High-Priced Keyword Click Fraud Rises

    July 17, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Analysis firm Click Forensics recently released their Q2 2006 figures for their Click Fraud Index and found a not-so-little surprise in the numbers.

High-Priced Keyword Click Fraud Rises
Click Fraud On High-End Keywords Increases

The Click Fraud Index did something a little different with its second-quarter report on click fraud, as tracked by the over 1,300 advertisers and agencies participating in Click Forensic’s research. They split out the click fraud rate for higher-priced search terms, priced at $2 and higher.

Overall, their research for the period found that industry-wide click fraud had increased. The first-quarter figure of 13.7 percent was outpaced by the second-quarter’s rate of 14.1 percent.

Breaking out the higher-priced keywords showed an even higher increase. Companies participating in the index reported click fraud at a 20.2 percent clip for those keywords, which frequently comprise the bulk of an advertiser’s spend.

“For the first time, we have industry data that clearly shows what many have expected – organizations purchasing higher-priced search terms are significantly more vulnerable to click fraud,” said Tom Cuthbert, president and CEO of Click Forensics, in a statement.

The top key terms averaged $4.51 across what Click Forensics identified as the top five search advertising industries: Retail, Financial Services, Health & Fitness, Technology, and Entertainment. That was down from $4.75 in the first quarter of 2006.

Rates of click fraud increase dramatically the farther one gets away from Google and Yahoo for search advertising. Click Forensics identifies that duo as Tier 1 search providers. For the second quarter, the click fraud percentage of 12.8 for Tier 1 providers was a little higher than the 12.1 percent reported in the prior quarter.

Tier 2 search providers (Ask, MSN, Lycos, and others) had a click fraud rate of 20.3 percent, while Tier 3 ones (niche sites like Dogpile) racked up 27.1 percent for the second quarter. Both figures were lower than their first quarter percentages of 21.3 and 29.8, respectively.

Over 88 percent of click fraud takes place from within the US and Canada, the report noted. Outside the US, India led all other nations with unwanted click activity rising 26 percent during the quarter.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.