Tracking Click Fraud

This week the media seems to have been alive with articles and posts about click fraud. I can’t recall when the topic was so much “in the news”.

Perhaps the high point of the week was when tempers flared and voices were raised at a session of the Search Engine Strategies Conference, held this week in New York.

Doubtless this was because it is rare that marketers have the opportunity to confront representatives from Google and Yahoo! face to face.

The event and the arguments over whether PPC providers are doing enough to protect advertisers against fraudulent clicks were well covered in this article by Advertising Age. One interesting figure they quote is an estimate of how much click fraud costs marketers each year…$1 billion.

A few months ago we published our own research brief on the topic of click fraud and found that as much as 30% of clicks might be fraudulent. You can find our click fraud brief here.

In recognition of the importance of this topic we are now working on another research brief on this topic and will let you know when it is completed.

An additional point of contention at the conference was the topic of what attendees referred to as “crap” sites. This is the same topic we discussed in this blog a little while, under the heading of “trash content” sites. There is a proliferation of these sites online right now, all of them created to make some money from AdSense and other PPC programs.

Why are legitimate marketers upset about these sites? Because they compete directly for the same keywords and can also result in the cost of keywords being pushed artificially high.

I’m sure we haven’t heard the last on this…

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