Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Click Fraud Insider

An interesting story of click fraud insiders is told here and is analyzed here. The original emails sent internally at are published here.

It seems no surprise to us that this type of thing is happening. It can definitely be viewed as a fox watching the hen house type relationship, but advertisers need qualified traffic and publishers need to pay their bills. Not much getting around that!

So how do you fight this type of attack? We're not totally sure.

You ultimately have to trust the advertising platform that you put your money into. Running millions of ad clicks per month is not an easy dataset to analyze or parse through, and in some cases even deciding what a conversion is for your site can be tricky (think large brands: is a conversion a Facebook Like? Is it a form someone filled out? Real money being spent?). These are not easy problems, and we definitely think it's not something can be totally solved by a pure software solution. The key is to be able to drill down into a subset of your traffic, and look at emerging patterns, not at overall site metrics (like click through rates, etc.).

I hopped onto and took a peek at their ads (no I didn't click on any). They all appeared to be routed through Google's DoubleClick. Now the interesting bit is whether Google utilizes the same click fraud techniques on their DoubleClick platform as they do AdWords.

If so, I would be interested to see a snapshot of what they tracked for invalid clicks 10 days prior to the internal memos being sent all the way up to the point when it went public and the editors were suspended.

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