Back in December, I caused quite a storm, when I published data from Google’s Shuman Ghosemajumder that suggested Google’s click fraud rate was less than 2% (and actually less than 0.2%).
Speaking with Ghosemajumder last week, it appears that story helped form Google’s strategy for coming clean on the actual numbers for click fraud.
Google has now confirmed that user-identified click-fraud (the clicks not already filtered by Google) is actually less than 0.02% of all Google clicks. In addition, the average rate of invalid clicks (Google’s term for clicks that are filtered automatically and not charged to advertisers) is less than 10% of all clicks.
Not publicized by Google – but I certainly stressed to them they should make a deal of – is that their click fraud numbers are vetted and audited by an outside company. These numbers are not just plucked out of the air by Ghosemajumder.
In an effort to respond to concerns raised by advertisers and so-called click fraud detection companies, Google also plans a number of initiatives for the coming year. Advertisers will get enhanced reporting, a Google guide to click fraud, and a standard method for reporting invalid clicks to Google. The most intriguing new feature will no doubt bring applause, but also call the bluff on advertisers claiming click fraud foul.
Google will roll out IP Filtering, allowing advertisers to filter out any designated IP address. This is an interesting move by Google. Note, they’re not simply waiving the fees for clicks from certain IPs, but actually preventing the ad from being displayed at all. By doing so, Google is demonstrating its confidence in already filtering out invalid clicks and challenging advertisers to accept no traffic whatsoever from an IP. Effectively, if an advertiser is so confident that an IP is sending improper traffic, they can ban the IP altogether. It’s Google’s way of saying “if you’re so sure we’re not blocking click fraud from this IP already, go ahead an turn off ALL traffic from this IP.” It will be interesting to see if advertisers’ confidence remains, when they know their only choice is to ban all traffic from an IP address.
Google’s move seems to demonstrate their supreme confidence in their ability to identify and filter click fraud. Their new reports and filtering, certainly seem to prove this out.
So, what are your thoughts? Are you satisfied with Google’s click fraud claims? Are they now doing enough to combat click fraud?
UPDATE: Here’s the official word from Google.