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.