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This 74 message thread spans 3 pages: 74 ( [1] 2 3 > >     
'Click Fraud' Threatens Foundation of Web Ads (Wash Post)
Google Faces Another Lawsuit by Businesses Claiming Overcharges
walkman



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 3:23 pm on Oct 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

"From her home surrounded by cornfields in Dow City, Iowa, Jackie Park spends hours each day on her computer, earning half a penny every time she clicks on an Internet advertisement.

By the end of the day, she usually tallies a few hundred clicks, yielding about $300 a year."

"Yankee Group estimated that fraudulent means are involved in 1 of every 10 clicks on text ads, which translated to a $500 million problem last year, when pay-per-click ads generated a total of $5 billion. Other consultants estimate that click fraud is much larger, perhaps a $1 billion problem affecting 12 percent to 30 percent of all ad clicks."

[washingtonpost.com...]

 

crak_bot

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 6:15 pm on Oct 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

This article got picked up by many big sites, Including MSNBC and Drudge.

When they went to the one office in New Dehli I got a strange vision that there must be thousands of people just like that guy all over the world.

mcavic

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 7:02 pm on Oct 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

yielding about $300 a year. It's not much, but it adds up for the 35-year-old mother of five

She'd be better off begging on the street. She'd probably make a lot more than 82 cents a day, and she wouldn't be stealing.

potentialgeek

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 7:09 pm on Oct 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'd like to see Google suing the scammers in every country where click fraud schemes are advertised and found. Leaving it all to govt is unaccepable. Until Google does this, it doesn't have a leg to stand on saying it is fighting click fraud, and the class actions will continue. The passivity of Google is obscene and pathetic.

Other consultants estimate that click fraud is much larger, perhaps a $1 billion problem affecting 12 percent to 30 percent of all ad clicks."

Who are these "consultants" who "estimate"? A bunch of drama queens!? Let's see their data and equations!

While I don't condone click fraud in any way, shape, or form, I don't have too much sympathy for click fraud victims. If AdWords users don't know how to track their ads to monitor conversion rates, and detect fraud, they really shouldn't be using them.

'Click Fraud' Threatens Foundation of Web Ads (Wash Post)

WP being drama queens? They should know better. Maybe next time the WP and Business Week should get together for another scholarly click fraud article. :/

p/g

jsinger

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 7:30 pm on Oct 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

By the end of the day, she usually tallies a few hundred clicks, yielding about $300 a year.

Is that after going thru 3 mice, a new computer, $100 in extra electricity and a $4000 carpal tunnel operation?

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 7:53 pm on Oct 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

The WASHINGTON POST is late to the party.

[webmasterworld.com...]

[webmasterworld.com...]

[webmasterworld.com...]

And for a court-approved academic study of Google's efforts to combab click fraud, see the PDF file at:

[googleblog.blogspot.com...]

eJojo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 8:08 pm on Oct 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

300$ a year? Seems like a mistake to me. 300$ a day or in a week seems more likely to me.

ember

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 8:11 pm on Oct 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

As noted above, she is making 82 cents or so a day. It must cost just that much to run her PC.

RhinoFish

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 9:36 pm on Oct 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

she's the dupe and not the one making the larger amounts of money. the real thieves won't have trouble finding many like her, which is a real shame.

grelmar

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 10:35 pm on Oct 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Manual click fraud? That's so 1999.

Rent a botnet and make some real cash.

A half well designed botnet will click 100 ads/day/machine. Spread those clicks over a 24 hour period at random intervals, to 100 different websites from a prefab list, and it becomes difficult to impossible for automated detection.

Multiply that by a 1k machine zombie botnet (which would be the smallest botnet you can rent). Each machine is clicking from a different IP, the IPs are spread out over the entire planet. Again, this spreads the load in away that makes it difficult to impossible for automated detection.

Given the millions of zombie machines out there, some very simple math starts to show how professional virus writers make very good coin. They are also rarely caught.

Botnets aren't just for spam anymore, and haven't been for years.

fearlessrick

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 10:51 pm on Oct 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I find the statement that one in ten clicks (or more) is fraudulent to be beyond belief. 10% would be a very high figure because, as far as i can tell, the only way someone can benefit from click fraud is to be a PUBLISHER first, and then share the proceeds with the ad clickers, so, it would seem that Google and Yahoo could easily identify the bogus SITES.

As for me, being a publisher, if anyone was excessively clicking on ads on my site, the only beneficiary would be me (and Google, of course).

Somebody please prove me wrong on this.

Besides that, is it just me who thinks that, considering the absurd state of journalism in America today, the WaPo and BusinessWeek running these articles in the span of three weeks is somewhat suspicious?

Gee, who makes money on print advertising? And who makes nothing on web ads? Print is under tremendous threat from the web, and these are just attack articles. It's all about job security.

Basically, just sit back and watch the noise. The advertisers will win their suits, or G and Y will settle. They do need better self-policing, I will admit, but the claims being made by "analysts" seem spurious at best. I'd love to see their methodology.

walkman



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 11:42 pm on Oct 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> Besides that, is it just me who thinks that, considering the absurd state of journalism in America today, the WaPo and BusinessWeek running these articles in the span of three weeks is somewhat suspicious?

Washpost did not run those numbers, a research company did. Goog and Y! are free to post their fraud rate numbers.

karmov

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 12:18 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

As for me, being a publisher, if anyone was excessively clicking on ads on my site, the only beneficiary would be me (and Google, of course).

That might be true over the short term, but over the long haul, advertisers have decreasing ROI and therefore will spend less on this type of advertising. It's pretty simple math and could have a dramatic impact on everybody.

That all being said, Google's not going to sue, because a) it's expensive/hard b) that's not what they're good at and finally c) it only picks off the bad guys one at a time.

What Google is good at is creating automated systems that use user behaviour models to dela with these kinds of issues. If they continue to be successful at doing this, not only do they protect the interests of all involved parties, they have an extra feature to draw away advertisers from click-fraud wrought companies.

I'm on the adsense side of the coin so I don't really hve any data to support any troublesome increase in click fraud, but CPM is generally holding, if not increasing for me, so I doubt the sky is falling just yet. It's a potentially devastating problem, but since I can't do much about it, I just keep working on my website and let Google worry about the broader implications of click fraud.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 12:33 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

As for me, being a publisher, if anyone was excessively clicking on ads on my site, the only beneficiary would be me (and Google, of course).

It could also be someone who's got a grudge against you, or who's trying to hurt a competitor--either you or the advertiser. Google's CFO talked about the threat of "competitor click fraud" in a speech a while back. (I think it was late in 2005, but I don't remember the date.)

My own information site, which includes AdSense ads, has been hit by clickbots a couple of times. (One time, to the tune of $1,300+ in a single day.)

Besides that, is it just me who thinks that, considering the absurd state of journalism in America today, the WaPo and BusinessWeek running these articles in the span of three weeks is somewhat suspicious?

I think it's just the usual "me-too" or "follow the crowd" syndrome. One guy breaks a story, and the rest have to pile on to show they're in the game.

motorhaven

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 12:52 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Millions of zombie machines? Any hard data backing up this number or is it a guess? ...curious...

karmov

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 1:23 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes, there is hard data. Google it, won't take you long to find evidence. There was one police investigation that busted a 1.5 million machine net. I figure these are likely like drug busts, for evey big bust, there are 10 other operations that are even bigger...

I have a friend who recently completed a PhD which involved identifying botnet attacks. They're out there and they are a very real threat to everything attached to the net.

Edge

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 1:47 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

$300 a year, and her internet access costs what? you can't do dial up cheap enough!, electricity?, and a computer? This story sounds made up to me.

I don't doubt there is click fraud, however the media needs better stories.

mr_lumpy

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 1:51 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Botnets are real.

My server is scanned between 3-10 times a day for message board vulnerabilities. I had to put in captcha type authentication to stop the v*agra spammers from posting dozens of messages, all automated, multiple times a day, every day.

The botnets still scan my server, every day - each time from a unique IP address.

Broadway

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 2:07 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Clearly I have no idea how all of this works ... but the thing that puzzles me is my site generates hundreds of thousands of clicks per year. My site it totally clean (in the sense that nothing from my end if fraudulent). How is it that Adsense, from all of the site statistics they have, can't differentiate between clean and dirty sites?

And I know this is off thread but if you're going to promote a rigged program (i.e., allow parked domains and MFA sites to participate whose set up is one where an unintentional click is made just because the visitor can't find anything else to click on) then of course you're going to attract cheaters.

farmboy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member farmboy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 2:16 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

These news articles seem to start with a "Sue Smith sits in front of her computer clicking on ads..." storyline.

How do the news organizations find these people?

FarmBoy

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 2:22 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

How do the news organizations find these people?

They place adwords ads ..
" do you want to get paid for telling us how you scam adsense? ..is there corn around your house ..are you wearing gingham and pigtails ..single moms and retired folk preferred .."

;-)

farmboy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member farmboy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 2:23 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't doubt there is click fraud, however the media needs better stories.

Do a Google news search and read some articles on terms such as shoplifting, employee theft, etc. and you'll get the impression that brick & mortar retailers are going to be stolen out of existence within the next few weeks.

FarmBoy

jessejump

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 2:32 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>>>> considering the absurd state of journalism in America today,

Compared to what? The excellent, well-researched in-depth SEO'd-to-death articles on AdSense sites? Where the vast majority of the site owner's time is spent moving the AdSense links around the page endlessly hoping to catch more clicks. Hey, now you can remove the border around ads so they look just like navigation links. Where people have to be convinced that "Content is King".

Also, the Post is on line also. They will continue to produce well-written artices on paper and on line, making money from both.

oldpro

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 3:10 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

She will probably start drawing a SSI disability check for carpal tunnel syndrome soon. I am so feed up with all the weird clicks I have to pony up to pay....and the check I have to write each April to carry the load of all these deadbeats (bureaucrats included in that catagory). Atlas is going to shrug his shoulders someday soon.

gregbo

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 3:14 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

I find the statement that one in ten clicks (or more) is fraudulent to be beyond belief. 10% would be a very high figure because, as far as i can tell, the only way someone can benefit from click fraud is to be a PUBLISHER first, and then share the proceeds with the ad clickers, so, it would seem that Google and Yahoo could easily identify the bogus SITES.

Investors in engines and networks can benefit from click fraud, as long as advertisers continue to spend as much as they do on PPC.

There is also competitor click fraud, which has been discussed at length in this forum.

It is not so easy to detect click fraud. When botnets are used, for example, the sites in question get a wide spread of IP addresses, user agents, etc., ie. just as if a wide spread of people were clicking on these sites.

Besides that, is it just me who thinks that, considering the absurd state of journalism in America today, the WaPo and BusinessWeek running these articles in the span of three weeks is somewhat suspicious?

Not really. After all, to the extent that they have an online presence, they're just as much threatened by click fraud as any publisher or advertiser.

gregbo

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 3:33 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Millions of zombie machines? Any hard data backing up this number or is it a guess? ...curious...

Visit the botnets [whitestar.linuxbox.org] site (registration required) for more info. Also see the ASRG [irtf.org] site. (Mostly anti-spam, but some discussion of botnets.)

sun818

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 4:37 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

eWeek had a front cover page article on BotNets:
[eweek.com...]

Since many of us are technically minded by the work we do, I think we sometimes forget how large of a population have no idea about their computer besides using a web browser. I am not surprised so many computers are compromised. I can understand spam being sent out, but who exactly benefits from zombie computers clicking on ads?

Wlauzon

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 5:42 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

BotNets?.. it seems like they should be called NetBots instead.

But I question a lot of those numbers. Anyone can pull an "estimate" out of their posterior, but few can back it up with real research. And of course none of them ever exagerate.

joeduck

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 6:39 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

The passivity of Google is obscene and pathetic

... and very, very profitable ...

Seems to me this is Government regulation territory because the fraud is very big, often international in scope, and the SE's have too little incentive to fully solve the problem, which nets them perhaps a billion in extra profits annually depending on your estimate of fraud and worthless clicks.

What I'd like to see is an oversight group who has the power to refund to PPC advertisers an estimate of fraudulent activity. This would incentify the SE's to search and destroy the fraud.

grelmar

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3130745 posted 6:39 am on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Millions of zombie machines? Any hard data backing up this number or is it a guess? ...curious...

Yah, sorry, I shoudn't just pull a number like that out of my buttox without backing it up.

SecurityFocus article. [securityfocus.com]
(pulled that after about 60seconds of googling)

...an illegal collection of hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of compromised computers all being controlled with a common infrastructure. There's even one case where a real botnet was found with about 1.5 million machines under one person's control...

Poke around any of the larger anti-virus company's research archives for a while, and you come up with some scary numbers. F-Secure and Sophos come to mind.

That particular article even mentions the use of BotNets for advertising click fraud.

WebProNews [webpronews.com] has a brief article on an "in the wild" click-fraud botnet of 34,000 PCs.

He even has a nice little math seciton of the article:
10 clicks/day X $1/click X 34,000 computers X 365 days = $124M annual fraud
100 clicks/day X $1/click X 34,000 computers X 365 days = $1.2B annual fraud
100 clicks/day X $5/click X 34,000 computers X 365 days = $6.2B annual fraud
For the first 3 months of 2006, Google reported $928 million in "network" ad revenue, on track for $4 billion in 2006. What if 5% of that is fraudulent? What if it's 10% or 25% or 40%?

As I stated earlier, manual click fraud is simply not the real issue.

This 74 message thread spans 3 pages: 74 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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