If you’ve used pay-per-click advertising to any extent to help promote your Web site, the chances are very good that you’ve been a victim of click fraud somewhere down the line. The level of which you may have been affected though, is what click fraud agencies such as Click Forensics, and search engines like Yahoo and Google, don’t agree on.
As you can imagine, it’s a rather predictable scenario. Search engines claim that the amount of click fraud is relatively low (Google claiming less than 1% of click fraud they don’t reimburse for, and Yahoo 2-5%). Consumers and third party agencies specializing in click-fraud, of course, cite numbers much higher, generally in the 12-18% range, with some claiming as high as 60%!
How to combat click fraud has been a hot topic for years. Certainly there are methods that a business can implement to help minimize the potential affect of click fraud both before and after the click. Most PPC advertisers, however, calculate click fraud as simply a cost of doing business, and take little to no measures at all. An alternative is to hire someone to manage your PPC advertising for you, who also specializes in minimizing click fraud, but these services of course cost money and eat into the return on your PPC advertising.
A change is soon on the horizon for PPC and click fraud, which should be very beneficial to consumers in the long run. Yahoo has recently partnered with third party click-tracking firm Click Forensics. The partnership at first does seem slightly shocking, after all, it isn’t too often in any industry where a business voluntarily partners with someone whose specialty is keeping them honest. The partnership is a measure that could significantly reduce Yahoo’s revenue through refunded fraudulent clicks if fraud rates are as high as Click Forensics believes them to be.
On the other hand, this partnership potentially offers Yahoo a new platform in which to compete with Google on. Yahoo isn’t driving the traffic that Google is, but if the quality of traffic is better by reducing, minimizing, or at least accurately identifying fraudulent clicks that come through the network, that’s really one more step in the direction of people using Yahoo in addition to Google (rather than just Google), or even using Yahoo exclusively.