniel was named to San Fernando Valley Business Journal's Forty Under 40 list for his exceptional business ethics and acumen, his commitment to the community, as well as his personal initiative and professional innovation.