Defining Click Fraud

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]In the world of Search Engine Marketing (SEM), “click” is a very important term. In fact, “click” (used as either a verb or a noun) describes a very specific action that any Internet user performs while conducting a search in any search engine.

Why in the world should you care so much about how a “click” is defined? Well, you may not, but search engine algorithms already do. Up until recently, all search engines had relatively complete freedom to decide how clicks should be counted and how to charge YOU (as an advertiser) based on that definition. Enter the dreaded phrase “click fraud” – how can advertisers and search engines possibly agree on what “click fraud” is, when there is no set definition for the word “click”?

This reminds me of the stereotype of the feudal system of the Middle Ages where the lord set the tax rules and serfs were expected to come up with the goods. Like all stereotypes, the realities were much more subtle and a lot more complicated.

Luckily, we no longer live in the Middle Ages, and SEM advertisers have long been concerned and involved in discussions about the definition of a “click” and what constitutes “click fraud.” Click Forensics has been instrumental in developing two major initiatives towards this end.

The first, the Click Quality Council (www.clickqualitycouncil.org) – consisting of advertisers such as Visa and Lending Tree; established agencies such as Agency.com and Carat Fusion; and independent moderators – is charged with voicing the opinions of PPC advertisers in defining the terms “click” and “click fraud.”

The second initiative of the Council was the Click Fraud Network (www.JoinTheNetwork.com), where participants use a free click fraud service to monitor activity in their PPC campaigns. By combining data from numerous accounts, statistical trends and patterns are discerned. The results are presented to the Click Measurement Working Group of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and other important players in the market.

To become a participant in helping define “click” and “click fraud,” think about signing up at www.JoinTheNetwork.com. Make your clicks count and become part of an industry-wide solution!

About the Author

Greg Laptevsky is a pay-per-click specialist with over 5 years of industry experience. Greg is a Certified Google Professional and a Yahoo! Search Marketing Ambassador. For more information/consultation, please contact Greg at [email protected]

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