The Real Problem with Click Fraud

I have been reading Henry Blodgett’s blog Internet Outsider for the last few months.  His most recent post is called, “The Real Problem With Click Fraud”.  It is well written and right on, for the most part.  It raises an interesting point (that he has mentioned many times) that there is no real data in defining the click fraud problem.

The core of the issue is indeed that “no real data” exists.  How big a problem is click fraud and is it growing? While we don’t claim to have all the answers I do believe we have a more statistically significant dataset than anyone else published at the Click Fraud Network site.  Our member base has grown significantly since the Network was launched a few weeks ago.  We are reporting that the instance of “high threat level” clicks is currently at 16.4%.  As our Network grows we will be able to announce threat levels by vertical market, search provider and other relevant subsets.  The industry will see that there is a big disparity across industries and providers.

Looking at individual campaigns or advertisers and trying to draw conclusions is pointless.  Our approach is to aggregate the data by providing our tool at no cost to the 90% of PPC advertisers who have less than 100,000 paid clicks per month.  This “collective intelligence” provides protection for them while helping the industry by revealing the scope and nature of click fraud.  Similar to the approach taken by spam filters or anti virus tools, the Click Fraud Network data powers the rating engine making our algorithm as accurate as possible.

Henry is on to something.  We want to help answer the questions.  Click fraud is not “immaterial”, so rather than speculate, let’s work together to peel back the onion.  Advertisers should Join the Network and let’s solve the problem.