The Click Fraud or click fraud refers to the generation of clicks with malicious or fraudulent intent, for example, artificial clicks on advertising banners without purchasing intent. The goal is to increase your own revenue through banner advertising or push your competitors' budgets to the point where their banners are no longer showing.
- Manual clicking.
- Click farms. Individuals commit to manually clicking the banners.
- Pay per click sites. (Pyramid schemes created by the editors).
- Clicking Robots - software to generate automatic clicks.
- Botnets. Computers taken with hijacking, which can be used by click robots.
- There are different targets for click fraud. Depending on the type of affiliate marketing, advertising banners on the Internet are compensated differently. Certain forms encourage click fraud.
- Harm the competition: With cost per click (CPC), the advertiser pays a certain amount for each click on their ad. With Google AdWords, the advertiser can specify the maximum expenses for the ads. As soon as this financial limit is reached, no more ads will be placed. This is exploited in click fraud. Contest announcements are clicked automatically, so the maximum budget is met more quickly. As a result, competitor ads disappear more quickly.
- Advantage for yourself: It is feasible to place ad banners on any page of other sites. The web portal operator is paid for each click on the banner, which is the basis of click fraud. For example, a special page is created for advertising purposes only. If the banners are clicked automatically, the operator artificially increases his earnings.
Click fraud costs Google more than a billion dollars a year. The fraud decreases the quality of the ad network. If the total number of clicks is associated with the number of clicks that simply lead to a purchase, the various useless clicks damage the value of the ad. Search engines earn less on the ad, and the loss of value hurts the market leader, Google the most. Confidence in this business promotion dynamic is also affected.
The trade promotion company is also financially damaged. Especially with small companies with limited business promotion budgets, click fraud can do a lot of damage. Here the damage is generated by the fact that the ad disappears prematurely because the maximum amount was artificially reached. Commercial promotion, in this way, costs the company money, without generating new customers.
Google has developed methods to detect click fraud and does not charge for fraudulent clicks detected. According to Google, a three-step system is used to detect click fraud.
- Step 1: Each click is checked automatically by filters. Certain constellations of time, date, and IP address are indications of fraudulent clicks.
- Step 2: The visible clicks from Step 1 are examined more closely in an equivalent computer analysis, but also manually, to establish whether they could have been "real".
- Step 3: This step is used when an advertiser is concerned that clicks on their banner ads may not be indicating real interest. In the event that Google considers that these claims are correct, the affected person will be compensated.
Click fraud can be very obvious if, for example, the Google Adwords bill in one month is significantly above the average of the last few months.
There are special companies that have dedicated themselves to uncovering click fraud. They can track ads and assess clicks more closely.