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Internet scammers steal money with 'click fraud.'
Despite new efforts to stop click fraud, temptation for scammers is growing
Imaster




msg:1146425
 7:34 am on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Assaf Nehoray's online ad campaign bogged down in Germany. The European businessman runs a Web marketplace for cargo firms; for the last two years he has attracted customers to his site by putting ad links on the major search engines. The model worked perfectly—until last summer. When he tried to expand into Germany, Nehoray found that his site was getting lots of new visitors but unusually few paying customers. Nehoray (who prefers we don't name his company) analyzed his Internet logs and made an unsettling discovery. Someone—perhaps a competitor—had written a simple software program that relentlessly clicked on his ads, burning up his ad budget and pushing his links off the search sites by lunchtime each day. After spending weeks complaining to Google about the problem and getting a partial refund, he finally yanked the ads. "It was really bad," he says, estimating that he lost $50,000 in potential business. "Nobody knows how to solve this problem."

Complete story - [msnbc.msn.com...]

 

europeforvisitors




msg:1146426
 10:36 am on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

One comment in the article was rather strange:

"Advertisers worry that if fraud continues to escalate along with ad prices, they'll be forced to retreat to media like television."

How many search or contextual-content advertisers have the option of using television?

And if 10 to 20 percent of clicks are fraudulent (as one person quoted in the article suggests), how does that differ in practical terms from waste circulation in traditional media (e.g., people who are out of the room when the TV or radio is on, or people who don't see a certain ad on page 78 of a magazine)? In the end, isn't it ROI that counts?

Realistically, a certain level of click fraud will always exist, just as "waste circulation" and circulation scams exist in traditional media. The challenge for PPC media isn't how to eliminate click fraud, but how to keep it to manageable levels so that PPC remains a better value than the alternatives.

bcc1234




msg:1146427
 11:16 am on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

A statement like 10-20% clicks are fraud in reality means 0% fraud in some industry (or region) and 90% in other.

If it were simply simply 20% across the board for each given keyword, that would not be a problem.

chrisgarrett




msg:1146428
 11:55 am on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

This FUD brought to you by the TV Advertising Collation of Europe :O)

Freedom




msg:1146429
 1:02 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Coalition.

Fischerle




msg:1146430
 5:42 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

What a dumb article, this issue is so overblown. Companies spending 12 dollars a click are the ones most likely to be able to absorb some fraud. Who cares? The system isn't perfect, and never will be. Severe fraud will be caught and reimbursed, minor fraud can and will be absorbed as a cost of doing business.

Click fraud even has a positive side effect: better CTR, and thus a better chance to move up the ranks. It's almost like an indirect added fee for improving one's ad ranking.

The thing that would concern me most as an advertiser is impression spamming. Much harder to police, and there are no direct losses, just a dilution of CTR and consequent free-fall down the rankings.

bakedjake




msg:1146431
 5:45 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Companies spending 12 dollars a click are the ones most likely to be able to absorb some fraud.

Are you spending 12 dollars a click? Are you qualified to make this statement?

Fischerle




msg:1146432
 6:14 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

For the term 'home refinance', which is probably upwards of 10 dollars a click, I see Capital One, eLoan.com, Ameriquest, and Lending Tree.

I believe anyone would be qualified to say that these companies can absorb the cost.

europeforvisitors




msg:1146433
 6:23 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

How many ads are generating 12 bucks a click anyway? Today's SearchDay newsletter quotes a Jupiter Research analyst as saying that the industry's average cost per click should reach 40 cents in 2005 and 42 cents in 2006 (after being 29 cents in 2003 and 36 cents in 2004).

PatrickDeese




msg:1146434
 6:25 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

> estimating that he lost $50,000 in potential business.

LOL.

Hey me too. I had one fraudulent click, and it cost me 10 bajillion dollars in potential business.

bakedjake




msg:1146435
 6:34 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I believe anyone would be qualified to say that these companies can absorb the cost.

Congratulations. You made a snap judgement based upon one search in one keyword sector.

I'm not discouraging nor encouraging clickfraud. But to say that a business should simply absorb fradulent clicks because it can afford it is not only wrong, it's ignorant.

walkman




msg:1146436
 6:56 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Hey me too. I had one fraudulent click, and it cost me 10 bajillion dollars in potential business"

reading the article helps:
"Someone—perhaps a competitor—had written a simple software program that relentlessly clicked on his ads, burning up his ad budget and pushing his links off the search sites by lunchtime each day"

if you sell $10,000 a day with Google ads and the day you yank them (or ad money runs out becuase of fraud) it drops to $8,000 it's not that hard to do the math.

walkman




msg:1146437
 7:01 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree! These crybabies whining because someone is stealing their money. They should get over it.

Fischerle, why don't you tell us what your ads are so someone can help you increase your CTR and reap the benefits or click fraud. Don't let Ameriquest, eLoan etc. have all the fun.

************
"What a dumb article, this issue is so overblown. Companies spending 12 dollars a click are the ones most likely to be able to absorb some fraud. Who cares? The system isn't perfect, and never will be. Severe fraud will be caught and reimbursed, minor fraud can and will be absorbed as a cost of doing business.
Click fraud even has a positive side effect: better CTR, and thus a better chance to move up the ranks. It's almost like an indirect added fee for improving one's ad ranking."

squeezer




msg:1146438
 7:13 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

i have read this thread frm the beginnen and i just ask myself: where do such kind of scripts may are running mainly?
are you thinking that such kind of scripts run targetet to ones keywords on all the three, gogle-search, coogle-network and content-sites?

wayne




msg:1146439
 7:17 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Click fraud is something Adwords needs to take
seriously though. I have a keyword that has been
giving me very good ROI. I used to get almost no
traffic on this keyword in the early morning hours,
and very rarely got much over 1% CTR with it. But
starting last week, I started getting a lot of traffic
on this keyword in the early morning hours, and my
CTR would jump way up to over 8%, then later in the
day it would calm down and the traffic would return
to normal and the CTR would decline. All of this extra
traffic was coming from one site, and I did report it
to Google. But now I just pause this keyword every
evening and wait until midday to resume it again. This
is revenue Google is losing out on, even though it
wasn't big bucks, but this extra traffic was not
converting at all. I'm not really expecting any refunds.

AZEvil




msg:1146440
 7:23 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Even though advertisers directly pay for click fraud, people need to start realizing that things they buy online are going to have the cost of click fraud wrapped into the price or the advertiser is going to go out of business. I think if more people were aware of how it indirectly affects the consumer, there would be more of a mainstream push to clean things up. Until then, I don't see things getting any better.

I had a guy steal ALL of the content from one of my sites over the weekend and put up a site of his own with his own AdSense ads. He forgot to take my tracking scripts off the page and I sat and watched him commit click fraud (repeatedly visiting his own site and clicking on the ads that appear on the home page). I've passed all of the info I have onto Google...hopefully they'll do something about it. I know for a fact that the ads showing on that site are NOT $12 per click ads, so anyone saying that is where the click fraud is happening needs to think again.

Fischerle




msg:1146441
 7:23 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've had severe incidents of fraud. A few e-mails and 2 weeks later, Google credited my account.

If statistically unnoticeable fraud is occurring, one will never know. Why get your panties in a twist? It's a cost of doing business.

Edit: I should add, though, that potential fraud is the main reason I always opt out of the content network, and usually advise my clients to do the same. Google has a lot of work to do to make Adsense a more transparent and accountable program.

itisgene




msg:1146442
 8:14 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Do you think it is related to the new MSN's tactics? Through the news media, MSN may try to find any stories that can risk Google's business. They have motives/incentives to do so...

bakedjake




msg:1146443
 8:18 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Do you think it is related to the new MSN's tactics?

No, but I think the tin foil hat should come off now.

Clickfraud was a problem well before MSN search entered the scene. It was in Google's IPO paperwork.

gmac17




msg:1146444
 10:04 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

What a dumb article, this issue is so overblown. Companies spending 12 dollars a click are the ones most likely to be able to absorb some fraud. Who cares? The system isn't perfect, and never will be. Severe fraud will be caught and reimbursed, minor fraud can and will be absorbed as a cost of doing business.

Dumb article? You've got to be kidding me.

Go talk to some small businesses who are paying $3, $5 or $10 per click and ask them what they think when they repeatedly find their competitors clicking on their ads.

2 clicks per day @ $5 per click is $3500 per year. This will not get flagged as fraud. Now add in the competitors friends doing some part time clicking and you can easily reach $10,000 by one competitor. That is a lot of money for a small business.

And the comment about eLoan etc being able to absorb the cost of click fraud is also ridiculous. Sure they can absorb the cost, but obviously you don't mind paying more for your mortgage because you can absorb the cost as well.

Never_again




msg:1146445
 2:22 am on Jan 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

These crybabies whining because someone is stealing their money. They should get over it.

It is simply amazing that you would condone a criminal and morally reprehensible act.

walkman




msg:1146446
 3:15 am on Jan 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

"It is simply amazing that you would condone a criminal and morally reprehensible act."

I was being sarcastic.

mcavic




msg:1146447
 6:28 am on Jan 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Nobody knows how to solve this problem

Google claims to have some very smart people working for them. All they have to do is want to solve the problem.

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