It would be nice if there was some way to determine if the person clicking your ads is a competitor.
Like maybe when people login to adwords, their ip gets tracked and then when that same person clicks on an ad that is competing with their own ad, it doesn't cost the other advertiser any money. I know this probably won't happen because it makes google a lot of money and consumes resources. But I hate how if you have ad's at the top, you're paying a heap for your competitors to check you out.
lets all concentrate on running a business and not worry about bored competitors
But isn't part of running a business controlling costs and trying to stop people from stealing from you?
I agree, however, that it's doubtful there's a lot of fraudulent clicks by competitors. It depends on the industry and the character of the competitors, of course. I tend to think this is not a widespread problem.
I suspect that the much bigger fraud problem is with the websites who show the advertisements. With the owners or employees of those sites seeking to increase their income by clicking on ads.
I've noticed a big increase in apparent fraud since the introduction of Search by AdSense, and a lot of clicks from irrelevant websites. Google seems to play dumb when confronted by this (to my mind) obvious fraud.
I've only had to report one suspicious traffic spike in a year, and it happened over a 6 day period recently. The account rep agreed with me that it looked suspicious and couldn't be explained away by other factors, so she forwarded it the fraud team, and it will take 3 to 4 weeks before they get back to me.
It didn't cost me too much (<$50), and I almost didn't bother to report it, but I thought it might help Google in tightening up their security. I'm opted out of the content network, and my gut feeling is that it was a web site abusing the Adsense search function, since it is impossible for Adwords users to opt out of that.