According to tech analyst firm IDC, U.S. companies paid a record $14.2 billion for paid keyword-driven contextual ads in 2009, with Google dominating 55% of that revenue, Yahoo 9% and Microsoft 6%.
More dollars = More fraudsters. Period.
The company Click Forensics just released a report on the overall click fraud rates for the paid search industry. According to SearchEngineLand, the report said click fraud was up from 17.4% last quarter to 18.6% in Q2 of 2010. Traffic across 300+ ad networks is reflected in the data.
In addition, it was found that the countries outside North America with the greatest volume of click fraud were Singapore, Pakistan, Japan, Ukraine and China respectively.
Recent research by marketing intelligence company Visual IQ came out with similar numbers earlier this month. The company estimates marketers lose an average of 16.7 percent of their pay-per-click budgets to fraud.
So why is click fraud slowly trending higher and higher? The CEO of Click Forensics, Paul Pellman, stipulates that “the main reasons appear to be the continued sophistication of botnets and malware prevalent in the fast-growing search marketing space.”
According to Inc. Magazine, click scams use the following techniques:
- Manual clicking. Workers might be paid to click to run up totals.
- Software clicks. Automated clicks.
- Bot networks. Using malware to harness unsuspecting users’ computers, criminals can create large networks of computers employing programs that imitate clicks.
Despite detection innovations, click fraud rates show no signs of slowing. Attacks are becoming more sophisticated. Criminals are making more money. So what can we do? Any advice out there on how to mitigate it?