Types of Ad Fraud - Click Fraud

How does PPC advertising work?

It’s pretty logical and straightforward. The advertiser pays the programmatic platform or advertising agents like Google, Yahoo and Bing to put up their advertisements, as in the case of events and their sponsors. In return, the company gets more potential buyers.

Why is it called PPC?

As the term implies, for every click on the published advertisement by an interested client, the advertisers are charged to pay the advertising platform a certain amount for increasing their sales. 

Is PPC model an incentive for fraudsters?

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising model was introduced to allow advertisers to direct potential customers to their website, by shining the spotlight on the required search or query. 

However, the PPC model has also become a fraudulent method to drive ill-conceived revenue into the hands of advertising companies and the enabler. This is where click fraud comes into the picture. 

What is click fraud?

When a person, automated script or computer program acting as a genuine client clicks on the advertisement without any actual interest in the ad’s target link, the advertiser's investment turns into loss – in terms of money and customers. 

There are three ways click fraud can occur – automatic, manual and through ‘click farms’. 

  • Automatic click fraud takes place by programmed bots or systems.
  • Manual click fraud is implemented by actual human beings specially hired to click on certain ads repeatedly.
  • “Click farms” are a team of people hired to carry out click fraud in a systematic way, such that they can almost be mistaken for an automated system.

Impact of click fraud

It leads to immense profit for the advertising platform at the expense of the advertisers’ investment. 

The impact this has on the advertisers’ company is significant. The time and effort put into product campaigns, and the advertisement designs become futile. If the ratio of clicks-to-sales is too high, the advertisers may be pushed to cancel these campaigns.

This also gives rise to scepticism between the advertiser and the advertising company, forcing the advertisers to take extra measures to protect their brand.

Business owner, Gurminder Singh, had very recently filed a case against Google AdSense (Google’s advertising platform) for billion dollars’ worth of click fraud. He alleged that he ran various tests and experiments to determine the extent of click fraud by Google. However, his allegations did not suffice to carry out the lawsuit. 

Clearly, with growing technology, such crimes have become almost impossible to detect.

Legal means 

Although click fraud is becoming a case of increasing litigation, it is not enough to prevent it entirely. This is a widespread global crime that is not limited to a specific area. 

What measures can be taken?

There are various methods to protect against click fraud – specially designed ad verification services that add firewalls that give the advertiser an option to block clicks and conceal the ads to individual users, competitors, and bots – Botman being one of the leading players in the market.

What measures are being taken?

Many companies are coming up with solutions to identify and eliminate click fraud. Google and Yahoo, two of the largest advertising platforms, have come up with automated detection systems that catch invalid clicks and block them before any significant harm is done.

Any unusual or incessant clicking pattern is being immediately looked into and tracked to eliminate the root source.

It has been estimated that almost 16.4 billion dollars have been lost due to ad fraud in 2017 itself, click fraud being the primary reason. 

Most minor companies do not even know of this injustice and are being cheated by the millions, even before establishing their position in the economy.

It’s become of utmost importance to create awareness and better technological solutions to stop this crime for good.

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