Why Click Fraud is Still a Problem

Business Week has an extensive look at click fraud – yep, can’t go a month, without someone doing an expose on click fraud.

The article is lengthy, but well done. In it, you’ll find details of a mortgage company losing $100,000; highlights of “domain parking” and the poor quality clicks they generate; and a look at PTR (paid to read) networks.

This snippet sets the tone…

A BusinessWeek investigation has revealed a thriving click-fraud underground populated by swarms of small-time players, making detection difficult. “Paid to read” rings with hundreds or thousands of members each, all of them pressing PC mice over and over in living rooms and dens around the world. In some cases, “clickbot” software generates page hits automatically and anonymously. Participants from Kentucky to China speak of making from $25 to several thousand dollars a month apiece, cash they wouldn’t receive if Google and Yahoo were as successful at blocking fraud as they claim.

21 Signs You’re Addicted to SEO

With all the “Top 10 this” and “Top 20 that”, it takes a lot to get me to link to a new list. Matt McGee deserves the link for his funny “Top 21 Signs You Need a Break from SEO” list.

Not only is the list very funny, with items such as…

3) The S, E, and O keys on your keyboard are broken.

and

5) When your son tells you he wants to go play in the sandbox, you fear you won’t see him again for eight months.

…but Matt also gets extra credit for the linkbait aspects of the list too. He manages to name-drop just about every top SEO out there – a sure fire way to get people linking to the story.

Channel Sponsors

Thieves Using Google to Empty ATM Machines

Is your checking account running a little low? You need not worry, simply conduct a search for the operating manual to one of 7,000 ATM machines located around the country and use the default passwords to hack into the machine.

Think I’m joking? eWeek explains that if the owners of Tranax ATM machines – found in gas stations among other places – do not change the default password to the machine, they can be compromised quite easily.

In the operator manual freely available on the Web site of a Canadian reseller, a section titled “Programming” provides the specific key sequence that will pop up a screen on the ATM that asks for the master password…the manual also contains instructions on how to enter the diagnostic mode, how to program the ATM’s number keys to spit out cash withdrawals and how to change the passwords to take future ownership of the machine.

Google Listens to Users, Adds Spreadsheets Features

Fuzzy “Wuzzy” Khosrowshahi stops by the official Google blog to let us know about some new features in Google Spreadsheets.

It appears he’s been keeping a close eye on users feedback and Google has added some new features to the tool, which include:

* support for Open Document Format (handy for those who use linux-based machines and Open Office products)
* a way to force multiple line text in a single cell (like a street address in, say, a spreadsheet for planning a wedding)
* currency symbols in addition to $
* an option to create PDF files that will print nicely
* the ability to share a spreadsheet with anyone who receives the URL (without having to specify their email address).

Advertise on Marketing Pilgrim

Why haven’t you signed-up to sponsor Marketing Pilgrim yet? If you’re looking for some encouragement, here’s what Jarrod Hunt, CEO of TextLinkBrokers.com, has to say about his ad…

“I wanted to thank you Andy for being so considerate towards our needs, the new combination of banner and text link placements as well as the “sponsored posts” has increased the click-troughs to our site substantially!”

When you sponsor MP, you get the banner, the text ad above each post and a few “shout-outs”. So what are you waiting for? More details here.

Moviegoers Research First on Google

Google has just released a joint study with MarketCast that looks at the role of the internet in helping moviegoers decide where to spend their $10-15.

MarketCast found that 49% of moviegoers surveyed actively research a movie after first hearing about it; and of these, seven in ten go the Internet, typically using search engines like Google. MarketCast calls this influential segment “Moviegoing Infoseekers,” and found they account for about a third of respondents. “These are activist consumers, for whom the decision to see a movie is not made in a snap,” noted MarketCast’s Shapiro.

Clearly Google commissioned the study to prove to the film industry the importance of internet AdWords marketing.

Strategic Consulting with Converseon

One of the most exciting consulting partnerships I’ve forged over the last couple of months is with a company called Converseon. If you’re not familiar with Converseon, they are the leaders in what is fast becoming known as “Social Media Optimization” or what they call “Search 2.0″. They offer online reputation management solutions, which includes their proprietary SERMA platform; conversation mining; and search engine marketing.

In essence, they are the leaders in helping companies understand what is being said about their company, how to engage the conversation and then manage the results. They tying in “old-school” search engine optimization with fresh ideas and strategies.