Google, Yahoo Respond to Click Quality Council Guidelines

Last week, the Click Quality Council issued a list of 8 Principles of Click Quality that its members feel are necessary to deliver adequate quality in pay-per-click advertising campaigns.

I spoke to Tom Cuthbert, CEO of Click Forensics, the anti-click-fraud firm that created the CQC, who said the list was less a list of the search engines' deficiencies, but rather was intended as a starting point that could be easily agreed upon. According to Cuthbert, many of the items on the list are either already being addressed by search engines, or are expected to be addressed by them soon.

The list was compiled by members of the CQC, which includes advertisers, SEM agencies, and tools providers, he said. The group came up with about 15 principles originally, but pared the list down to those things that could be immediately agreed upon, he said.

"We wanted to make it a reasonable list that we could all agree on," he said. "Some of the items were just not things that could be committed to today."

Google's Shuman Ghosemajumder, business product manager for trust and safety, said he agrees in theory on all of the issues, but has concerns with the possible definitions the CQC is using.

"Overall, depending on how they would define some of these items, it looks like we're already doing most of them. Although some of these requests are not defined in specific terms, we agree with their general spirit, and are always interested in hearing from advertisers. We will continue to work hard to listen and make sure that we're providing great service."

Ghosemajumder published his individual responses to each of the eight principles on his blog, in a post called Advertiser Requests on Invalid Clicks.

Yahoo's Reggie Davis, VP of marketplace quality, also said the principles seem reasonable: "We believe it's essential to listen to input from advertisers, and we think the principles outlined by the Click Quality Council today are an important step in furthering industry dialogue about traffic quality. Yahoo will consider these principles carefully as we develop new features and provide additional transparency to help advertisers better understand the value of their search marketing campaigns."