The Importance of the MIT Sutdy

There has been a lot of buzz lately around studies regarding click fraud.  Over the past year or so, several groups have conducted studies estimating the size, scope and impact of click fraud.  Click Forensics approach has been different.  We built the largest independent network of advertisers and aggregate their data to determine the size, scope and impact of click fraud.  We believe this is a much better approach and given the growth of the Click Fraud Network, it will only get better. I was thrilled when Professor Catherine Tucker from MIT called me to propose the study.  Her idea is to focus on sources and motivations for click fraud.  This is an outstanding approach and these type of questions need to be addressed in a thoughtful and thorough way.  The confidential data we will be able to contribute from clients and the members of the Network who agree to participate will provide an interesting look at the problem.  I am looking forward to working with Catherine and her team to uncover more information that we believe will benefit our industry. Click Forensics has a history of working with the academic community.  One of the first steps we took was to work with Dr. Alex Tuzhilin of NYU to help us determine the statistical significance of our data set.  Alex was also instrumental in helping us refine our scoring methodology to improve accuracy (see blog entry from April 22)). We have inbound interest from other fine universities and look forward to working with the community to provide meaningful data. In Kevin Newcomb’s article called, “Whose click fraud numbers do you trust?” he was trying to understand our motivation in participating in the study.  We have been consistent from the beginning; the problem of click fraud is an industry problem.  Solving the problem requires a team effort beyond Click Forensics.   That includes advertisers (big and small), agencies, search providers, third party ad serving firms, academia and our competitors.  Over the last few months I have spent time talking to leaders in each of these types of organizations discussing a solution.  We built and fund the Click Fraud Network to provide advertisers valuable information about both their own campaigns and the industry as a whole.  It provides what Catherine describes as “real world data”.   The advertisers, agencies and third party auditors choosing to participate in this study should be applauded.  The questions should be aimed at those behind the curtain. Tom Cuthbert