E-Commerce Times Talkback
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Click fraud is a growing problem for online advertisers who rely on paid search services. Marketing experts are urging e-commerce vendors have to take proactive steps to combat it. Online advertisers pay the search engine company hosting their ad a set amount of money each time a computer user clicks on the ad. Click fraud occurs when an individual or group of people, either manually or through a computer program, repeatedly clicks on an ad to inflate the payment owed the publishers.
The problem is that when you report such fraud to Yahoo, they deny it's fraud. Somehow, a non-name web site is able to generate immediate clicks at a rate faster than Yahoo, Google and MSN combined from their own search site, but they are legitimate. Have you ever searched on goo.us.com? Probably not, but somehow they could generate 50 clicks in a two hour window while getting 1 click from the major search engines combined.
And when you check out goo.us.com, all it has is Yahoo paid advertisers, nothing else. That's a site that's sure to draw big crowds (of click fraudsters, maybe)!
If you are not the top bidder, you'd get very few clicks, but as the top bidder, you'd immediately get lots. But that's not click fraud, that's just because such a no-name site is so good at advertising for us, despite getting no sales.
We had to essentially turn off all Yahoo advertising because they have no way to limit advertisements to only appear on their search site, so you have to get all those rogue sites if you want them at all.
Google is good because you can limit yourself to just their web site searches.
MSN is also good because it only works from their search (so far anyway).
Yahoo approves of click fraud because they make money from it, and if you challenge them, they just deny it. What can you do? Nothing but stop advertising with them, which is precisely what we did. Fortunately, most of our customers come from Google anyway, and MSN is still way in the back in terms of driving business.