Posted January 28, 2009 2:10 pm by with 12 comments

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Click Forensics has released a study showing that click fraud has hit 17.1%, an all-time high. For those of you who are unfamiliar, click fraud represents the act of clicking on a web advertisement to inflate click-through rates.

TechCrunch points out that over 30% of click fraud is via automated bots—another all-time high. This is a 14% increase over last quarter. I’m surprised the search engines aren’t doing a better job at keeping the bots down. This clearly continues to be a problem and needs to be addressed. I think the search engines need to release a state of the industry report on how they plan to cut these rates now ASAP.

Outside of the U.S., Canada is the largest driver of click fraud (7.1%), followed by Germany (3%) and China (2.3%).

TechCrunch also calls out that Click Forensics believes this may be a result of the economic state of the U.S., as old tricks like link farms are being used again. I think it is a direct result of a lack of focus, and perhaps effort, on the search engines’ side of things. What do you think?

  • This is surprising. I would have expected the number to much higher.

    Chris Berry’s last blog post..What Makes These People Indispensable?

  • I think it’s probably going to get even higher in the future because as more and more people become aware of their need to advertise on search engines, the more click fraud that will come from competitors who are trying to get their competitor out of the top spot.

  • Tim Madel

    I think this is a bunch of malarkey. Until we get some numbers from someone who does not have a vested interest I will remain skeptical.

    The only incentive for someone to commit click fraud is is the content network. There may be folks who are trying to increase the revenue for their sites, but I have to believe Google catches these folks rather quickly.

    To be safe don’t advertise in the content netwrok.

    ClickForensics sells a service to protect against ClickFraud – of course, they’re going to say the problem is getting worse.

  • Has Google or Yahoo ever put out information on it at all? You’d think it would be an interest of theirs….

  • Google tracks click fraud pretty carefully. If it gets out of hand, they eliminate your account. Does anyone know what they consider “out of hand”?

    Bill Tamminga’s last blog post..How secure is firefox?

  • Seems that data and information about click fraud comes and goes over time. @Tim Madel – I join in your healthy skepticism about sources on any and all data. Kinda like letting the fox watch the hen house. Trouble is getting this type of data in a reliable fashion at all. I doubt that the search engines are anxious to put real numbers to the click fraud that is happening on their flagship cash cows.

    Frank Reed’s last blog post..The Hope of Internet Marketing

  • PS3

    I’ve not use PPC to any great extent and have only ever amassed $3.69 in my adsense account, so have never had to withdraw funds. How likely is it that the click fraudsters can get their money out before the advertisers rumble them?

  • I would have thought this would have been higher but I suppose after it has been around so long that it could have lowered as peple realised that they couldn’t get away with it.

    I have only ever earned about $17 in my adsense account but have been trying to get into the amazon affiliate market and have had lots of clicks but no purchases yet. Will have to see how it goes.

    PS3 News’s last blog post..Redesign – What Do You Think?

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  • I always wonder about this myself. I finally am getting some money on google adsense. (20.00 a month from some niche blogs.) I have never made money with Amazon.
    Of course I realize sticking with it and building over time is the key.
    I try to only read honest blogs, and avoid all the “internet guru’s” who I feel just prey on the uninformed.

    Linda Lee’s last blog post..Nigera Scam moves to Yahoo Personals

  • Yeah, that is suprising. The numbers I think should have been higher

  • I absolutely believe click fraud is up. I have Real Estate Clients in different parts of the country that confirm this.

    The interesting part is that the majority of them do not run content ads, only PPC in SERPS so this is either a competition or bot issue.

    Real estate PPC campaigns in major markets are already too expensive without increased fraud. Although we have a proven system to maximize PPC efforts, conversion rates have plummeted in recent months.

    In a troubled economy the Search Engines (Google specifically) better get a handle on this quickly or many of the REALTORS I work with will be forced to drop all PPC activities altogether.

    Mack’s last blog post..Outlook Email Accounts