Ways To Identify And Tackle Click Fraud

Click Fraud

Identifying and tracking examples of
click fraud is the first step to eradicating the problem. Click fraud is an
enormous drain on the resources of advertisers operating on a national and
international scale, estimated to occupy around 30% of all pay per click
advertising spends. With so much at stake, its no wonder the search engines are
investing so much time and effort into devising solutions.

One way in which Search Engines and other pay per
click program providers have attempted to curb the growing click fraud problem
is through introducing IP address repetition algorithms. These formulae are
designed to pick up on suspicious click patterns emanating from a singular IP
address, which can help to uncover the existence of click farms and
competitor-led sabotage, as well as identifying potential fraudsters at source.

However, there is an array of problems with this
method of attempting to identify the fraudsters. Firstly, fraudsters logging on
through a dialup modem, DSL line or cable modem can almost completely bypass
this check, as with every new online session, a new IP address is generated.
Furthermore, there is an extensive range of software available to alter IP
addresses, which again can be used for ‘cheating’ the algorithm. Cookie and
session tracking are other methods by which search engines can attempt to
uncover potential fraudulent activity, but again there are ways around these
for the fraudsters.

More comprehensive software is being developed
which profiles and reports on the browsing habits of each click-through to
enable companies to track and monitor suspicious behavior, although this could
be seen by many as intrusive and ineffective as anything on a small scale is
still likely to go unnoticed, based on the vast coverage of ads across the

The problem of click fraud recently hit the
headlines with a class action raised against Google, prompting Google to offer
$90million as a potential settlement. Perhaps an acceptance of their
responsibilities, Google’s offer goes some way to suggest the extent of click
fraud, and its vast costs to the internet economy.

There are a number of self-help remedies that can
be implemented to keep an organization out of trouble. The first of these
remedies is the reliance on search engine optimization and organic listings. If
a site is well and fully optimized, it could eventually realize a ranking that
another site is willing to pay $2.50 a click for. Similarly, with organically
high rankings there are no click through rates, therefore the costs associated
with PPC are not applicable. Although the process is significantly more
laborious and takes significantly longer to see results, the SEO process is
much cheaper in the long run, and with an estimated 25-30% of all clicks being
performed fraudulently, an organically high listing can save money which would
otherwise be drained by click fraud for more beneficial reinvestment.

Year on year, as the pay per click advertising
market continues to grow and expand, surely click fraud will follow suit.
Unless an effective means of preventing click fraud is developed and
successfully implemented, buyers will steadily lose confidence in the
advertising medium and turn to more effective, less wasteful marketing methods,
which would seriously hit the search engines and could potentially threaten the
online economy as a whole.

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