Yahoo Acknowledges Illicit Clicks Exist

    March 22, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

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.

Having click fraud undo the positive results seen so far by Yahoo with its revamped search advertising system would represent a critical step backwards for the company. Keeping their momentum going as they try to make some gains against Google means heading off threats before they turn into a virtual 24-like scenario.

Trust in the advertising system has to remain at a high level. Yahoo doesn’t need more class action lawsuits cropping up over accusations of click fraud. They made a couple of announcements that indicate Yahoo will be more proactive about the problem.

A Reuters report noted Yahoo’s appointment of one of its associate general counsels, Reggie Davis, to the position of vice president of marketplace quality. Davis has been involved with defending Yahoo from click fraud lawsuits like the Checkmate action.

The other big news came as Yahoo formally put a number on the illicit clicks it sees: between 12 and 15 percent. These are clicks that Yahoo tosses out before they hit the accounts of their advertisers.

Clearing up the definition of an invalid click will be important. "We need to take some of the inconsistency out of this issue," Davis said in the report.

Yahoo’s moves received approval from Click Forensics head Tom Cuthbert. Calling him a close observer of search industry click fraud efforts might be understatement; he has been openly critical of the lack of transparency into click fraud fighting.

Cuthbert continued to call for independent third-party auditing of click activity, to ensure advertisers fully understand the issues surrounding illicit clicks, namely in how well Yahoo and others keep them from hitting client accounts.