Posted February 1, 2007 12:13 pm by with 2 comments

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On Tuesday, I voiced my concerns on trusting click fraud data, released by a click-fraud monitoring company.

Yesterday, Google’s Shuman Ghosemajumder (whom I interviewed back in December) fired back at Click Forensics, pointing out all manner of flaws to their study.

We found serious flaws in their counting of clicks – a more fundamental issue than their counting of click fraud. They were making basic counting mistakes and inflating the number of clicks by an average of 40%. The source of this problem is incorrectly counting page views – from users browsing through an advertiser’s site – as clicks.

Shuman also discussed how Click Forensics measures clicks, Google didn’t even charge for, and follows up his original post with one that goes into more detail.

What is far more common is that the reports we receive from them ask for refunds for clicks which do not even exist.

He further explains how many click fraud companies incorrectly count visits to PPC landing pages.

The assumption they’re relying upon is that each visit to that URL corresponds to a unique click, and vice versa. But in practice this is not the case. Once a user visits that page, they often browse through the site, navigating through sub pages, and then return to the original landing page by hitting the back button. When the landing page is reloaded in the browser, it appears in the web log as though additional ad “clicks” are occurring…A reload of the advertiser’s landing does not contact Google again.

Certainly, Google has a lot at stake, so you can argue that they’re just as biased in their defense, as Click Forensics is in their attack. Until we’re able to get independent tracking of click fraud, advertisers will just have to rely on measuring the ROI from a click, and deciding if it makes sense to continue bidding.