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$1Million Click Fraud Lawsuit for Yahoo

   
6:12 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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An Internet retailer that used a pay-per-click advertising service operated by Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) is suing the Internet giant for more than $1 million, claiming it was overcharged by thousands of dollars as a result of click fraud that Yahoo did little to prevent.
Bigreds claims that many of the clicks were not from legitimate buyers but from affiliate Web site operators who received commissions from Overture and Yahoo based on the number of clicks their sites generated for advertisers.

"These clicks were not actual traffic, but were fraudulent clicks," Bigreds claims in court papers filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in New York. "Affiliates of Overture used software programs, employed people, and/or directed people other than actual customers to click on plaintiffs links from keyword search results," the complaint states.

$1Million Click Fraud Lawsuit for Yahoo [informationweek.com]
6:40 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I was just sent an email to another PPC provider with an affiliate using illegial php redirects to get clicks on sites.

and called a smaller ppc provider with an affiliate using illegal 302 redirects and trademarked names to get clicks.

Both were totally useless and I doubt would ever send a person that would convert. Just total garbage wasted money stealing.

carguy84
maybe he is paying credit card intrest rates on the spent money

[edited by: yobaby at 6:49 pm (utc) on April 16, 2008]

6:40 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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$1,000,000 suit for thousands of dollars lost?
7:08 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)



They do have a blocking utility now where you can block individual affiliate sites (or is it a search site). Did that here when I saw a disporportionate amount of click from one of those overnight link farm thingys. Looked like fraud to me.

They allow search and content options, but what they really need is a Yahoo search only option. Then all these shady deals could not sign up as a search engines and generate that cheap traffic.

7:44 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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but from affiliate Web site operators who received commissions from Overture and Yahoo based on the number of clicks their sites generated for advertisers

Isn't this just the content network? Take 30 seconds to opt out of it no? Or am I missing something here?

8:34 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Look if you are going to build your billion dollar business around PAYPERCLICK then you should probably have systems, people, backups for the most obvious exploit.

It's the modern day equivalent of a bank without a safe.

8:58 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Isn't this just the content network? Take 30 seconds to opt out of it no? Or am I missing something here?

I never use content on Yahoo and find parked domains in my logs that are part of Yahoo's search network.

I found that any site with search box can be a part of Yahoo's search.

I always wondered about low CTR on yahoo compared to other big two. Seeing my ads on Yahoo News, Yahoo that and Yahoo this, plus those sites that are nothing but fraudulent, I hardly use it today.

Ill consider Yahoo only when Yahoo Search shows my ads on search.yahoo.com only, period. The rest should be clearly optional.

9:11 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Um, i'm looking at this site, and I really don't see how any traffic would convert, regardless of whether it's fradulent or not. Sorry Red, but I'm thinking that maybe the lawyers are the only ones that are going to come out ahead here.
9:32 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I dropped out of Yahoo because I told them of IP addresses that were notorious for fraudulent clicks which were sending me regular traffic. I asked them to block them; they said no, they couldn't because the traffic may be genuine. I walked away. When they get professional staff who know the difference between an ISP and a proxy server I may consider doing business with them again but until then I'll deal with competent people instead.
9:36 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I think this company is completely justified in their suit again Yahoo.

The 250 sites you can block get filled up almost immediately and we have also had problems with "search partners" who send visitors without referrers, which make them impossible to trace.

Yahoo will identify the traffic and refund it, but they will not identify the site that is passing the traffic so you can block it.

9:51 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Such lawsuits might be good to have hanging over their head in fighting off the (pseudo) hostile takeover by MSFT.

They just need to be thrown out of court once the MSFT deal has blown over.

11:15 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I don't really see the problem with advertisers bringing suits against garbitrage because the advertiser foots the bill for the middle man market they create.

I'll bet Google is having a cow over this as the MFA sites are a probably a large part of their income.

11:47 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Um, i'm looking at this site

Inspired me to take a look too... The Copyright 2000 on their homepage is misleading, the design is clearly much older ;-)

$1,000,000 is an absolutely absurd number here. Hard to see it as anything other than a publicity stunt.

11:57 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member billys is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Wow, that site is awful. You couldn't pay me to buy from that site.
3:14 am on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I can see why that site would not convert. Most eccomerce sites are lucky if they convert 1-3% of people anyways. Lets see where this one goes.
4:11 am on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Click bots
If it is the same as when Yahoo employed click popularity ranking in its se algos, it works like this;

One PC, many simultaneous connections
Use AOL and get dynamically assigned IPs on top of proxies and IP faking
Use rotating browser types (including your OS version)
New user, get Yahoo cookie
Click one - Search Yahoo regular index for unrelated item, cookie changes.
Click two Search Yahoo for another unrelated item, cookie changes again.
Click three Target click.
End (cookie gone you appear to have stayed on the target site for ever).
If you are working off broadband, you are talking 20 connections per PC, 20 efficient fake users doing you bidding per PC. I suspect they now require a user to come back again to validate their pay per click use; easy enough to do.

In click pop days you would short click your opponents sites to make it look like their sites did not have relevant content (appear to stay on for 20 seconds or less the number of seconds randomized), as Yahoo down-ranked for such short stays. Clicking for pay for links is actually simpler.

8:38 am on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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"Dubious clicks" are a reason why I don't use Yahoo anymore, and I do have significant budget that could be spent with them. I was sick of having to claim refunds every month from them. Yahoo have brought this on themselves...as I have been saying for years...
10:04 am on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It's not a surprise, Yahoo! stopped caring about click fraud a couple years ago. The system got progressively worse, advertisers fled, etc. They went for the quick buck and are now paying the price.
11:18 am on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I bet they get proper coverage with the news spreading.

...

This website is a bad joke even for one made in 2000.

It's plain awful. It hurts the eyes. *rubs eyes for emphasis*

I couldn't tell click fraud from it being so bad if my... uh... premium depended on it

*smirk*

why is it that when it comes to a battle between small companies and one of the giants of search / PPC ... it's always the least credible people that sue?

btw

do you think they'll win?

...

12:54 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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do you think they'll win?

Looking at the website in question, do you think they have technical data to support their click fraud claims?

3:51 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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To echo another post ... the first thing I asked myself when I read it is why the heck they would want a mil even though they only lost thousands. That's like asking for a Bentley after the crooked sales person sold you a faulty Corolla.

GREED!

4:01 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You see a lot of posts here about advertisers having issues with Yahoo but as a Yahoo user you don't half see some bad landing pages or sites that just don't load from time to time, sometimes the advertiser needs to take a closer look at how their pages actually look and perform.
6:35 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Linkbait anyone? That is some costly link bait, but they are probably seeing some nice traffic. Too bad none of it will convert.
2:36 am on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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There would be a thread for worst ecommerce sites that advertise online. This one gets the first vote.
6:41 pm on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Wow. This website is terrible. Are we sure this isn't the affiliate website who sent the plaintiff the fraudulent traffic?

I just got my Yahoo claim form in the mail today regarding this class action suit.

They should have taken the $17k and been happy with that offer. Usually in the past it has been terribly hard to collect any refund.

Last month I visited a Yahoo location and met with several VP's and the topic of click fraud came up. Reggie Davis (VP Network Quality) was very pro-fraud refunds via the use of their available tools and fraud investigations being offered. I spoke with a lead engineer who designed algorithms to prevent fraud (PhD in Math from UCLA) and I was quite impressed with the steps Yahoo takes to prevent and provide restitution for fraudulent clicks.

4:45 pm on Apr 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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omg, surely that isnt the website?

It would be difficult to convince a court that any kinds of visitors to this site could actually convert to sales.

1:28 am on May 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Not sure where BikingforJesus is coming from. <Last month I visited a yahoo location and met with several VP's and the topic of click fraud came up. Reggie Davis (VP Network Quality) was very pro-fraud refunds via the use of their available tools and fraud investigations being offered. I spoke with a lead engineer who designed algorithms to prevent fraud (PhD in Math from UCLA) and I was quite impressed with the steps yahoo takes to prevent and provide restitution for fraudulent clicks.>

I've just spent the last two months sending logs/referrer info to Yahoo for our account and have gotten nowhere. We spend about $200k a year and recently the click fraud for Yahoo's search network has gone through the roof (we don't use the content network as it's totally useless). Yahoo's search partners now include the fraudsters that Google bounced because of fraudulent clicks - now the fraudster have moved and been accepted by Yahoo. Sites like Sedo.com and Zanga.com are two of the hundreds we've discovered. Yahoo DOES allows advertisers to block sites on the search network but new fraudsters (and incarnations) keep popping up faster than we can block them. If Yahoo would allow advertisers to opt out of the partner network, as Google, does then our ROI would return to normal.

I truly suspect that the microsoft takeover put Yahoo in a position that it was looking for every $$ to make the books look great. Unfortunately, opening the flood gates to fraudsters only presents a short term gain. We've turned our Yahoo account off pending some form of overall partner site blocking or signficant refund from Yahoo. Neither of which appear to be in the foreseeable future. It's unfortunate because we've been with Yahoo's PPC when it was GoTo.com.

2:23 am on May 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Being on that site for longer than a minute made me physically ill.
 

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