Click Fraud Roundup

Time for another clickfraud round-up. What have we got? Here we go, newest to oldest:

BlowSearch Tackles Click Fraud out from Wired today has Adam Penenberg looking at BlowSearch, which is beta testing a new system that it claims will stop click fraud in its tracks. How? BlowSearch says it analyzes 20 different factors that can’t currently be faked, spoofed or otherwise used to generate fraudulant clicks. The story also recaps briefly the various issues about click fraud that most readers of this blog are already familiar with. FYI, if BlowSearch sounds familiar, that may be because you recall its senior VP of marketing Joe Holcomb writing a sort-of expose about click fraud back in April. More here: Search Engine Rep Spills On Click Fraud.

More On ClickFraud from John Battelle out today reacts to the Wired piece above and the estimate of 20 percent of clicks being fraudulent. He hears the same. But the search engines say it’s much, much less. The truth is in the middle, he expect. OK, let’s call it 10 percent! But he raises another key point. Even if it is 20 percent, it’s not crippling search at the moment because ads convert so well. Indeed, at our SES London show, I was talking with one person who dabbles heavily in the dark underbelly of search. He assumes click fraud will bring search to its knees. I expect there will be an accounting for the fraud that’s no doubt happening. But it won’t kill search because despite the fraud, despite the low level “hum” of fraud that someone else I know recently described it, the ads are still cheap and effective. In the end, you’d still want to kill the hum, of course.

Web Startups Vie To Detect ‘Click Fraud’ out last Friday from the Wall Street Journal looks at the number of third-party firms springing up to do click fraud detection and investigation. Like the Wired story above, it says some estimates put click fraud at up to 20 percent of clicks. The story says both Yahoo and Google are open to working with third parties on investigations. It also reiterates the fact sometimes lost that the search engines themselves do have their own fraud detection systems and also do issue refunds without prompting. But those refunds sometimes lead advertisers to wonder if there’s even more owed.

Proposition from an Indian ad-clicker from Tim Yang’s blog in May has his email exchange with someone willing to generate clicks on his Google AdSense ads in exchange for 50 percent of the revenue earned. Don’t worry, Tim’s told — they’ll never be able to detect 1,000 clicks from different PCs. Tim wisely decides defrauding Google is probably not in his best interests.

Simple Way to Notice Click Fraud from Frank Watson in May says look at your referring domains and if something smells fishy, it probably is.

Kanoodle – Computer Generated Clicks out in April (spotted via fantomNews) is from the Hamptons Bride Magazine. Attracted by a lower cost-per-click at Kanoodle versus Google and Yahoo, they jumped in. Traffic was higher than Google and Yahoo, they found. But then they found 100 percent of the traffic stayed for zero seconds on the site. Hmm. “It is our conclusion that Kanoodle is completely computer generated clicks, not human generated,” they wrote. How about a second chance, Kanoodle says. They get it, and Hamptons Bride says, “I am afraid I do not have any good news as we received the exact same results as the first time.”

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