Google steps up click fraud war

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Google steps up click fraud war

Advertisers allowed to build IP blacklists.

Google plans to introduce a new service to its AdWords advertisement management service that allows them to choose which users can't see their ads.

The service is slated for availability by April. It will allow advertisers to further combat click fraud, a phenomenon in which website operators click on the advertisements on their own websites to boost their revenues, or when companies click on online ads for their competitors to depleted their marketing budgets.

Controlling who is presented with the advertisements allows a company to prevent them from being presented to competitors.

Click fraud is considered the Achilles heel of pay-per-click advertising plans. Because when advertisers are no longer able to rely on the accuracy of the billing system, they are likely to lose faith in pay-per-click ads.

"Ultimately, the biggest benefit of the pay-per-click advertising model is that advertisers can measure the performance of their campaigns extremely accurately, and thus the most important metric that both our advertisers and Google are focused on is providing the best possible return on investment," the company stated on a company blog. 

Google claims that less than 10 percent of all clicks on its ads are fraudulent, representing roughly US$100m in annual advertising fees that aren't invoiced. The company is able to filter out most of those clicks through automated filters and does pro-active analyses to weed out any additional false clicks.

Advertisers furthermore can report clicks that they believe have slipped through the filtering system. Google claims that clicks that are detected this way represent less than 0.02 percent of all clicks, or US$200,000 per year.

The Internet Advertising Agency (IAB) is currently working on setting industry standards on click fraud to provide industry wide definitions of what comprises a fraudulent click. The group's representatives include Ask.com, MSN Search and Yahoo!
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