Economic Conditions Leading to More Click Fraud?

By  |  Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Web advertising has always been vulnerable to those who attempt to game the system by clicking on their own site’s advertisements in order to generate additional revenue. This is referred to as “click fraud” and according to Click Forensics, a “traffic quality management” firm (whatever that means), it is at it’s highest level ever.

A full 17.1 percent of all clicks on ads in the fourth quarter of 2008 were fraudulent, jumping from 16 percent in the previous quarter, and from 16.6 percent a year ago. Some of the increase could be explained from the rise of the use of botnets: 31.4 percent of fraudulent clicks were due to that, up from 22 percent a year ago.

Click Forensics seems to think that the bad economy has something to do with the increase in click fraud. “Based on the data we tracked in Q4 2008, it seems that the online advertising industry is not immune to the growing tide of cybercrime during this recessionary period,” the firm’s president Tom Cuthbert said.

Google uses the firm in its AdSense program to report to its customers on the quality of clicks. No doubt click fraud affects the search giant most, since it is king when it comes to search advertising.

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