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Click-Fraud Rates On the Rise

Despite efforts to stop pay-per-click fraud, the industry average continued to rise last year, up 15 percent over 2006.Pay-per-click is a popular online advertising model in which an advertiser pays only when a prospective customer clicks on an ad to visit its Web sites. Sounds good in theory, but invalid clicks coming from botnets, for example, has the potential to deplete an SMB's online marketing budget.

"Fraudsters are using more sophisticated means to perpetrate click fraud, including infiltrating mom-and-pop e-commerce sites," said Tom Cuthbert, president and CEO of Austin, Texas-based Click Forensics, which publishes the quarterly Click Fraud Index. "As a result it's more important than ever before for advertisers, publishers, ad networks and search engines to cooperate and share data in order to stem what?s on target to be an even worse problem in 2008."

Findings for Q4 2007 include:

  • The click-fraud rate rose to 16.6 percent, up 14.2 percent year-over-year.
  • The click-fraud rate for content networks, such as Google AdSense and the Yahoo Publisher Network, grew to 28.3 percent for Q4 2007, up 19.2 percent year-over-year.
  • Click-fraud traffic from botnets was 15 percent higher than Q3 2007.
  • Click Forensics