We’ve spoken a bit before about click fraud. This occurs when someone clicks on a Pay-Per-Click advert for any purpose other than to visit the website of the advertiser, with a genuine desire to look at their products and services.
‘Pay per click’ is one of the main sorts of advertising on the web. Perhaps obviously, the advertiser pays when someone clicks on their advert. Every advert that appears in the Search Engine Results Page on Google is a pay per click advert.
There are three main types of click fraud. The first is called ‘innocuous’, where users click on adverts accidentally, or habitually click on a particular advert. They weren’t deliberately intending to visit the website of the advertiser, but do so by accident.
The second two types are both ‘malicious’. The first are clicks carried out by competitors to an advertiser, to drive up costs for that advertiser. The 2nd are carried out by website owners, who click on adverts on their own website, since they make money every time an advert on their site is clicked on.
Google claim to detect and filter out these malicious clicks so that advertisers are not charged for them. Google don’t reveal how they work out what is a malicious click since, they say, that would prompt the perpetrators of the click fraud to develop more complex click fraud techniques.
As reported over on Techcrunch, a company called Anchor intelligence has released a report that outlines the amount of click fraud that exists. The report covers January to June 2009.
The report shows that click fraud appears to be on the rise with 22.9% of all clicks being click fraud of one sort of another.
The report also breaks down the click fraud rates by country. In the UK, click fraud is around 17.7%, relatively low in the click fraud league. By contrast, in Vietnam has a click fraud rate of nearly 50%. No other country comes close to that.
And it’s not like Vietnam is an anomaly due to its low click volume. It is, apparently, the sixth biggest market in the world for pay per click advertising.
Here’s some good visuals reproduced from TechCrunch:
What does this mean if you’re building a website with WebEden? Well if you use pay per click advertising to drive traffic to your site, be assured that you’ve got – on a world scale – a low risk of paying for fraudulent clicks. There’s not going to be a lot you can do about avoiding these fraudulent clicks, but just trust that Google and others are not charging you for them.
If you run AdSense adverts on your website, the overall message has got to be: don’t click on your ads! The chances are the Google can already detect from your IP address that it’s you who is clicking, and will therefore not credit you with any cash. The risk you take if you do click on adverts on your own site is that Google will terminate your AdSense contract, since you’re breaking their Ts & Cs.
Have you been the victim of click fraud? Or have you maliciously clicked on a competitors’ adverts? Leave us a comment below.