Click Fraud Rate Up, Botnets Blamed

    July 23, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Criminals who automate their way to profit at the expense of pay per click advertisers likely drove an increase in illicit clicks in Q2 2008.

The second quarter of 2008 saw a tiny decline from the previous quarter, with the click fraud rate cited by the Click Fraud Index maintained by Click Forensics dropping to 16.2 percent from the prior 16.3 percent.

Their report said the average click fraud rate of PPC advertisements appearing on search engine content networks, including Google AdSense and the Yahoo Publisher Network, was 27.6 percent during the quarter.

Botnets appear to have had a hand in this activity. Click Forensics said more than 25 percent of all click fraud traffic for the quarter came from those networks of compromised computers, the first time it has been that high.

“Although click fraud rates were relatively unchanged in the second quarter, we found that the methods used to commit click fraud have become increasingly more sophisticated and difficult to detect,” Click Forensics president Tom Cuthbert said in the report.

Click Forensics also highlighted a bit of Google’s recent discussion of its recent earnings report, which included a slight miss in earnings expected by analysts. Google may rein in some of its efforts at improving traffic quality, claiming they may have been “more aggressive” than needed.