Fear of Click Fraud is Back

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Steve Rubel points to a new BusinessWeek investigation into Click Fraud. You can read the full article here. I wrote about this back in July in my post Click Fraud Could Spoil the Internet Advertising Party. I think many of the concerns I highlighted back then, still ring true.

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I’m an advertiser. I think I’m like most in our industry. I have a limited budget and I want to make sure that what few dollars I have are well spent.

I’ve done a lot of research into online advertising recently and have recommended we re-allocate a large chunk of our print dollars into online spending over the coming year. But I’m nervous and I want to make sure I’m getting the best value for our ad buys.

I’m definitely concerned about the possibility of my ad dollars being wasted on competitors, clickbots or “paid to read” farms clicking my ads and draining my monthly budget. When you read that about 10-15% of ad clicks are fake, this is more than enough reason to get antsy.

I like to think Yahoo and Google take this problem seriously. But as BusinessWeek points out, the search engines have an incentive to tolerate it. So the problem likely won’t go away soon.

Am I being overly cautious? Is the media blowing this out of proportion? Do the benefits outweigh the risks? These are some of the questions I’m asking myself right now.

In any case, it looks like the click fraud storm, which looked like it had died down for a while, may be brewing again.