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Click Fraud Rate Up to 17.1pct in Q4 2008
engine




msg:3836763
 7:58 pm on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Click Fraud Rate Up to 17.1pct in Q4 2008 [news.cnet.com]
Thanks in part to armies of compromised computers, click fraud reached an all-time high in the fourth quarter.

Click fraud lets Web sites increase revenue from ads supplied by services such as Google's AdSense or the Yahoo Publisher Network, though those companies take measures to screen out bogus links so advertisers don't have to pay. But that doesn't stop people from trying, according to a new report from Click Forensics, a company that monitors for click fraud and sells detection services.

"The overall industry average click fraud rate grew to 17.1 percent for the fourth quarter of 2008. That's up from 16.0 percent in the third quarter of 2008 and from the 16.6 percent rate reported for the fourth quarter of 2007," the company said Wednesday.


 

tonynoriega




msg:3837782
 10:04 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

whining?

#1 my department actually put thought into our advertisements.

#2 i was not included in any content networks, or affiliate targeting..we were very specific in where our ads went.

#3 when you have the ability to track where your clicks came from and they were all within one regional area...

i would consider that fraud.

oh, and i didnt mention that the region that they were coming from was the same region one of our competitors was located in.

but again... the advertiser we were using said they couldnt help us.

Murfman




msg:3837855
 11:52 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm curious why people keep saying Google Google Google here when many of us that advertise on multiple search networks know the majority of the problem lies elsewhere.. cyahoough cyahoough... and domain parking distribution partners?

powerstar




msg:3837943
 3:00 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks, powerstar, I appreciate the response. I know if I were an advertiser I'd think differently. That's why I thought I should acknowledge that I'm not. However, you've really not explained why this is such a problem and why you can't just compensate for the click fraud.

personally i don't like anybody stealing from me. I don't think any level of click fraud should be allowed.

Let say i will compensate for the click fraud like you said, can you guarantee me it will stay at 17%?

Gomvents




msg:3837986
 4:04 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

let me tell you why I personally suspect click fraud to be a huge problem. same keywords, same search engine, same geo-targeting, same times of day - only difference paid ads vs organic SERPS. Organic results net us about a 10% conversion rate, paid clicks only about 1%.

There HAS to be fraud there!

Additionally the majority of paid clicks don't stay more than 1 second where organic visitors tend to stay about 3mins. Only about 30% of the PPC visitors stay more than 1 second.

I'm assuming in reality there is about 70% garbage clicks (fraud + competition + jerks who click ads for no reason + people who accidentally click a link etc.)

gregbo




msg:3838012
 5:47 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hmmm. I see a conflict of interest. If there was no click fraud to report, would this organization have anything to do? ;-)

This is like saying if there were no crimes, would we need police? (Granted, police do other things.) There is nothing wrong with organizations seeing a criminal problem and attempting to do something about it.

Moncao




msg:3838014
 5:49 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

purplecape:
"Where's the peril?"

The peril is your account is targetted. That 17.1 % is an average but that your click bot rate is 75%.

gregbo




msg:3838017
 5:51 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google should sponsor a free GPL anti-virus / spyware service. Then armies of compromised computers could be protected freely - which would save big money for Google (and a lot of other corporations).

What makes you think a free anti-virus service would work better than any of the others, or that most people would bother to use it? One of the reasons unwanted traffic (spam, click fraud, etc.) has been able to proliferate is because people not only don't run anti-virus code, they expose their computers to compromise by downloading malware, accepting untrusted software from friends, etc.

gregbo




msg:3838019
 5:55 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Clicks that are the result of poorly written ads and worse targeting are not fraudulent, but I'd guess that more than a few advertisers think they are.

Sure, but how would you tell the difference? Fraudsters can easily mimic any kind of human behavior.

gregbo




msg:3838020
 6:04 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Personally, I think compromised PC should simply be disconnected by the ISP until it is fixed, especially those used in DOS or spam bot nets, a far worse problem.

You should read NANOG to find out why this is not as easy as you think. Taken to the next level, attempts to disconnect ISPs from the Internet who have not disconnected spammers and other generators of unwanted traffic from their networks have triggered lawsuits.

signor_john




msg:3838259
 3:48 pm on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

This is like saying if there were no crimes, would we need police?

Not really. Click Forensics isn't the police; it's more like the burglar-alarm company that puts out scary press releases several times a year about people getting robbed, raped, and murdered in their houses.

Click fraud obviously exists, in the same way that impression fraud and waste circulation exist in the offline advertising world, but--unlike TV, newspaper, and magazine advertisers--CPC advertisers can track their ROI and decide empirically whether their advertising expenditures are worthwhile.

purplecape




msg:3838291
 4:23 pm on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well said, signor_john. The rhetoric in this area is prone to overstatement.

gregbo




msg:3838300
 4:37 pm on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Click fraud obviously exists, in the same way that impression fraud and waste circulation exist in the offline advertising world, but--unlike TV, newspaper, and magazine advertisers--CPC advertisers can track their ROI and decide empirically whether their advertising expenditures are worthwhile.

If this is the case, then why do advertisers ask SEs for refunds, and why do the SEs give them (in some cases)? Instead of asking for refunds, they could just reduce their ad spends. Futhermore, the SEs could very well say that from the perspective of the service they render to the advertiser (the HTTP request for a sponsored link returns a redirect to the advertiser's site), it is working in good faith. They cannot guarantee the identity, or intent, of any particular requestor - all they can do is assure that the redirection occurs correctly and in a timely manner. But they have decided that they should issue refunds, and work with companies such as CF to combat fraud. This would suggest that the problem is more serious than can be resolved by merely reducing ad spend.

powerstar




msg:3838744
 3:08 am on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)


There are 2 different opinions here:

1. If you are an advertiser you will do anything to stop click fraud and we should not agree to any level of it.

2. If you are a publisher then click fraud is bad but we should learn to live with that and maybe it's not that bad.

Please select your option...

anallawalla




msg:3838754
 3:25 am on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)


this is costing Google a lot of money.

How so?

Perhaps the implication is that some advertisers are losing faith in PPC and moving to other ad models?

gregbo




msg:3839943
 12:13 am on Feb 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

this is costing Google a lot of money.

If you stop to think about it, on top of the resources that are expended to process the clicks to charge for them, Google (and other engines) must apply various techniques to see if there are trends that match actual or presumed fraudulent behavior. For at least some of these clickstreams, they give refunds to advertisers. So at least some of the time, they expend resources in order to refund customers, that is, they spend money in order to lose money. Now it would not make sense for them to do this, unless they felt it was in their best interest to retain customers, who will in the long run make them profitable.

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