Marketing Week have published my letter to the editor regarding click fraud in response to their piece on the subject last week.
Unfortunately Marketing Week, don’t make content available to non subscribers online, so you will have to do with my copy below, or grab yourself a copy of the 7th September issue!
The rise in click fraud is a real cause for concern amongst UK businesses, (Search marketing feels pressure of click fraud, Marketing Week, 31 August 2006) and companies now need to reassess their pay-per-click advertising campaigns to make sure that they do not become the latest fraud victims.
Undoubtedly there are some companies that take great pleasure in clicking their competitors’ links when they first set up a Google AdWords campaign but this is not really a serious problem. The fun soon dies off, especially when companies realise that their competitors are probably doing the same to them.
The real threat actually comes from the automated click-fraud bots which are increasingly widespread, and with more and more PCs around the world now ‘owned’, the opportunities to commit click fraud are significant.
Companies need to protect themselves by limiting their daily spend on cost-per-click campaigns and by undertaking regular trend analysis which will quickly reveal if someone is trying to hurt them. Significant traffic from one region or IP range is relatively easy to deal with if the right controls are in place.
Unless companies start to put more rigorous processes in place to help them analyse and understand the clicks they receive, then the click-based advertising business could soon spiral out of control.
Ben King, Director, bit10, Coventry