Click fraud has been, and continues to be, an extremely hot topic for search marketing and Internet advertising.
Recently, Pete Lerma did an article on the subject of click fraud for ClickZ. Lerma is a principal at Click Here (the Interactive Marketing division of Richard Group).
I think what stands out most is the shroud of mystery and misunderstanding that hangs over click fraud.
Mainstream press, namely Newsweek, have also started to talk about click fraud. This is obviously garnering a lot of attention and it should.
I’m not about to dismiss click fraud. It’s a serious issue. We’ve seen our clients affected by fraudulent activity so I’ll be first in line to tell you that it can happen. I don’t, however, think it’s something that has to necessarily cripple a campaign, or become a huge vacuum for ad budgets.
Thankfully, most click fraud attacks are still fairly basic and obvious. They can be spotted and dealt with fairly quickly and easily IF you’re vigilant. There’s the key though. You’ve got to understand that pay-per-click (PPC) and other online advertising strategies aren’t like traditional media. You can’t just negotiate for space and circulation then sign off on the creative you like. PPC requires active participation.
That’s why it’s so critical for agencies to either dedicate the manpower that proper management will require, or outsource this to companies that can handle PPC management. With measurement and demonstrable results becoming more and more important with every contract, it doesn’t make any sense to leave something like this to chance. Especially when click fraud can be at least contained.
There are other types of click fraud that can be damaging and are much less obvious to detect. These pose a challenge, and something of a threat, but they can still be dealt with.
I’ll get into different types of click fraud and some of the strategies to employ in another post.