Google & Click Forensics Face-off

    September 24, 2007

A couple of weeks ago we reported Google’s Shuman Ghosemajumder had attacked Click Forensics latest click fraud report.

Forbes has now taken Shuman’s criticisms and given Click Forensics Chief Executive Tom Cuthbert the opportunity to respond.

Here’s a snippet…

Are your estimates inflated by “fictitious clicks”–clicks that Google doesn’t count?

…All of our data is also based on Google Click ID, and Shuman knows that. He may be correct about other auditors in this space, but what he’s said and the way he said it is misleading.

How do you handle “click-backs,” situations in which a user reloads an advertisement’s landing page? Do you and other auditors count the page’s reloading as another click on the ad?

Absolutely not. Using Google Click ID prevents us from counting click-backs, and even when we have analyzed the number of click-backs compared to the overall problem of click fraud, it’s a very small percentage. Regardless, using Click IDs and other methodologies means there are no fictitious clicks in our data.

If I sound somewhat aggravated, it’s because I am. Shuman knows very well that we use Google Click ID. But he has a tendency to talk about fictitious clicks and then bring up our name to try to link us with that, even though he knows it’s not true. We’re a bit frustrated with that.

Forbes then went back to Shuman…

Shuman Ghosemajumder responded to Cuthbert’s comments by noting that while Click Forensics’ use of Google Click ID is encouraging, the auditor’s numbers were likely skewed by inaccuracies in how it counts fictitious clicks on Microsoft’s and Yahoo!’s network. He repeated his assertion that Click Forensics has access to only a tiny fraction–about 1%–of the data that Google uses to analyze click fraud, and again underscored that Google has no incentive to allow fraudulent clicks.

Can you figure out who’s telling the truth?