View Full Version : PPC Fraud - Advertisers Unite!
01-27-2006, 11:08 PM
I am surprised that PPC Fraud does not get more attention. Have we all resigned ourselves to accepting it as the cost of doing business? Yet, each day it eats away our profits and advertising budget taking us off line and making our ads unavailable to legitimate buyers!
Google and Yahoo have no real incentive to correct this problem. It generates massive amounts of revenue for their companies every day!
Notice the Search Engines are offering the New Local Search, which has the ability to filter traffic that pertains only to a small business area. However, they do not offer the ability to limit foreign traffic from your site! Why is that? Because they are aware that many of the Fraudulent PPC come form other countries and do not want to lose that revenue!
Any site whose only purpose is to generate revenue from advertising should be suspicious!
Take notice of Shopping Directory Sites whose only content is PPC Ads appearing in your website statistics. Many have the same IP Address but use several different Domain Names through Masking techniques to avoid detection! Most of these sites cannot be found in a search on any Engine. So where does this traffic come from?
Why would the Search Engines sign up such sites to carry our ads anyway? Again, they are counting on our ignorance and will accept the few claims made by advertisers who do the research and make the claim. This is peanuts compared to the revenue these sites generate for the Search Engines!
I encourage every advertiser to complain to Google and Yahoo insisting that they make following changes:
1. Ability to limit your ads to the country you do business in, meaning Domains outside of that country are not eligible to carry your ads.
2. Clicks from Visitors outside your country should not be billable.
3. Sites whose only Content is PPC Advertising are not an acceptable to Advertisers.
It is my belief that these changes would go a long way in fighting PPC Fraud. They are changes that the Search Engines have the ability to make but WILL NOT without pressure from the Advertisers.
This problem will only get bigger unless we act together.
These are my thoughts - What are yours?
01-28-2006, 12:22 AM
I understand your frustration but the first point in your solution
Ability to limit your ads to the country you do business in, meaning Domains outside of that country are not eligible to carry your ads.
Is just shooting yourself in the foot even if it could be enforced. Just because I might live outside of the US doesn't mean that my sites don't get a huge amount of US traffic.
I see people who want to use that as a solution in places like Consumption Junction, Share-a-Sale and others and it's crazy. For all those merchants know I might have very targeted and cashed up buyers that are looking for just what those merchants are trying to sell - yet they think that because I don't live in the US I don't have US traffic.
It's crazy but I do understand where you're coming from.
And the other thing to consider is that there are well-documented cases of click fraud coming from within the US.
It's a very difficult situation that needs more than simplistic solutions.
01-28-2006, 04:21 PM
I did not specify a country in my post. You assume it is the USA because you are aware that the US Advertisers have the most to complain about.
If an advertiser's business model only sells to the US, only accepts Credit Cards drawn on US banks, then they have no business advertising in other countries. However, if you export outside the US which many companies do, then this business model would be a candidate for a foriegn website. I am proposing an Opt Out option, not a complete withdrawal.
Does your website have any purpose outside of revenue from advertising?
What drives your traffic to you? Are you found on a search engine though any keywords?
What percentage of your traffic is from the US and how did they find you?
I do not suggest my proposal will solve the problem, but it would certainly make a dent in it!
02-22-2006, 03:39 PM
Don't just rant and rave. CATCH THE *******S! I left a detailed post on another MIVA thread that you may find interesting. It's post #7 at
02-22-2006, 04:23 PM
It is estimated that between 10% and as much as 50% of PPC traffic is fraudulent. I have recently started to look into PPC fraud tracking software to get the problem taken care of for the sites we run here......... When you are spending thousands every month in the PPC world, you need protection and you aren't going to get 100% protection from YAHOO!, Google or any other PPC location, although they do have some protections in place.
You are talking about millions of advertisers. It would take one giant uniting to really have an impact in PPC. The best thing, for now, is to cover yourself and get some type of tracking software in place. At least that is what we have decided to do here.....
Also, we plan to dump the small time PPC places, as getting refunds on their fraud is unlikely. Also, PPC places that offer the ability for anyone to add their PPC campaigns to their site are a bad idea. Paying 5 cents per click sounds great on the surface until you figure out that you paid for 2000 clicks and made 0 sales. We have seen that happen all the time here....
Just my two cents on this subject........
02-23-2006, 10:08 AM
Good Points...Thanks for your input.
Google does offer some prevention methods. They offer the geo targeting, the ability to limit your ads to the US, and also to Opt Out of websites you feel are abusing and the ability to show your ads only on Google, not their partner sites.
Yahoo offers nothing!! They have partnered with companies who own thousands of Domain names and use them to show nothing but Yahoo ads. The traffic from any site whose only purpose is advertising should be considered supicious at the very least. Yahoo allows you to submit claims and wait 4 - 6 weeks while they "investigate." They will offer a token credit, but never admit wrong doing. Yet the only prevention method is to discontinue your advertising with them or accept the fraud and token credits.
Unfortunately, too many advertisers and web site owners are not Tech Savvy. They Out Source the development of their sites, their SEO efforts, their Marketing programs, and even in some cases the administration of their site. They consider internet sales as gravy instead of meat! The Out Sources either do not care or choose not to enlighten their employers about such problems. This is why you do not have the Out Cry you would expect and would receive if it were Print Advertising or some other form the Advertisers do understand.
I was attempting to send up a flare to the Advertising Community saying "Heads Up Guys....Pay attention....Check your stats....File some claims...Demand some changes!"
However, it appears the community of Advertisers I was hoping to reach does not exist.
I regonize this lack of knowledge has it's advantages for those of us who do understand the potential and pit falls of the internet. It gives us an edge. It also creates all sorts of job opportunities and ways to take advantage of the ignorance. They can cash in with little consequence.
02-23-2006, 05:45 PM
Dont lose hope Scout. Some of us are trying to make a difference by blogging, writing artcicles, speaking at events, helping in the forums and by creating tools for advertisers to use free of charge to help protect their pay per click investments.
02-23-2006, 06:45 PM
Thanks for your efforts, Jeff. I do believe that advertiser education is the key. However, it appears the free ride on ignorance is far from over. Too many know what PPC advertising can do. Too few know how it does it.
I was amazed when I made it my business to learn where my advertising dollars were going. I was happy when sites were sending me traffic. Then I dug deeper to find many of the sites had the same IP address only different names to avoid detection. Then I discovered many of the Hosting companies for these sites were outside the country. Dug a little deeper and learned about companies such as Marchex who have built an Empire on running only PPC ads on thousands of domain names. Learned about PPR networks and Spy bots which worm their way onto computers and send bogus clicks on behalf of these sites without the computer users knowledge!
It is a major problem and pulling down big bucks for the search engines as well as their partner sites. There is little incentive for them to adjust just a productive business model.
That Yahoo gives us no tools to fight with is just greedy on their part. Lord knows the majority of advertisers would never bother to use them anyway.
02-27-2006, 03:23 PM
Anybody familiar with this organization? They have a site to sign up, JoinTheNetwork.com; and another site called ClickFraudIndex.com. I received a postcard in the mail from them, and it looks like a good concept, but would like some opinions on it before signing up.
02-27-2006, 04:18 PM
I spoke with a journalist who covered a piece on them as they were claiming to be the first free click fraud service which I disputed as I started VeriClix a while back and noticed no one in the space with a free service. I guess its possible and just no one knew about them...
So far I have only looked from the outside in, however it seems that they feel a larger sampling of data is key. However, they may be trying to use one definition of click fraud against all advertiser's data. While I applaud anyone's effort's in this field, trying to place one definition of click fraud amongst many advertisers in many different markets with customers in many different phases of the sales cycle and with advertisers having many different goals for their pay per click campaigns I don't see how a larger sample could benefit each individual advertiser.
If someone knows more I would like to hear it...
02-27-2006, 05:19 PM
If I am managing campaigns with low max CPC in an industry where the competition isn't overwelming, is it likely that competitors will generate these false clicks? Is this something I really have to concern myself with because I dont feel as though I have to worry TOO much about false clicks. I could be wrong though
02-27-2006, 07:33 PM
Understandably higher competitive verticals (higher CPC costs) will be more attractive. I would also watch out for low CPC words that are too general.
Keep in mind that competitive click fraud is only one form of click fraud. You also have publisher sites who are trying to increase their profits as well as hackers who control comprimised machines from all over the world who can sell their use to publishers or who may have a political agenda of their own against the search engines.
02-27-2006, 07:48 PM
encourage every advertiser to complain to Google and Yahoo insisting that they make following changes I may be taking the drastic approach but if the Calif attorney general received enough complaints that these companies are co-conspirators in the ppc fraud by not protecting their clients, from it perhaps an investigation of that nature would make them get off their bu**s and do something about it across the board not just on a case-by-case review of the ppc fraud complaints to them. It would force them to protect themselves in turn protecting advertisers.
02-27-2006, 08:42 PM
That's the problem....not enough advertisers are complaining! If they won't complain to the search engines.....Good Luck with the Attorney General!