Posted July 27, 2009 10:33 am by with 11 comments

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It’s kind of hard for me to report on Click Forensics without being biased–I’ve long maintained that click fraud will simply be one of many "costs" associated with paid search and is therefore a non-issue. So, you should keep that bias in mind, when reading the following:

Click Forensics’ reports may put them out of business.

Maybe I’m being extreme, but when Click Forensics first launched its Click Fraud Index, it was able to report on massive amounts of click fraud and likely attract many new clients as a result. Four years on, I hardly ever hear anyone–outside of Click Forensics–claim click fraud to be a major issue–and the latest index suggests the same.

For the second straight quarter–and year over year–the click fraud rate declined:

The overall industry average click fraud rate was 12.7%. That’s down from 13.8% for Q1 2009 and from the 16.2% rate reported for Q2 2008.

Of course, that would be bad news for any company that has a business model based on preventing click fraud, so we get some FUD thrown in…

…increasingly sophisticated attacks, such as publisher collusion fraud, continue to be a concern. Ad networks should pay close attention to such threats in the coming months.

The report goes on to suggest that Click Forensics is discovering "new click fraud schemes" such as…

Publisher collusion fraud was one example. This scheme occurs when online publishers use rotating IP-addresses or botnets to click ads on their own sites in order to generate inflated commissions from unprotected ad networks.

Really? You’re just discovering that? That’s been around as long as click fraud itself has. Me thinks you might be grasping at straws (at best) or trying to spread some fear (at worst).

What do you think? Has the click fraud rate really dropped? Has click fraud become more sophisticated and thus more difficult to track?

Let’s hear your own bias! 😉


  • Andy,
    Much like missed-clicks (someone clicking on an ad by mistake) I agree with your premise that click fraud is just a cost of doing business, it’s always going to happen to some degree, but I bet over time that number gets smaller and smaller.

    I just think there’s no money in it anymore. That’s why it’s dropped. If it doesn’t pay, people aren’t going to waste their time doing it. Much like all the Twitter spam going on right now, if people aren’t making money, they’re going to eventually quit and move on to some new scam that does.

    Bret Rowe’s last blog post..BretRowe: @Noetical Hey Alita, glad you got a snicker out of it

  • I think it will get smaller because as more people make web sites, the ratio b/w real and fraud clicks will grower wider apart.

    mark’s last blog post..Free XBox 360! Get A Free XBox 360 Elite/Premium Now!

  • Rick Kozzie

    Fraud is still running rampid. It’s only going to get worse with personal information available on the internet at a few clicks. Todd Davis chose to put his SSN number all over the internet. He challenged people to steal his ID and it happened. This blog is a good example of how you can be left exposed to identity theft if you don’t follow the basic rules of “Don’t give out personal information.”

  • I don’t think Click Forensics needs to find something bad in order to support their business model. If click fraud is low, then it’s because of efforts by companies such as Click Forensics.

    Just like you don’t just set an SEM campaign and leave it, you don’t employ a anti-click fraud campaign and pretend that will fix things forever.

    Nathania Johnson’s last blog post..LL Bean Publishes Online Reviews in Offline Mailing

  • Shawn Merrill

    Interestingly enough, the same day that Click Forensics put out their data, Anchor Intelligence released their own set of numbers, which indicated that click fraud was actually closer to 22 percent for the quarter, nearly 10 percentage points higher than the data from Click Forensics.

    I’ve had a tough time stomaching the data from Click Forensics on click fraud all along. This discrepency only highlights their problems even more. A good blog posting on the issue:

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  • click fraud is no different to any other kind of fraud in that systems and mechanisms of the fraud will constantly evolve and in many area’s the systems to combat it will always be playing ‘catch-up’

  • Not that I would at all condone it, but I can see why some would choose to do click fraud especially in the current economic climate. One of my own sites has adwords on it in an attempt to recoup some of the costs in maintaining it however adwords has barely covered the cost of the domain renewal let alone my time.
    For another site while it was establishing itself in search rankings I used adwords to promote it, what a waste of money, I am sure the majority of the money I spent went to fraudsters. To me it makes little sense to spend money on the likes of adwords. I would rather spend my advertising budget and time on getting natural search results.

  • goodman naorem

    Hello Everybody! [especially Indians in the North East & Delhi]

    Beware of this cheater/ fraud/ betrayer called Mr. Surinder Luthra!

    [He is a non-sikh punjabi i.e. punjabi without turbans, 6 feet tall, fair complexioned, well built body, smoker & drinker. His look is quite misleading: looks to be decent & noble physically but totally crooked & wicked inside]

    He has cheated many people including me in the North-East-India and in Delhi.

    His modus operandi is to speak about his high connections with ministers and also high level officers in the central & state governments and secretariates & offices and then convince you to give central & state government projects that comes in lakhs to crores promising you a high income in terms of lakhs & crores. Then, he will ask you a security deposit of Rs.40-50 thousands to him for arranging the project [he will say it’s refundable once the project is through but he won’t!]

    Once, you paid the first amount, then, he will send you a fraud project Report that should be signed by you and submitted through him and now he will ask you another Rs.40-50 thousands as his fee for the project. With the payment of this money, he will assure you that the project will be submitted to the concerned government department at the earliest. Then, he will ask you to wait for some months.

    After 1 or 2 months, he will ask you again the same above amount and this time he will say that this is the final fee to be collected from you for finalising the project sanction in no time once you pay it. You pay it the final fee still with faith in him. And now the game is over: you are cheated!

    In reality, all the above process was a total fraud.

    He would be doing nothing except make you believe in many ways that he is on the way with the project to be sanctioned soon.

    Now, you call his mobile/phone and it will be silent and you will lose track of him!

    The above narration is the true story how this bastard [cheater/fraud] betray people in the north-east-India and in Delhi.

    By the way I am herewith furnishing his addresses in Gauhati & Delhi as follows [I am not sure he will be in these addresses right now but you can get some clues about his where abouts from these addresses]:

    Mr. Surinder Luthra

    Gauhati address:

    Borodoi-Chillia Bhavan

    B-Block [5th Floor]

    Near ICICI Bank, Bhangagarh

    G.S. Road, Gauhati-5, Assam, India.

    Delhi Address:

    4/114, DDA Flats

    East of Kailash, Gari

    New Delhi-110065, India

    There are two other people who work closely with Surinder Luthra to cheat people, thay are:

    Mr. Sunil D. Yadav

    Mr. Sunil Chopra

    They are Secretary & President of HAMARA SANKALP !



    15, G.F. World Trade Centre

    Babar Lane, Connaught Place

    New Delhi-110001, India



  • Lisa Tomlin

    Being that since Click Forensic’s own site was hacked today, seems to me that they may be missing a click or two.

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