How A PPC Fraud Ring Impersonated 300+ Advertisers In May 2014

ppc-featured Did you know that your paid search ads are susceptible to the same type of fraud that affects other forms of digital advertising? And we're not just talking about click fraud here.  The fraudulent tactic affecting PPC the most dramatically these days is a fairly insidious one that can be hard to detect. It's called PPC ad impersonation and occurs when an impostor advertiser takes a known URL, like, and uses it as the Display URL of their own advertisement. When you first hear about PPC fraud rings, you tend to think of click fraud where an automated system, not a real pe [...]

Report: Click Fraud Rate Drops to 19.1% In Q4 2010

Click Forensics quarterly report on overall click fraud was released for the fourth quarter of 2010. They said the click fraud rate dropped from 22.3 percent in the previous quarter to 19.1% in the fourth quarter of 2010. This is the first decline in click fraude reported by Click Forensics since Q2 2009. As you can see from the chart below, the rate has increased from quarter to quarter: Click Forensics uses traffic from over 300 ad networks to produce these reports. Here are their key highlights: The overall industry average click fraud rate was 19.1 percent. That’s low [...]

Report: Click Fraud Rate Rises to 22.3% In Q3 2010

Click Forensic's quarterly assessment of overall click fraud rates for the paid search industry says that click fraud has increased to 22.3% in the third quarter of this year, up from 18.6% last quarter. There has been a consecutive rise in click fraud rates over the past 18 months, from the 17.4% Click Forensics reported for Q1 2010 and the 12.7% rate reported for Q2 2009. Traffic across more than 300 ad networks, as well as billions of clicks from top search engines, comparison shopping engines, social networks, leading publishers and advertiser web sites is reflected in the data. Co [...]

Report: Click Fraud Rate Up To 18.6 Percent

Click Forensics released their report on the overall click fraud rates for the paid search industry. They said click fraud was up from 17.4 percent last quarter to 18.6 percent in the second quarter of 2010. The findings of the report said: The overall industry average click fraud rate was 18.6 percent. That’s up from the 17.4 percent reported for Q1 2010 and the 12.7 percent rate reported for Q2 2009. In Q2 2010, the countries outside North America with significant CPC traffic producing the greatest volume of click fraud were Singapore, Pakistan, Japan, Ukraine and China respectiv [...]

Report: Click Fraud Rate For Q2 2010 28.9%

Anchor Intelligence released their latest click fraud report claiming the click fraud rate for the second quarter of 2010 was 28.9%. That is actually slightly down from the first quarter of this year, which was 29.2%. But yet significantly up from the prior year, the second quarter of 2009, which was 26%. Anchor Intelligence suggests the click fraud rate remains to be high due to a "dramatic growth in botnet scale and volume around the globe as well as the continued exploitation by malicious hosts of security vulnerabilities in the Internet infrastructure of countries such as Vietnam, Aus [...]

Google Sued For Click Fraud By Seattle Locksmith

Mediapost reports that Google has been sued by 123 Lock & Key, a Seattle based locksmith company over click fraud. Mediapost said this is the first click fraud lawsuit against Google in five years. In fact, this is the first time Google was sued since settling a click fraud case in 2006 for $90 million. Back then, Nicole Wong, associate general counsel at Google, told Danny Sullivan that there is really nothing preventing the constant lawsuits over click fraud. However, the last time they were sued was in 2006 so Wong's approach of making sure their "advertisers are happy" has been worki [...]

Microsoft Sues For Click Laundering

In a continuing effort to battle click fraud, Microsoft puts legal motions into place to stop "click laundering". Microsoft said the most recent scheme could have defrauded advertisers of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Plaintiff, Microsoft, "… seeks injunctive relief and damages to remedy Defendants’ fraudulent conduct in perpetrating a sophisticated click-laundering fraud scheme on the online advertising network operated by Microsoft and to protect the integrity of Microsoft’s advertising network against the fraudulent actions of Defendants." The Defendant is RedOrbit and s [...]

Report: Click Fraud Rate At Highest Rate

Anchor Intelligence released their click fraud report today, reporting that click fraud has reached an all time high. The "Attempted Click Fraud" rate rose 13.4% from 25.7% in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 29.2% in the first quarter of 2010. Year-over-year, this is up 34% from Q1 2009. It is important to note that "attempted click fraud" is not necessarily charged to advertisers. Here are some useful charts from the Anchor Intelligence report, but you can download the full report over here. Postscript: A day later, Click Forensics came out with their Q1 2010 click fraud report [...]

Harvard Professor Details New, ‘Insidious’ Form Of Google Click Fraud

One of Google's more vocal critics says the company should cut its ties with InfoSpace over what he calls "a particularly insidious kind of click fraud" that involves a fairly complex combination of paid ads, affiliate traffic brokering, and spyware. Harvard assistant professor Ben Edelman also wants Google to repay the affected advertisers and be more diligent in preventing schemes like the one he's written about. Edelman details the scheme on his own site, and followed it up with additional comments in a article that calls it "the slickest click fraud yet." Unlike most click fr [...]

Yahoo Pay Per Click Settlement Details Goes Out To Advertisers

This morning, many Yahoo advertisers received an email from Rust Consulting letting them know, they are included in a legal settlement over Yahoo search ads. The settlement web site, which is at explains that the "lawsuit alleges that customers contracted for targeted ad placements through two products, "Sponsored Search" and "Content Match" (and predecessor products provided by Overture Services, Inc. and, Inc.) and that Yahoo! breached its contract with its customers by allowing Yahoo! ads to be displayed in spyware, domain name parking sites (bulk registrat [...]

Click Fraud Rise Or Fall? Click Fraud 22.9% Or 12.7%

Today, I received two click fraud reports from two different companies. The first was from Anchor Intelligence and the second was from Click Forensics. Anchor Intelligence reported a click fraud rate of 22.9% for the second quarter of 2009, up from 21.7% in the first quarter. While Click Forensics reports a click fraud rate of 12.7% in the second quarter of 2009, down from 13.8% in the first quarter. That is a 10 plus point difference in the click fraud rate, reported by these two agencies. Who should you believe? Click Fraud can be measured on many different levels. Anchor broke out [...]

Microsoft Taking Click Fraud Battle To Court

The New York Times reports that Microsoft is taking the click fraud battle to court. "Microsoft filed the civil complaint on Monday in United States District Court in Seattle against Eric Lam, Gordon Lam and Melanie Suen, of Vancouver, British Columbia, along with several corporation names they were believed to have used, and several unnamed parties." The Times quotes Tim Cranton, a Microsoft attorney, who says they've decided to get more active in fighting fraudulent clicks on web ads. "The theory is you can change the economics around crime or fraud by making it more expensive." The [...]

Does Including A Physical Address On Your Website Help Rankings?

As businesses become more virtual in organization and structure, and more workers become digital nomads, the question of  whether having a physical, real-world address on your website will have any effect on your rankings becomes more important. In this article I'll take a look how a real world address can have some impact on your sites organic listings. Let's look at the auto repair sector. We'll be looking at national chain/franchises, whether they have a corporate address in the footer or on the site, public or private whois data, does the whois data match and do they have a crawlable/i [...]

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. [...]

Estimated Click Fraud Rate Remains At 16%, Says Click Forensics

Click Forensics has released their estimated 3rd quarter click fraud numbers that they track. The numbers remain pretty much the same, at least as it pertains to the overall estimated industry average click fraud rate. The rate is now 16.0%, down from last quarter's 16.2%. The main change was that botnets were said to be responsible for 27.6 percent of the click fraud, up 10% from last quarter. The average estimated click fraud rate of on the content networks, including Google AdSense and the Yahoo Publisher Network, was 27.1 percent, which is down from the 27.6 percent rate of the pre [...]

Google Now Working With Click Forensics

Google allies with click-fraud-detection firm Click Forensics from ComputerWorld reports Google has now agreed to work with Click Forensics to aid in the detection and reporting of search ad click fraud. Specifically, Google said they would now accept click fraud submissions through the product, FACTr. FACTr is a product Click Forensics created with the help of Yahoo to gather and submit click-quality reports. Google will now be accepting these reports electronically, hopefully streamlining the process for advertisers to get refunds for approved click fraud. Looksmart and Miva are also no [...]

Click Fraud Rate Mostly Unchanged, Says Click Forensics

Click Forensics has released the second quarter results for 2008, showing a slight drop in the estimated click fraud. Last quarter, Click Forensics reported a 16.3 percent rate, and they are now reporting a 16.2 percent rate for Q2 of 2008. However, the rate is up from a year ago, which was a 15.8 percent rate in Q2 of 2007. The main number that stood out was that "traffic from botnets was responsible for more than 25 percent of all click fraud traffic in Q2 2008," said Click Forensics. Click Forensics believes the botnets increase was the reason why the click fraud rate did not drop more [...]

Google Sued For Quality Of Ads On AdSense for Domains

Google Sued For Selling Ads On Parked Domains from InformationWeek reports Google was slapped with a class action lawsuit over the AdSense for Domains product. In short, advertisers are upset with the quality of traffic driven through that program and feel that their money was taken from them without any return. The suit was filed on Friday in a U.S. District Court in San Jose, California. The law firm, Schubert Jonckheer Kolbe & Kralowec, is based in San Francisco. The one suing is actually a lawyer, suing under Levitte International for his advertising campaign he ran from June 1, 2007 [...]

Click Forensics & Yahoo Team Up To Build Factr

Click Forensics, Yahoo take on click-fraud cases from reports that in part of the Click Forensics & Yahoo partnership, they have teamed up to build a new software tool to detect click fraud, named Factr. Factr, Fully Automated Click Tracking Reconciliation, automatically queries Yahoo's search ad platform when Click Forensics detects click fraud. The tool provides automated detection of click fraud and streamlines the refund process with Yahoo. Steve O'Brien, vice president of marketing for Click Forensics, said: We're trying to automate what has been a tedious manual process for [...]

Serial Clickfraud Lawsuit Firm Strikes Again, This Time At Citysearch

Click fraud lawsuit targets IAC's Citysearch from reports the law firm of Kabateck Brown Kellner is targeting IAC's for allegedly "defrauding its advertising customers of millions of dollars" by "turning a blind eye to click fraud" and actually "encouraging" the click fraud. This Los Angeles-based law firm has won suits against Google and Yahoo in the past on click fraud charges. In addition, last month it filed a new suit (Google Sued For Undesired AdSense Inclusion) against Google. In this case, the plaintiff is Tom Lambotte, who claimed he started a Citysearch ad [...]

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