A couple of weeks ago at Search Engine Strategies in New York, Click Fraud made big news. Yahoo announced a partnership with Click Forensics that changes the tone of the ongoing “Click Fraud Debate”. Since late 2005 there has been denial, litigation, finger pointing, 17 page reports and lots and lots of media coverage around the topic of click fraud. In March of 2006 I wrote that, “It will take a community approach to solve the problem”. Since then the community of advertisers, agencies, third parties, publishers, ad networks, industry organizations and search providers has grown. We have all been drawn closer together to help solve the problem; not deny its existence. A visible result of that progress was the Yahoo announcement.
It was just over a year ago that I first met Reggie Davis. Yahoo was the first search engine to name a Vice President over Marketplace Quality. Reggie’s approach has been refreshing. He listened carefully and took notes to what advertisers were saying. He worked with his team to implement solutions that helped improve transparency. And now, less than a year later, Yahoo is the first search engine to work with a third-party to fight click fraud.
This is real progress and a sign of things to come. For quite some time we have been drawing the distinction between traditional media (TV and Radio) and online. Advertisers are used to having standards, auditable invoices and notarized affidavit’s confirming they get what they paid for. It’s especially important because as pay-per-click industry expert, Dr. Tuzhilin, has noted: third-parties have access to data search engines don’t have. And that information is helpful for identifying quality issues such as click fraud. Yahoo! understands this and we’re now able to share this information to help Yahoo! help its advertisers.