Friday, 6 July 2012

Mobile Click Fraud - Not So Fast...

After reading this article, I support most of what he is saying. Take some proactive steps to identify some potential fraudsters and mainly know your website, and know your visitors! This is one thing when dealing with regular users (and by regular I mean one user per IP address in our perfect world), this is fine and dandy, but not so with mobile.

And really this is where lots of click fraud companies, and advertising platforms have failed. Let's take an excerpt from the article:

Massive clicks in a short amount of time from a single IP address: Clickbots or pieces of software designed to generate huge volumes of traffic can sabotage results and can be flagged as potential sources of click fraud. This activity can also be suspicious if large amounts of clicks are originating from a single physical location.

So Many People So Little IP's

We've seen in the past that Google had taken a stand on this type of analysis. It is exceedingly difficult to pin down a user based solely on IP address. Even if they are not behind a router or firewall that performs NAT you can't simply assume that their IP address identifies them uniquely. This is why click fraud analysis is very, very hard to do in a fully automated fashion and exceedingly difficult for analyzing mobile visitors.

All mobile phones pass through a proxy at some point, and you can have hundreds or thousands of phones all coming through the same proxy, alas and the same IP address. So you could easily have a large volume of clicks from one IP in a short time span, which might be an anomaly but really not malicious traffic.

Hold the Phone!

So don't go hitting the AdWord IP Exclusion Tool just yet. Dig into your analytics a bit more, and in a future post we'll show you some quick tests you can do to determine whether you're looking at a mobile proxy or a bad actor, and some strategies to deal with it.

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