Google Pushes Back On Click Fraud Estimates, Says Don’t Forget The Back Button

Last week when visiting Google, I had a long background discussion with Shuman Ghosemajumder about click fraud issues. Shuman is Google’s business product manager for trust and safety. I’ll follow up on some of our discussion as I’m able to get some material cleared. But one of the most fascinating things was his explanation on how some third party auditing firms don’t appear to be matching up estimated fraud figures with refunds or even actual clicks registered by advertisers.

Some of what he explained is now covered in two blog posts up on his personal blog: Why Third-Party Click Fraud Estimates Don’t Add Up and Why Third-Party Click Fraud Estimates Don’t Add Up – Part 2. The second part especially gets into a big issue now with Google — that back button actions in a browser appear to be registered by some firms as a further "paid" click, when they are not.

Give the posts a read. As I said, I expect to be coming back to the issue in more depth in the future. Both, of course, have come out in reaction to yesterday’s news from Click Forensics that click fraud is at an all time high, based on its network.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Legal: Clickfraud


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Michael Martinez

    Google continues to fail to address the core issues that have been raised, including points I raised more than once last year regarding the various technologies that have been utilized since before Google existed to manipulate click-counting services including Web polls, banner advertising networks, directories and search engines, hit counters, affiliate link programs, etc.

    The most sophisticated resources, established before Google existed (and in 1998-2000 designed to primarily target DirectHit and large banner networks), consist of networks of servers spread across multiple NOCs. They employ multiple IP addresses from numerous C-Blocks and they spoof user agents.

    These systems emulate click-throughs on a random basis and random “stay times” averaging anywhere frmo 3 seconds to several minutes.

    Google just absolutely does not address these technologies in its continued responses to click-fraud concerns.

    Click manipulation is very real, very sophisticated, and apparently very far ahead of Google — unless Google is not disclosing what it really knows about the technologies.

    But I am fast losing faith in their technical expertise in this area.

  • Shuman Ghosemajumder

    Hi Michael, thanks for your comments. I’ve responded to your questions on the comment you left on my blog:

    Thanks again for your feedback. Again, as I said in my reply, the click fraud attempt methods you describe above are well known to us, and our click quality team deals with even more sophisticated types of attacks on a regular basis.

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