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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Jeff Martin Serves as Click Fraud Subject Matter Expert in Lane's Gift's v. Google

Interactive marketing agency retained as subject matter expert on click fraud
By Counsel for the Class Members

DALLAS, Texas (PRWEB) August 1, 2006 – Zunch Communications, Inc., an international Interactive marketing agency that employs proven and ethical online solutions that deliver the highest ROI for its clients announced today it was retained as a consulting expert in the highly controversial Lane’s Gift’s v. Google case by counsel for the Class Members, several hundred thousand Google advertisers.

“Zunch’s expertise with click fraud issues was instrumental in providing me with meaningful insight as to the importance of Dr. Tuzhilin’s work to our clients, Google advertisers, and in preparation of my presentation to the court,” said Steve Malouf, Co-council for the Class Members. “The Zunch team did an exceptional job and should be extremely pleased with its efforts.”

On July 27, a federal judge in Arkansas approved the $90 million settlement between Google, Inc. and advertisers who said the search engine giant charged them for invalid clicks. By settling the lawsuit, Google will pay $60 million in credits to advertisers and $30 million in legal fees.

Having forecast the huge impact click fraud would have on search advertising dollars, Zunch Director of Click Fraud Services and Pay Per Click Auditing Jeff Martin developed Click Fraud Detective™, a pay per click auditing system that immediately alerts users when suspicious activity is occurring in their PPC campaigns and assists them with recovering their lost advertising dollars.

“We are pleased to have offered our expertise in this area to the parties of the lawsuit. Dr. Tuzhilion’s report, along with the approved settlement, demonstrates Google’s measures to filter out click fraud and other invalid clicks are reasonable,” Martin said. “As Dr. Tuzhilin noted, however, due to the inherit limitations of the pay per click model, advertisers will still find themselves at risk to click fraud, despite Google’s reasonable efforts. Because of this, Zunch will stand ready to assist advertisers in monitoring and auditing their PPC activity and guarding their budgets.”

Click Fraud Expert Jeff Martin Responds to Google’s Attack Against Third Party Click Fraud Auditors

Leading interactive marketing agency responds to Google’s lash out against third party click fraud consultants

DALLAS, Texas (PRWEB) August 10, 2006 – In a recent report and public statement by Google Business Product Manager for Trust and Safety Shuman Ghosemajumder, the search giant has laid claim that some third party click fraud consultants are using “defective methodolog[ies],” that inflates click fraud estimates and skews data. This seems like a reversal of the recent study conducted by Dr. Alexander Tuzhilin that determined Google’s efforts to combat click fraud were ‘reasonable’ i.e.: they met their contractual obligations.

“Just as Dr. Tuzhilin pointed out that there are inherit flaws in the PPC model which will prevent Google, or anyone else, from fully identifying and filtering click fraud, there are technologies in place which can prevent an advertiser or third party click fraud consultant from accurately accounting for all of the activity all of the time, Zunch Director of Click Fraud and Pay Per Click Auditing Jeff Martin said. “Dr. Tuzhilin concluded that Google’s efforts in combating click fraud were reasonable, in light of the inherit limitations of the PPC model, equally reasonable are click fraud auditors efforts to bring click fraud activity to the surface.”

Ghosemajumder states that fictitious ad clicks recorded due to mischaracterizing events “may be the most significant flaw.” Simply put, a single user may be counted as more than one visitor by a third party auditing system when either of these common events occurs:
1. The user navigates away from the page (either by clicking deeper into the advertiser’s site or by navigating away) and uses their browser’s forward or back buttons to return to the page.
2. The user refreshes the landing page.

“The limitation here is imposed by the Web browser. Whether refreshing the page in question or navigating back and forth to it through the browser’s buttons--Web browsers, by design will retain the original information of the initial visit to the page,” Martin said. “By not maintaining the same variables, the page could end up altered or not rendered at all. Because the original visiting information is stored by the Web browser, when a browser loads the page again it will appear as a normal visit to the page rather than just a return and will be counted accordingly.”

The Google report says in order to solve this problem third party click fraud consultants should rely on the “Google AdWords auto-tagging feature.” The problem is that the more an independent click fraud consultant relies on data provided by Google and their methodologies, the more the consultant loses their objectivity and the more their methodologies may become skewed.

“By using the auto-tagging feature, consultants would be relying on Google to tell them what a unique click is and what is not. This is at the very heart of click fraud auditing and the most significant means in which to hold Google, or any other PPC network, accountable. Because independent consultants must maintain objectivity and neutrality they cannot rely largely upon auto-tagging,” Martin said. “Independent consultants must rely on click stream data that is not contaminated or labeled by any PPC network as valid or invalid, unique or non unique. To not do so makes the consultant more of an extension of Google and their methodologies which is not the function of the consultant and defeats the purpose of third party auditing.”

When the inherit nature of browser technologies and the independent objective role that third party click fraud consultants provide is taken into consideration, one can assume their efforts and methodologies are reasonable.

“Shuman says Google may “perhaps help third-party auditing firms improve their methods.” Zunch highly encourages Google to be pro-active in working directly with independent consultants as they will continue to fill a vital role in educating PPC advertisers on the risks of advertising on the PPC model as they relate to click fraud, Martin said. “Independent consultants also help in providing advertisers with the missing account activity information they can’t receive elsewhere. It is in the best interest of advertisers and Google to do so.”


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