Google: Fake Clicks, Real Headaches

This from Web Pro News today…”Click fraud is the term used in the Internet search industry to describe the practice of clicking on search advertisements to run up the costs on advertisers.

Companies buy an advertisement through Google’s AdWords program, whereby certain keywords are purchased in order to appear in the sponsored links section of the search engine’s results page.

Advertisers bid upon the search terms with the top spot going to the top bidder. Once the advertisement is in place, advertisers pay a fee to the search engine each time the ad is clicked by a searcher.

Click fraud, estimated by some to be as high as 20% of all clicks, is caused by those with a vested interest using software that clicks on the ad hundreds or thousands of times to either drain the advertising budget of a rival company, or create revenue for the seller of the ad space.

Colorado-based Click Defense, a company that specializing in procuring rebates for advertisers, says the average cost per click is 50 cents, but prime search engine real estate can go for as much as $100. Disputing the 20% estimations, Click Defense alleges that click fraud on Google is as high as 38%.