Pay Per Click Advertising and Click Fraud
You have set up a carefully planned pay per click advertising campaign with well chosen keywords and a budget that is providing an obvious cost
benefit for your online sales. Suddenly, out of the blue it has all fallen apart. Your click troughs' have increased to the roof, your conversion rate has
fallen through the floor and your pay to click budget has been spent. It looks as if you might be the victim of one of the recent web scams: click fraud.
Every crime has victims and beneficiaries. Click fraud has one victim, your good self the pay par click advertiser, but is has two beneficiaries. The first
beneficiary is the perpetrator of the crime. This could be either a competitor of yours who is attempting to destroy your advertising campaign and
possibly your business, or it could be someone who benefits directly either financially or in some other way by arranging for your advertisement to be
The second beneficiary is the provider of the pay per click service, the search engine organization. This is a tricky subject and highly controversial. The
search engine company is making money out of cyber crime. Apart from the ethics of the situation it is a very tricky legal issue; there have been
several high profile court cases dealing with this and involving settlements of up to $90 million.
Click fraud may be nothing more than a little clicking on ads hosted by friends in order to generate a little revenue, or it may be a large scale scam run
by organised criminals. The search engines do not want to get burned for another $90 million dollars so nowadays they are highly vigilant in their
efforts to detect it. In fact they are quite willing to remove publishers from their programmes for nothing more than a few (possibly accidental)
Like all these things it is a cat and mouse game, the better the search engines get at detecting click fraud, the better the criminals get at avoiding
detection. If a victim can provide reasonable evidence to a search engine company, such as a sudden change in click through rates and conversion
ratios, then they are likely to receive a sympathetic hearing.
Click fraud is an issue that people should be aware of but it is certainly not a show stopper. Despite its problems pay per click advertising it the most
economical online marketing model that is available.
About the Author
Jack Greenhouse writes for Market Defender