Grad Student Gets Grant to Study Click Fraud

    January 2, 2007

University of Louisville graduate student, Li Ge, has been awarded a $149,923 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to engage in research regarding data mining and click-fraud detection.

As a die-hard University of Kentucky fan (Go Cats!), it’s hard for me to encourage anything going on at the University of Louisville, dubbed around these parts as the “Evil Empire to the West.”

This bit of news, however, is something I can get behind. There’s been so much debate throughout the blogosphere and SEO community concerning the actual threat that click fraud represents to SEM practices. Unfortunately, there is no tried-and-true method of click fraud detection to gauge such results.

But wait, back up. What exactly is click fraud?

From Wikipedia:

“Click fraud occurs in pay per click online advertising when a person, automated script, or computer program imitates a legitimate user of a web browser clicking on an ad, for the purpose of generating a charge per click without having actual interest in the target of the ad’s link. Click fraud is the subject of some controversy and increasing litigation due to the advertising networks being a key beneficiary of the fraud whether they like it or not.”

I’m not one to accept what Wikipedia says as gospel truth, but in this case the definition seems pretty accurate.

Li Ge’s project, the “Collaborative Click Fraud Detection and Prevention System” has been in development since May 2005. The system is designed to track actual, real-time user behavior in efforts to detect fraudulent clicks. His research grant will cover research expenses until December of 2007.

According to an Adotas article about the award, “Depending on the future results of Ge’s research, he may be eligible for a Phase II grant worth up to $750,000.”

While you won’t see me wearing a Louisville Cardinals sweatshirt anytime soon, I will at least pull for Ge’s research to shed more light into the murky waters of click fraud detection.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.