Thoughts on technology, investing, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

Click fraud exposed

The Washington Post has an insightful article on click fraud.

To Texas-based Auctions Expert International LLC, it was an easy way to make money on the Internet. Sign up with Google, which functions as a kind of online ad agency, and agree to let the online giant place ads on your Web site. Then, every time someone clicks on one of the ads, the advertiser pays a fee, and Google shares that fee with Auctions Expert.

Auctions Expert allegedly recruited as many as 50 people to click on online advertising, generating about $50,000 in ad revenue. The self-clicking was “worthless to advertisers, but generated significant and unjust revenue for defendants,” the Google lawsuit said.

The company, Auctions Expert, was apparently created with the sole purpose of pursuing click fraud.

Jessie Stricchiola, a click fraud expert who frequently represents advertisers seeking refunds from Google and Yahoo, estimates that click fraud accounts for as much as 20 percent of the clicks in some industry sectors. The president of, Stricchiola said tens of thousands of advertisers, who pay Google and Yahoo by credit card, are being overcharged daily, adding that neither search engine has a large enough staff devoted to monitoring the problem or fielding complaints.

What shocks me is how many people actually think they’re going to get away with this. Especially when dealing with technology, someone will find a way to monitor and track the activity. With the stakes as high as they are in advertising, it’s only a matter of time before we see novel ways of countering this kind of behavior. Let’s hope the solution for this problems doesn’t end up hurting all the millions of small publishers.

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