Click Fraud Rate Declines Slightly, Says Click Forensics

Click Forensics released their statistics on the click fraud rate for the first quarter of 2008, showing a click fraud rate of 16.3 percent. That number is down from the previous quarter, which was 16.6 percent. Compared to a year ago, when the click fraud rate was 14.8 percent, we are up. Click fraud on the content network was at 27.8 percent, down from the 28.3 percent rate a quarter earlier but up from a year before at 21.9 percent. As Chris said last year, and I will repeat here: At first glance, these numbers may seem alarming, but they may not take into account the discounting of q [...]

Google Sued For Undesired AdSense Inclusion

Google is being sued by a man represented by a law firm that has successfully sued Google several times in the past. The firm is Kabateck Brown Kellner and the man is David Almeida, a local businessman from Massachusetts who claims that Google's sign up process for AdWords wrongly conceals that advertiser text ads will run on AdSense content partner sites unless they affirmatively opt out. Here's a relevant factual passage from the complaint: This action arises from the fact that Google does not inform its advertisers that if they leave the content bid CPC input blank, Google will use the a [...]

Yahoo Advertiser Sues Over Click Fraud For $1 Million

Internet retailer sues Yahoo for $1 million from ComputerWorld reports has sued Yahoo for over $1 million for click fraud. The online retailer of collectibles claims Yahoo has charged them over $936,000 between 2002 and 2006 for clicks received via Yahoo/Overture affiliates. Bigred is seeking over $1 million in damages and penalties. The bulk of the retailer's issue is that he is not happy that he received clicks from Overture affiliate sites. These sites are typically parked domains that contain ads from Yahoo or, back then, Overture. The retailer claims the source of the cli [...]

Yahoo Partners With 3rd Party Click Fraud Company, Click Forensics

Yahoo and Click Forensics have partnered to combat click fraud together. The partnership was announced on the Auditing Paid Listings and Click Fraud Issues panel at SES NY today. Yahoo said: Click Forensics will allow advertisers to securely share relevant account information, such as site-side click behavioral data, with Yahoo!. Industry analysts like Dr. Tuzhilin have said that data such as this is helpful in identifying poor quality traffic, including click fraud.With this deal, Yahoo! is the first search engine to cooperate with a third-party, such as Click Forensics, to obtain addition [...]

Report: Click Fraud Up 15% In 2007

Click Forensics, the company that maintains the Click Fraud Index, a network that monitors and reports on data gathered from more than 4,000 online advertisers and their agencies, has released its most recent quarterly report on click fraud. The company found that the overall industry average click fraud rate rose to 16.6 percent for Q4 2007. That’s up from the 14.2 percent click fraud rate for the same quarter in 2006, and 16.2 percent for Q3 2007. The major search engines have typically disputed the findings issued by Click Forensics, claiming the numbers don't account for discounted cli [...]

Ask Sponsored Listings Gives Click Fraud Reimbursements

Scott Hendison received an email about a click fraud settlement by Ask Sponsored Listings. If you purchased online advertising from IAC Search & Media and/or ASK Jeeves from August 2005 to now, you are entitled to some form of reimbursement for click fraud or other invalid or improper clicks. The details can be found at, which contains a PDF of the settlement notice, the online claim form, a method to contact someone, and frequently asked questions. There is a fund of $820,000. Of that, $258,333 will go to the lawyers and the rest will be given to those who qualify for th [...]

Google Launches Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center

Google announced the launch of the Google Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center. This center will educate both novices and experts on click fraud, Google's prevention methods, what Google considers click fraud, as well as links to other resources to learn more about recent updates on click fraud and traffic quality. On the Tech Talk page, they link to Google's official blog, Inside AdWords blog plus to Google's Shuman Ghosemajumder's blog and Matt Cutts' blog. Last week Yahoo launched their Traffic Quality Center. [...]

Yahoo’s New Traffic Quality Center

Today, Yahoo launched a new Traffic Quality Center for advertisers and consumers. The center will provide information on: Procedure on submitting a click investigation request Announcements on new product enhancements regarding ad quality Advice and tips on how to monitoring your traffic Featured questions regarding traffic quality, with answers from Yahoo’s team of specialists There is additional information at the Yahoo Search Marketing Blog. [...]

Combat Click Fraud By Blocking Low Quality Traffic

Click fraud is a major concern to most advertisers. While advertisers should monitor their PPC activity and be aware of any possibilities of click fraud, there are several tools within Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing accounts which can help to protect advertisers from potential click fraud. Many industry observers suspect that the majority of click fraud occurs on the content network, rather than in search results. This does not mean that the content network contains inherently poor traffic; many advertisers report having lower cost per conversions on the content network than [...]

Who Called On Your Ads? Google AdWords May Provide Phone Bill Like Records

Click Quality Council Holds First Steering Committee Meeting from Search Engine Watch reports on a recent Click Quality Council Steering Committee meeting where Google's Shmuman Ghosemajumder said that Google is considering offering a "phone bill-like" AdWords invoice to all advertisers. Frank Watson reported that the Click Quality Council Steering Committee meeting had over 20 attendees, including Shmuman Ghosemajumder, Business Product Manager for Trust and Safety at Google, and Erica DeLorenzo, Director of Industry Practices at IAB. Google is working with the IAB to create standards that [...]

Report: Click Fraud Reaches 15.8% In Q2 2007

The Click Fraud Network released (press release) figures for the second quarter of this year, showing click fraud has increase to 15.8% from 14.8% in the previous quarter or 14.1% from Q2 2006. One of the reasons for the increase, according to The Click Fraud Network, is a noticeable increase in botnets, parked domain sites and made-for-AdSense sites. The data comes from 4,000 online advertisers and agencies. Here are the key findings: The overall industry average click fraud rate was 15.8 percent for Q2 2007. This is an increase from 14.1 percent for the same quarter in 2006 and 14.8 per [...]

Billable Click Fraud Is 10% to 15%, Says Fair Isaac

Fair Isaac Claims Pay-Per-Click Fraud Is 10% to 15% from InformationWeek says Fair Isaac is going to report today that it has found the click fraud rate of billed paid search and contextual advertising to be 10 to 15 percent, though the figures are based on what the Associated Press characterized as being a "handful" of web sites. The rate is much higher than what Google has reported and closer to the 14.8 percent rate the Click Fraud Index recently found. However, the definition of "billed" could be crucial. The InformationWeek article says this rate is for clicks that are actually billed [...]

Google Responds To Click Quality Council’s 8 Principles For PPC Improvement

Shuman Ghosemajumder, Google's business product manager for Trust & Safety at Google, has responded via his blog to the Click Quality Council's Cornerstone Principles for Pay-Per-Click Quality Improvement (PDF file) that were released last week. The response is basically what you expected to see. Shuman lists out all of the points in the 8 principles and responds that he typically agrees, shows how Google complies (or will comply) with each point. But let me pull out some areas that might not be simple "I agree" statements. In response to principle number one, "Advertisers should never pa [...]

Industry Group Proposes Eight Principles To Ensure Click Quality

The Click Quality Council, a group of online advertisers, advertising agencies and click quality monitoring firms formed to propose and help establish standards for search advertising quality, has proposed eight principles for ensuring industry-wide click quality. The principles are the result of a six month effort by independent members of the ad-hoc group to identify the key elements needed to deliver adequate quality in pay-per-click advertising campaigns. The eight principles include: Advertisers should never pay for double clicks or repeat clicks from the same session. Advertisers sho [...]

Less Than 5% Click Fraud Makes You “Virtually Free”

When the search engines and auditing firms don't even agree on an overall industry rate of click fraud, I was bemused by a release I got today telling me that ABCSearch is now "validated as virtually free of click fraud" according to Click Defense. Virtually free to me means practically none. Like well below one percent, I would say. Turns out, virtually free for this validation means "an average of less than 5 percent potential click fraud across its entire PPC search network." In contrast, compared to the major search engines, "This represents a three-fold decrease i [...]

SES NY: Click Fraud Remains A Contentious Issue

Yesterday, Click Forenics released its quarterly Click Fraud Index showing a purported increase in click fraud from 14.2 percent in Q4 '06 to 14.8 percent in Q1. By contrast, Google argues that "click fraud" constitutes less than 0.02 percent of all clicks. Chris Sherman earlier summarized the Click Forensics findings. Click Forensics' CEO Tom Cuthbert was on the "Auditing Paid Listings & Click Fraud Issues" panel at SES last week, which was one of the most interesting and contentious panels I attended at the conference. Also on the panel were Click Tracks CEO John Marshall, Google's Shuman G [...]

Click Fraud On The Rise, Says Click Forensics

Click Forensics, the company that maintains the Click Fraud Index, a network that monitors and reports on data gathered from more than 3,500 online advertisers and their agencies, has released its most recent quarterly report on click fraud. The company found that the overall industry average click fraud rate was 14.8 percent for Q1 2007 versus 13.7 percent for the same quarter in 2006 and 14.2 percent for Q4 of 2006, 13.8 percent for Q3 of 2006, 14.1 percent for Q2 of 2006, respectively. At first glance, these numbers may seem alarming, but they may not take into account the discounting [...]

Google Publishes Papers On Clickbots

Last night the Google AdWords blog announced a paper they published named The Anatomy of Clickbot.A. The paper was rewritten by Neil Daswani, Michael Stoppelman, and the Google Click Quality and Security Teams. Here is the abstract: This paper provides a detailed case study of the architecture of the Clickbot.A botnet that attempted a low-noise click fraud attack against syndicated search engines. The botnet of over 100,000 machines was controlled using a HTTP-based botmaster. Google identified all clicks on its ads exhibiting Clickbot.A-like patterns and marked them as invalid. We disclose [...]

No Win Against Google For Party That Opted-Out Of Click Fraud Settlement

Google AdWords Contract Upheld (Again)--Feldman v. Google from Eric Goldman reports that Google has won a case against the one of the 556 plaintiffs that opted out of the Google click fraud settlement." Here are some key points I want to pull out from this: (1) Very few advertisers decided to opt out of the settlement, so this individual ruling does not impact many. (2) Google won because the AdWords contract requires the case to be held in Google's "home court" and this case was brought up in Pennsylvania. (3) Eric Goldman says that since the judge ruled that this plaintiff is "bound by [...]

Yahoo Click Fraud Settlement Approved

Search Engine Watch has news that a settlement in the Checkmate click fraud action against Yahoo has received final approval by the judge overseeing the case. Those with claims were required to file by November 20 of last year, following instructions at the Checkmate Settlement site. Here's the Yahoo statement they're giving to the press from Reggie Davis, Yahoo's newly appointed click fraud czar: Judge Snyder's final approval of the settlement validates the strength of Yahoo's clickthrough protection systems and our commitment to delivering a quality experience to both our advertisers and [...]

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