Click fraud is defined as a type of fraud that occurs on the Internet in pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising. PPC is a type of advertising that companies invest in, where the advertiser showcases their product or service on a particular website. The owner of the website receives a payment based on each “click” that is received on the advertisement, and the advertiser has to pay in order to advertise, also based on the number of clicks. Click fraud occurs when anonymous people, either physically or automatically, arrange for an increase of “useless” clicks, in the hopes that the pay-per-clicks for that advertiser will be exhausted quickly and without any positive results.
Dishonest people participate in click fraud because they are either competitors of the advertising company, or they wish to ruin the advertiser’s reputation or advertising budget. The result of click fraud means that the advertisers will go through their advertising budget that they have arranged for the PPC advertising method. It also means that the advertiser will exhaust their PPC means, and their ads will not reach the customers that could potentially become good business associates. Click fraud can be devastating to an advertiser’s budget. In fact, some studies show that click fraud costs advertisers about $16 billion dollars a year, collectively.
As rampant as click fraud has become, there are some strategies that you can use to help protect your business from becoming a click fraud target. The first step you should do is to keep a close eye on the patterns of your PPC advertising. By monitoring your internal reports regarding your PPC’s, you can use the information to decipher any unusual occurrences. If you do find anything unusual, you should report your findings to the search engine that you use, and perhaps they may decide to credit your advertising account.
You could also use an automated click-fraud detection service or software that can monitor your ads and report any abnormalities. One such example of click-fraud detection software is ClickCease.
You may also wish to contact the search engine that you are using, because they may allow you to have some control over where your ads will be displayed. For example, Google will allow advertisers to adjust their advertising campaigns sometimes so that their ads are only shown on trusted websites. Often it appears websites that are low-quality tend to be raided by click-fraud attackers more often that higher-quality websites.
As you can see, there are several things that you can do to help protect your business from scammers that try to strip your company of their very own pay-per-click advertisements. Of course, it is difficult to be foolproof in your plan to protect yourself, but it is best to stay as vigilant as you reasonably can.