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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Click Fraud: Detection, Analytics and Advocacy

Click Fraud is the greatest threat to the rapid growth of the paid-search marketing sector.

"Google CFO George Reyes stated, "I think something has to be done about this really, really quickly, because I think, potentially, it threatens our business model."

Keeping track of campaign metrics is the key to detecting and dealing with click-fraud.

Jim Hedger gets this right and he knows his facts.

With the advent of click forensic analytics and advocacy as a professional segment of the Search Marketing industry, a strong foundation for such cooperation is being built.

Cooperation? Hhmm. I dont think its cooperation at this point. Its more like customer service.

With a pay per click (PPC) fraud monitoring service such as VeriClix providing detailed reporting on the fraud activity with an advertisers campaign and the publicity PPC fraud is getting, Google and Overture (Yahoo! Search Marketing) have to take these reporting seriously and investigate them. Trying to downplay the seriousness of pay per click (PPC) fraud to customers they way they have done officially in the media could cause much more trouble and add to the fire of the possible class action lawuit currently in the courts.

Full Story: Click Fraud: Detection, Analytics and Advocacy

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Click Fraud: A Legal Look

Some of the motivations of click fraud include financial gain, competitive advantage, revenge and blackmail. Jessie Stricchiola, founder of Alchemist Media, began by describing the financial gain click fraud "flavor."

What more of a reason do we need to treat pay per click (PPC) fraud as the serious threat that it is?

There are two primary methods of generating invalid, fraudulent clicks: manual clicking (by humans) and automated clicking (by software).

"For example, an advertiser can identify a single IP address associated with one of his competitors," she further explained. "And the advertiser can inform the CPC engine about traffic from that IP, which the CPC engines are perfectly willing to filter. However, that does not mean that additional traffic isn't coming from the same competitor from a different IP address in a different region—IP addresses which change dynamically and are not very identifiable as far as being able to tie them directly to a single static source.

This is not difficult for services such as VeriClix which have the ability to track dynamic IP addresses and proxy (ie:AOL) users on an individual basis. This will greatly strengthen the evidence you can take to your Google Adwords, Overture or Kanoodle rep (and any others) to seek a refund for fraudulent clicks.

"Google, on the other hand, has been very consistently resistant to providing advertisers with specific traffic data associated with refund clicks," she continued, "which is certainly cause for concern when advertisers are being issued arbitrary refunds and not being given any details about how they can better protect their campaigns. Often these refunds are of large amounts on credit cards long after the interest on that amount has been factored into the advertiser's credit card statement."

This is precisely why advertisers need to TAKE control of their advertising campaigns and not sit on the sidelines and hope that Google will audit themselves (doesn't fly with SEC for public companies, but it does here??) and refund monies that you NEVER KNEW you were entitled to.

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