Is Click Fraud Increasing?

In a report in January, Click Forensics found that the overall click-fraud rate for the online advertising industry was 16.6% in the last quarter of 2007, up from 14.2% for the same period a year earlier reports Forbes. In contextual advertising networks like Google Adsense and Yahoo! Publisher Network, Click Forensics estimated that 28.3% of clicks were fraudulent, up from 19.2% for last quarter of 2006.

A growing portion of that traffic, Click Forensics argues, comes from so-called botnets–millions of PCs hijacked with malicious software and programmed to flood certain sites with clicks.

This is all part of the battle for supremacy between Google and Yahoo! for click through advertising, and Yahoo! have announced a partnership with Click Forensics. But Click Forensics are not the most popular organisations with other search engines “who have rebuffed Click Forensics’ repeated accusations that they underestimate or ignore the volume of fraudulent clicks on their search pages and content networks.”

There is disagreement between search engines such as Google and Click Forensics as well as advertisers who “hesitant to share too much traffic data with Google and Yahoo!; they fear compromising their users’ privacy. They also worry that Google and Yahoo! could raise their advertising rates or use the data to tune their own content to better compete with small players.”

To read the full article in Forbes, click here.