Click Fraud Rate Hits Highest Level Yet

Click fraud is worse today than ever according to an announcement from tracking company Click Forensics.

Click Forensics estimates the overall average click fraud rate for Q4 2008 at 17.1%, the highest level since they began tracking it in 2006. That rate is up from 16.0% in Q3 2008 and from the 16.6% rate reported in Q4 2007. Click fraud estimates on the search engine content networks are said to be at 28.2%, up from 27.1% in Q3.

They also estimate that botnets were responsible for 31.4% of click fraud in the last quarter of 2008, up from 27.6% in Q3, and also the highest level yet.

“We’ve started to see old schemes like click farms reemerge,” says Tom Cuthbert, Click Forensics’ president.

As always, keep in mind Chris Sherman’s advice when looking at these figures:

At first glance, these numbers may seem alarming, but they may not take into account the discounting of questionable clicks done by most search engines. In fact, Google has stated that click fraud amounts to just .02% of all clicks after it allows for other non-converting clicks. See Danny’s Google: Click Fraud Is 0.02% Of Clicks for a detailed look at how Google analyzes clicks and why its number of fraudulent clicks is so much lower than that reported by Click Forensics.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Legal: Clickfraud

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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