Interesting article in May 13 Business Week re PPC Click Fraud and web advertisers who use PPC growing ever more leary of click fraud on Google, OV, etc. Business Week has never really seemed to understand for how long and how serious a problem this has been, so it's good to see how much more often these days it gets attention in their mag (this is one of several from recent months).
Per this article: New companies entering the business of fighting click fraud deliberatly use scamming technology to jack up fraud clicks and compare their numbers with what Google reimburses advertisers for bogus traffic. Not sure how that does any good for the guy who paid for the bogus traffic, but from this article it seems the subject, and the complaint level, is starting to get ever more hot. And that is good.
It's a problem long overdue for more attention by Google and OV, the only worthwhile PPCs left.
It doesn't surprise me in the slightest that click fraud response firms may be employing nefarious means to boost the value of their services...it's easy enough to do after all, and if you know *exactly* what you're looking for, it's pretty easy to catch.
The fact of the matter is that it's always better to filter fraudulent clicks in the click stream rather than relying on post hoc analysis in order to try to argue for refunds.
You could spend a few hours gathering the requisite data only to get $50-$60 in refunds. The economics just aren't that favorable at this point, at least for the major engines like Yahoo and Google.
In our network, we filter out fraudulent clicks in the click stream, and it's been extremely effective in protecting the advertisers from fraud.