Traffick - The Business of Search Engines & Web Portals
Blog Categories (aka Tags) Archive of Traffick Articles Our Internet Marketing Consulting Services Contact the Traffickers Traffick RSS Feed

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Post Coverage of Click Fraud: Kicking it Down a Notch

For some odd reason, I expected the Washington Post to improve its coverage of the search engine industry. Nope. It seems to have gotten worse.

Sara Goo picks up the click fraud topic with this helpful effort:

Maybe I should back up here. What is click fraud and why should you care? Google makes money every time people click on the "sponsored links" places next to search results, which are really text ads paid for by advertisers.

Wow, oh wow. It appears we'll have to get ready for every article for the next five years being mostly taken over by the boilerplate "here is what a search engine is" preface, so readers never actually get to learn anything. Hard to blame the author here. Her editors made her do it.

These ads appear not only next to search results but also as text ads that Google places on blogs or other Web sites, labeled "Ads by Google." (I never click on these ads but apparently, a lot of people do because it provides Google with a significant chuck of its revenue.)



Indeed, a significant chuck. Like 97% of $11 billion per year. Sara Goo, are you trying to rile me up with that old "I never click on the ads" thing? Hey guess what Sara: I never buy anything from the advertisers who put their ads in the Washington Post! Tit for tat! The "I never click on the ads" gambit is fine and expected from the average person in cocktail party conversation, but you're a tech journalist so it seems disingenuous to my ears.

Each time someone clicks on the ads, the advertiser pays Google and the Web site displaying the ad. But fraud occurs when people repeatedly click on ads with no intention of really viewing the ad; rather, they want to drive up the cost for the advertiser and increase revenue for the Web site owner. It's more sophisticated than it seems. People create sophisticated "click robots" to make it look like authetic clicking when it's really not. People have also created networks of clickers, or people paid to click on ads to evade Google's click fraud filters.

It's an industry-wide problem--not just for Google--and one that has been compared to the days before newspapers and television had any accountability to advertisers to reveal true numbres of how many readers or viewers they were delivering to advertisers. Similarly for the online advertisers, there is no independent organization now monitoring how many clicks are fraudulent and many advertisers don't have the technology to know the difference.

Still clinging to "wild West" mythology vis-a-vis the Internet? Claiming that newspapers and television are bastions of accountability? It's getting hard to take this. Well, at least you're making it plain why we won't be seeing fair and balanced coverage from you anytime soon.

Also, you made a second major spelling error.

And finally, I'm resentful because you just have the word "Goo" under your photo. I'm Goo. It's been my nickname since university.

Anyway, the rest of your piece is pretty OK, but I see we're always in jeopardy of sliding back into old-media-vs.-new-media rhetoric. It will be good to see some independent auditing of clicks, and wait a minute, did I hear you say it's Google's competitors (other than perhaps Microsoft) who would be in more trouble if that happened? Google stands to lose a lot less from independent auditing of clicks precisely because a much lower proportion of fraudulent clicks are being charged to advertisers. In any case, all of the top four firms can afford to "step up" to allow more scrutiny of clicks by third parties, and I look forward to the day. Financially, it will hurt Yahoo and Ask the most.

FOLLOWUP: Google has now posted an extensive report on the Inside AdWords blog.

Labels:

Posted by Andrew Goodman




View Posts by Category

 

Speaking Engagement

I am speaking at SMX East

Need Solid Advice?        

Google AdWords book


Andrew's book, Winning Results With Google AdWords, (McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed.), is still helping tens of thousands of advertisers cut through the noise and set a solid course for campaign ROI.

And for a glowing review of the pioneering 1st ed. of the book, check out this review, by none other than Google's Matt Cutts.


Posts from 2002 to 2010


07/2002
08/2002
09/2002
10/2002
11/2002
12/2002
01/2003
02/2003
03/2003
04/2003
05/2003
06/2003
07/2003
08/2003
09/2003
10/2003
11/2003
12/2003
01/2004
02/2004
03/2004
04/2004
05/2004
06/2004
07/2004
08/2004
09/2004
10/2004
11/2004
12/2004
01/2005
02/2005
03/2005
04/2005
05/2005
06/2005
07/2005
08/2005
09/2005
10/2005
11/2005
12/2005
01/2006
02/2006
03/2006
04/2006
05/2006
06/2006
07/2006
08/2006
09/2006
10/2006
11/2006
12/2006
01/2007
02/2007
03/2007
04/2007
05/2007
06/2007
07/2007
08/2007
09/2007
10/2007
11/2007
12/2007
01/2008
02/2008
03/2008
04/2008
05/2008
06/2008
07/2008
08/2008
09/2008
10/2008
11/2008
12/2008
01/2009
02/2009
03/2009
04/2009
05/2009
06/2009
07/2009
08/2009
09/2009
10/2009
11/2009
12/2009
01/2010
02/2010
03/2010
04/2010

Recent Posts


Google Releasing More Info About Click Fraud

MSN AdCenter Canada Launch: Where's Barry?

This Echo Chamber Goes to 12 (Because 11's So Over...

Seth on Contextual Ad Targeting

Contextual Ad Transparency Coming: Google's Malone...

The Searchability of Everything: Google Earth and ...

Culture Shock in Comic Form

Skype: You, Too, Are Effing Up

Yahoo Mail: Mapping Obsession

Cutts Causes Polite Scrum in UK

 


Traffick - The Business of Search Engines & Web Portals

 


Home | Categories | Archive | About Us | Internet Marketing Consulting | Contact Us
© 1999 - 2013 Traffick.com. All Rights Reserved