All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Click Fraud’

ComScore Buys MdotLabs To Battle Non-Human Traffic

ComScore has acquired MdotLabs in a move aimed at battling fraud in online advertising, or as the company puts it, to “augment its non-human traffic detection methods.” MdotLabs specifically uses its technology to identify bots, click farms, pay-per-view networks, and various other fake traffic generation techniques. Its methodologies for doing this include signal processing, statistics, machine learning, and applied math. …

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Click Fraud Falls In Q4 2010

The overall click fraud rate in Q4 2010 was 19.1 percent which was lower than the Q3 2010 all-time high of 22.3 percent, but higher than the 15.3 percent rate for Q4 2009, according to the latest report from Click Forensics.

Click Forensics Malware Lab identified a new malware scheme targeting display banner ads. The program performs a pop-up or pop-under and rotates brand advertisers’ banner ads every 10-15 min in an effort to boost impression figures.


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Attempted Click Fraud Rate Surges In Q1

In the first quarter of 2010 the average attempted click fraud rate increased from 25.7 percent in Q4 2009 to 29. 2 percent in Q1 2010, representing a 34 percent year-over-year increase from Q1 2009, according to a new report from Anchor Intelligence.

Anchor Intelligence told WebProNews the record attempted click fraud rate can be attributed to dramatic growth in botnet scale and volume around the globe.

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Click Fraud Rate Spikes In Q4

The average attempted click fraud rate increased from 18.6 percent in the third quarter of 2009, to 25.7 percent in the fourth quarter according to a new report from Anchor Intelligence.

The jump in the attempted click fraud rate in Q4 was due to more activity by click fraudsters looking to take advantage of the increase in holiday ad spend online. The spread of botnets, which are used for automating traffic and coordinating click fraud activity, spiked late in the quarter.

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Google PPC Click Fraud Getting Harder to Detect

Perpetrators of click fraud are getting sneakier and sneakier. Harvard Business School professor Ben Edelman has uncovered one of the more diabolical click fraud schemes known to be hatched. As he summarizes it:

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Botnets Driving Click fraud Traffic

There was a significant jump in click fraud traffic from botnets in the third quarter of 2009, according to the latest data from Click Forensics.

Click Forensics told WebProNews that the amount of click fraud traffic from botnets generally hovers around 33 percent, and it believes the sudden rise may be to due to the increasing sophistication and proliferation of botnets.

Botnets accounted for 42.6 percent of all click fraud in Q3 2009, more than doubling in the past two years and up from the 27.5 percent reported for the same quarter last year.

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Massive Click Fraud Ring Shut Down

One of the largest click fraud rings ever detected, originating from China, has been shut down by click fraud monitoring firm Anchor Intelligence.

"This is really the first time anyone has ever been able to catch click fraudsters ‘in the act.’ Anchor has identified fraudsters down to the publisher site, IPs used (likely via botnets), and even the names and address of some perpetrators," an Anchor spokesperson told WebProNews. 

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Milestone Said to Be Reached in War on Click Fraud

The Interactive Advertising Bureau announced that a significant milestone has been reached in the "war on click fraud." In May, the organization released its Click Measurement Guidelines, and some of the top media companies have already passed the IAB’s audits.

These companies include Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, as well as When we think click fraud, the major search engines tend to come to mind, but that is still not the entire picture, obviously.

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New Tool Aims To Fight Click Fraud

Click Forensics has introduced a new tool to help marketers combat click fraud.

The new tool is called "Block List" which provides ad networks with a continually updated list of visitor IP addresses and publishers known to generate online click fraud. Block List can be used with the Click Forensics platform to block invalid traffic and to shift  advertsing dollars to other sources that offer better results.

The Block List tool could help marketers reduce the rate of click fraud between 15 to 25 percent according to Click Forensics.

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Facebook Gets Double Dose of Legal Issues

Facebook is currently involved in a couple of separate lawsuits. One of them involves click fraud and the other involves data portability.

The Click Fraud Suit

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Facebook Click Fraud Jumps

There have been numerous complaints from Facebook advertisers about click fraud, which has apparently been ramped up in recent days. Facebook has acknowledged the issue and claims to be doing something about it.

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Microsoft Sues Alleged Click Fraudsters

Reuters and the Wall Street Journal are both reporting that Microsoft is suing three people, accusing them of click fraud. The company apparently filed a complaint on Monday in a US federal Court in Seattle.

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IAB Rolls Out Click Measurement Guidelines

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced today the release of its Click Measurement Guidelines aimed at establishing accurate buying and selling of cost-per-click advertising.

The guidelines are supported by key industry stakeholders, provide a strong framework for identifying and discarding fraudulent clicks.

The Click Measurement Guidelines:

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Click Fraud Rate Declines In Q1

Click fraud declined in the first quarter of 2009 to 13.8 percent, according to Click Forensics’ Click Fraud Index.

That’s down from the all-time high of 17.1 percent reported for the fourth quarter of 2008 and from the 16.3 percent rate reported for the first quarter of 2008.

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Ask Makes Move to Cut Click Fraud has tapped Anchor Intelligence and will use its ClearMark software to score all of its paid search clicks.

The goal of Ask’s partnership with Anchor Intelligence is to protect its advertisers and partners from paying for fraudulent clicks.


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Companies Collaborate to Define Clicks

Interactive Advertising BureauThe Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has announced the release of Click Measurement Guidelines, a document establishing parameters for buying and selling cost-per-click (CPC) adver

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Click Fraud Reaches Record Level

Click Forensics has released its latest figures on click fraud for the fourth quarter and says it has jumped to the highest level since 2006.

The overall industry average click fraud rate grew 17.1 percent for the fourth quarter of 2008. That’s up from 16.0 percent in Q3 2008 and from 16.6 percent for Q4 2007.

The average click fraud rate of PPC ads appearing on search engine content networks, including Google AdSense and the Yahoo Publisher Network, was 28.2 percent. That’s up from 27.1 percent rate reported for Q3 2008 and down slightly from 28.3 percent for Q4 2007.

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How Google Detects Click Fraud

Even as we approach the end of 2008, click fraud is still something that needs to be dealt with in the search engine advertising industry. Google takes a number of precautions to keep it under control though.

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How Search Engines Manage Click Fraud

In the session "Search Engines on Auditing" the speakers discussed how search engines handle auditing concerns.

Richard Zwicky, Founder & CEO, Enquisite, discussed auditing issues with PPC and how they try to figure out what went wrong.
Analytics ecosystem:






Ways ad networks protect you:

Invalid/discounted clicks

Real time behavior analysis

Proactive filtering

Over-time analysis

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Son of Click Fraud: Cookie Stuffing

A phrase like “cookie stuffing” sounds like it could have only pleasant connotations: Cookie Monster cookie-stuffing his face; ice cream with cookie stuffing; the cream between Oreos. Leave it to a lawyer to run that for everybody.

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Google: You’re Not Saving the Rain Forests That Way!

ForestleForestle is a search engine built on Google Custom Search, with the goal of saving the Rain Forests. That seems like a noble enough cause.

Their methods of going about this, however, have gotten the site’s search functionality revoked by Google. When you try to perform a search on Forestle, you get a big pink box with a message from the Forestle team. The message goes:

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Know Your Clicks, Google Says

Advertising clients who feed Google’s revenue machine may not always know the difference between an illicit click and one that’s outright fraudulent. Google wants them to understand which is which.

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Click Fraud Rate Up, Botnets Blamed

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.

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Citysearch Accused Of Encouraging Click Fraud

IAC’s picked up a lawsuit accusing it of ignoring and even helping to generate illicit clicks on ads placed on the local search site.

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Click Fraud Takes A Break

Figures from Click Forensics showed a decline in click fraud rates for the first quarter of 2008, although they were higher year over year.

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Yahoo Slapped With Million Dollar Click Fraud Suit

Collectibles site filed against Yahoo over alleged click fraud that happened between 2002 and 2006.

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Logfiles – Google’s Click Fraud Fighting Ally

The third in a series of We Heart Log Data posts from Google brings back an old friend and a controversial topic.

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Yahoo Partners With Click Forensics

Yahoo has partnered with third party click-tracking firm Click Forensics to combat click fraud.

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Click Forensics Says Fraud Is Up (Again)

The latest Click Forensics report has arrived, and the company’s data doesn’t look at all encouraging; it states that the overall industry average click fraud rate in 2007’s fourth quarter was 16.6 percent.

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Ask Settles Click Fraud Suit

Advertisers who purchased advertising from IAC or Ask between August 2005 and the present are eligible for reimbursement due to a click fraud settlement between Ask and Lane’s Gifts and Collectibles.

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Click Fraud Thriving On the Web

Click Forensics has released its pay-per-click (PPC) fraud numbers for the third quarter of 2007.

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SES: Search Engines Talk Click Fraud

At SES San Jose, representatives from the big four search engines talked about the persistent threat of click fraud, and how they are fighting back to protect their advertisers.

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SES San Jose Separates Click Fraud Discussions

The lively and attention-getting click fraud session at SES San Jose has been split in half, as the four major search engines will not share a stage with third-party marketers and click analysis firms.

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Google Opens Traffic Quality Center

Google’s debut of the Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center closely follows the arrival of a similar service from Yahoo.

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Yahoo Opens Traffic Quality Center

Click fraud and its related issues form the focal point for a newly-opened point of reference at Yahoo Search Marketing.

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Google To Offer AdWords Phone Bill?

Google may provide "phone bill-like" documents for its AdWords customers, in some way itemizing clicks for advertisers to make it easier for them to gauge the level of click fraud present on their accounts.

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The Shifting Sands Of Click Fraud

No one debates the existence of those who would perpetrate click fraud on advertisers for financial gain. Gaining a better idea of the scope of the problem has been harder than pinning sand to a wall.

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Click Fraud Up In Second Quarter

Click Forensics has released pay-per-click (PPC) fraud figures for the second quarter of 2007.

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AdWatcher Seeking Advertisers For Fair Isaac

The entry of Fair Isaac into the click fraud venue spurred a lot of debate with the arrival of their preliminary report. Fair Isaac will try expanding the data with the help of click fraud detection firm AdWatcher.

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Google Responds To Fair Isaac Claims

The early results of a click fraud study by Fair Isaac found advertisers being charged for illicit clicks, at a far higher rate than search engines like Google claim takes place.

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Lies, Damn Lies & Click Fraud Stats

Fair Isaac Corporation (FIC), a company with years of experience detecting fraud, recently turned their sights on click fraud.  FIC, who in the past has dealt with credit and insurance fraud, issued a press release with some early findings.  They report click fraud rates in the range of 10 to 15 percent.  But wait, it gets better…

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Click Fraud Unbeatable Without Advertiser Data

Joseph Milana, chief scientist at Fair Isaac, discussed the early results of his company’s click fraud study in an exclusive chat with WebProNews.

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Click Fraud Higher than Search Engines Suggest

Fair Isaac is dipping its toe in the click fraud tracking waters, with the release of its own study into fraudulent search engine clicks.

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Fair Isaac Enters Click Fraud Debate

A study of click fraud by Fair Isaac found 10 to 15 percent of ad traffic is “pathological,” and is more of a problem than companies like Google and Yahoo want to admit.

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Shuman: Google’s Down With CQC

The eight principles the Click Quality Council would like to see search engines adhere to in improving PPC quality; Google’s cool with all of them.

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Eight Principles Of Click Quality

The Click Quality Council has released a list of eight principles they believe should act as a blueprint for creating industry-wide click quality.

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SES – Ghosemajumder Discusses Click Fraud

At the 2007 SES New York, Google’s Shuman Ghosemajumder responds to the question: (abbreviated) "How is it possible for Google to identify click fraud when an aggressor utilizes rotating proxies?". Shuman responds by discussing the Clickbot A botnet case and how Google deciphered the click fraud in that situation. This video was taken during the "Auditing Paid Listings and Click Fraud Issues" seminar that took place on April 12, 2007.

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Yahoo Click Fraud Settlement Approved

This week a San Jose federal judge approved a settlement in the class action click fraud suit brought against Yahoo from several advertisers looking to recuperate $5 million in legal fees and credits for fraudulent clicks that date back nearly three years.

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Yahoo Acknowledges Illicit Clicks Exist

The company has made its first ever disclosure on the clicks it discards, numbering between 12 and 15 percent of the ones it receives as either "invalid or of inferior quality.

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Click Fraud and Web Analytics

Gord Hotchkiss recently wrote an excellent article for Media Post’s SearchInsider explaining click fraud from Google

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AdWatcher – Click Fraud Detection, ROI Tracking

AdWatcher is an all-in-one tool that monitors your ad campaigns for fraudulent activity, helps you track your Return on Investment (ROI), and manages your online advertising from one place.

Boris Mordkovich, Co-Founder and Director of Operations at MordComm, the company that develops Adwatcher, kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions:

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Google On Click Fraud

Detected click fraud that must be refunded to advertisers occupies a minuscule bit of all the clicks on ads run by Google’s clients.

Let the click fraud debate begin again. Google has put a number to the click fraud it misses and must reimburse to its AdWords clients. It’s a teeny tiny number: 0.02 percent.

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Evaluating Ad Impression Metrics

Click fraud, along with other methods of generated false or inflating statistics concerning ad impressions, has been the subject of much debate throughout the industry. Some reports indicate that fraud is rampant throughout the online advertising realm, while other statistics suggest that click fraud and other shady practices aren’t as prevalent.

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Click Forensics Battles Back Against Google Claims

After Shuman Ghosemajumder posted a pair of blog entries attacking the click fraud assessments and methodologies of companies like Click Forensics, that company’s CEO Tom Cuthbert and a couple of other executives took to the blogosphere to respond.

Believe it or not (and you might not believe it), Cuthbert and Ghosemajumder are not strangers peeking over the tops of opposing trenches, tossing mustard gas and grenades at each other in a virtual sense.

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Googler Fires Back At Click Fraud Report

Shuman Ghosemajumder dedicated two blog posts to blasting ClickForensics and its latest assessment of click fraud taking place in the pay per click industry.

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Why We Can’t Trust Click Fraud Numbers

Back in December, I caused a little bit of a ruckus when I posted information from Google that suggested click fraud rates were a fraction of a percent.

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Content Network Click Fraud Tops 19 Percent

The measurement of click fraud by Click Forensics said pay per click (PPC) fraud hit 19.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006 across search engine content networks, while the overall industry average reached 14.2 percent.

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Grad Student Gets Grant to Study Click Fraud

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.

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Causing a Stir with Google Click Fraud Report

It seems like the conversation I started about Google’s click fraud rate, has rolled down the hill and picked up some momentum.

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More than One Side to the Click Fraud Story

The votes are in, and a sizeable percentage of commenters appear to believe that Andy Beal’s exclusive on Google’s click fraud detection process is just telling one side of the story.

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Just How Heated is Click Fraud?

It’s amazing just how heated of a subject “click fraud” is. When I published details of my conversation with Google, I made no attempt to cover both sides of the story.

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Click Fraud, Google, Botnets, And More

For any of our blog readers who also listen to our weekly segment on Webmaster Radio to keep informed on the latest goings-on in the search engine world you’ll know that Jim Hedger has been promising a big story for the past couple weeks. Well it’s finally out there and as promised, he doesn’t disappoint.

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Click Fraud Concerns

WebmasterRadio.FM has released a fascinating, if not alarming, story series based on the issues of click fraud and terrorist fund raising that is sure to be the subject of many water cooler sessions. As the story unfolds we will know more but here is a snippet that describes the concerns/accusations against the pay per click industry:

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Google Says Click Fraud Only 2 Percent

Defying the third-party firms that sell themselves to customers amid claims of greater incidents of click fraud, as much as 20 or 30 percent, a Google executive claimed the actual rate is only about 2 percent.

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Nothing New On Click Fraud

There’s a reason I didn’t blog the Washington Post article on click fraud, this past Sunday. There wasn’t really anything new in the piece and it just felt like another opportunity to keep the “the search engine sky is falling” flame fanned.

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Click Fraud Down By 0.3 Percent

The industry average click fraud rate trickled slightly downward in the third quarter according to the Click Fraud Index from ClickForensics; rates for top tier providers like Google and Yahoo fell nearly one percent.

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Is Confidence in Paid Search Slipping?

Click fraud, a term that describes when a paid search ad is clicked on by someone other than an interested consumer (e.g., a third-party who profits from the click because they get a percentage of the ad revenue), is the 1000 lb gorilla in the jungle that is paid search. How’s that for a metaphor?

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Click Quality Council Targeting Fraud

Members of the recently formed Click Quality Council want to speed up the process to establish standards for defining click fraud and valid pay-per-click activity. The white-hot issue of click fraud has become a source of greater concern for advertisers.

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Google, Yahoo Facing Click Fraud Pressure

A lengthy look at the issue of click fraud, where search advertising companies and site publisher networks profit from bogus ad clicks that cost advertisers real money, indicated a light is at the end of the tunnel when it comes to confronting the problem.

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Why Click Fraud is Still a Problem

Business Week has an extensive look at click fraud – yep, can’t go a month, without someone doing an expose on click fraud.

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Woman to Google: Define ‘Fraud’

A Washington, D.C-based corporate psychologist and jog bra seller filed suit against Google last week for $250,000 claiming the company wrongfully removed AdSense from her website.

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Google Disputes Third Party Fraud Detection

Engineers at Google have performed an analysis of click fraud consultants and claimed they have fundamental flaws in their approaches.

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Top Search Engines Work Together on Click Fraud

CNET has details of a new alliance by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft,, LookSmart and others to form the Click Measurement Working Group.

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IAB, Google, Yahoo Defining Clicks

The Interactive Advertising Bureau and Google, Yahoo, Microsoft,, and others have established a working group to define a standard for clicks, in an effort to identify valid and invalid ones on search advertising.

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Judge Approves Google Settlement

Google’s part in an Arkansas lawsuit comes to an end after an Arkansas judge approved a $90 million settlement reached by the two sides.

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Google Click Fraud Report In Court

As part of the Lane’s Gifts v Google settlement, an independent expert reviewed Google’s click fraud processes and practices.

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High-Priced Keyword Click Fraud Rises

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.

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Troubling New Study On Click Fraud

Market researcher Outsell Inc. has determined that click fraud is a big issue-“big” in the sense of a “$1.3 billion problem.” Their study also found that the issue has driven advertisers to spend less money with the major search engines.

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Click Fraud Prompts SEMPO Study

The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization and Fair Isaac will partner on preparing an in-depth study on click fraud.

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Google Settlement Brings Unhappiness

A $90 million settlement of claims brought in a class-action click fraud lawsuit against Google has been approved by the courts, but a number of people have filed complaints with the bench about the settlement’s terms.

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Advertiser Sues To Block Google Settlement

One can imagine Joseph Kinney’s thoughts, when he learned that the only cash handed out from Google’s click fraud settlement was going to attorneys, and that in order to claim his compensation (paid in advertising credit), he would have to re-launch the Google ad campaign he had already abandoned.

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A Penny For Your Click Fraud?

Can you guess who benefits most from Google’s $90 million click fraud settlement? You get three guesses, first two don’t count. That’s right! The plaintiffs’ attorneys will receive $30 million. Advertisers opting for the settlement will receive less than a percent of their total claim in Google advertising credit.

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We Told You Click Fraud Wasn’t That Bad

I’ve never believed click fraud was running in the +30% range and now Elinor Mills has details of a new report that suggests it’s actually less than 14%.

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Report Refutes Click Fraud Rates

The pervasiveness of click fraud was at one time estimated (primarily by companies like ClickDefense who sell preventative services) to be as high as 30 percent. But a recent analysis by newly developed Click Fraud Network (CFN) drops the estimated click fraud rate to around 14 percent overall.

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The Answer to Click Fraud?

CNET explains how the recent $90 million click fraud settlement by Google does not mean we won’t see future law suits.

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Click Fraud Scams Revealed

SEOmoz questioned the “click-fruaders” and asked them to share some of the techniques used to get paid by Google and the other search engines.

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AdWords Addresses Click Fraud Questions

Google’s Shuman Ghosemajumder, Business Product Manager for Trust & Safety, provided answers for some common questions about click fraud after Google disclosed it was nearing a settlement in a lawsuit filed against it over the problem.

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More Details of Google’s Click Fraud Settlement

Verne Kopytoff of the San Francisco Chronicle is one of the first journalists to cover news that Google has settled the class action suit on click fraud for $90m.

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Google Click Fraud Settlement: $90 Million

A class-action lawsuit filed by Lane’s Gifts and Collectibles in Arkansas against Google could end soon if the presiding judge approves a proposed settlement.

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