Back in December, I caused a little bit of a ruckus when I posted information from Google that suggested click fraud rates were a fraction of a percent. The majority of readers and linkers suggested that the rate was far too low and that you couldn’t trust data supplied by the search engine.
Fast forward six weeks and we find ourselves confronted with new data from Click Forensics that suggests industry click-fraud rates have increased to 14.2 in Q4, versus 13.8% in Q3. Bids for amounts over $2.00 achieved click-fraud rates of 20.9%.
So let me ask you this, who trusts these numbers? If most of you don’t trust numbers supplied by Google, can you trust numbers supplied by a company that has a vested interest in seeing click fraud grow? They may counter that they sampled 3,000 advertisers, but surely the sample set is biased. If you walk into a hospital and ask 3,000 patients, “Who here is feeling unwell?”, wouldn’t you expect a biased result?
So where does that leave us? It leaves us desperate for a third-party audit of click fraud, completed by a group that has no skin in the game. In the meantime, let’s assume click-fraud is somewhere between 0.2% and 14.2%.