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Old 04-14-2005   #1
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Scott Blum,, goes after bad ad clicks

Scott Blum, founder, chairman and CEO of, is trying to patent a solution to click fraud and bot generated clicks. As mentioned in various other forums recently, merchants both large and small, are calling for search engines and other ppc advertisement companies to take action. It is interesting to see that one large retailer has stepped up to the plate to offer a solution for the ongoing problem of bad advertisement clicks.

The solution is quite simple and not groundbreaking yet could cause an extra step for the user to take in order to properly land at their destination. Basically the solution is to offer the user some sort of security measure such as interim landing pages provided either by the ad company or retailer. The user will then need to enter a security code or perform certain key/mouse actions to proceed.

One problem with the pay-by-click fee structure for price engines and other forms of Internet advertising is justifying a fair price to the advertising purchaser. This particularly arises in instances where clicks are not generated by legitimate consumers or legitimate "window" shoppers. When this occurs, there are clicks generated that do not serve the advertising purpose of the pay-by-click fee, incurring unfair expense to the advertiser. Such phantom clicks also impair accurate tracking or advertising success and market measurement. They also can lead to disputes between the advertising sellers and the retailer advertising purchasers over the number of real clicks, for which a pay-by-click fee is owed and the number of illegitimate or phantom clicks. In this description, clicks generated by sources other than legitimate consumers or "window" shoppers are called "phantom" clicks.
There are numerous sources of this problem of phantom clicks. One source is automated programs or systems known as web-crawlers, spiders, Internet robots or colloquially "bots". These are automated systems or software programs that are operated to gather data via the Internet. For example, search engine companies such as Google are known to operate automated systems that gather Internet data via clicking on links to discover and compile databases of Internet websites and data. Other sources of phantom clicks are notorious, such as from disgruntled individuals, disgruntled suppliers or competitors seeking to raise advertising expenses by clicking and causing pay-by-click advertising costs.

[0012] In an embodiment of the present invention, an interim landing page is provided by the retailer or a referring website, rather than a direct landing page as heretofore used to generate click counts. Passage through the interim landing page is required in order to gain access to the retailer's advertised web page. In order to pass through, a particular operation is required by a user or customer. Preferably, the operation cannot be performed by automated web access systems such as web-crawlers, spiders or bots.

[0013] One example of an access operation required on an interim landing page is entry of a security access code known to the user or consumer. The security access code can be provided via print advertising, other communication technique, another web page, or on the interim landing page itself. Any access code can be required, such as numbers, letters, other symbols or combinations thereof. If provided on the interim landing page, preferably the access code is provided in a graphical format, for which automated reading and understanding is not possible, or is difficult, time consuming or prone to error.

The patent is brief and simple to read:

Internet commerce access security system and method
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Old 04-14-2005   #2
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Great way to deal with click fraud, but also a great way to lose legitimate leads. I think most people would immediately back away from an intermediate page requiring them to type a code in. Clicking an ad is more like an impulse, and if you interrupt that impulse, you are likely to lose the customer. Just my opinion.
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Old 04-14-2005   #3
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that patent seems like a good open standard that will be well adopted

disrupt the search process to inconvenience potential customers to pay to use a third party system that lowers ad revenues.

bet that takes off in a hurry.
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