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BizReport : Search Marketing : March 20, 2007

Click fraud a problem for China's top search engine

Reports claim that China’s largest search engine, Baidu, has a serious click fraud problem, and advertisers may take their budgets elsewhere.

by Helen Leggatt

Google could benefit significantly from advertisers’ loss of confidence in Baidu following reports of increasing click fraud on China's top search engine.The average click fraud rate for Baidu, who has 58 percent of the Chinese search market, is 34 percent, nearly 10 percent higher than Google, who has just 17 percent of the market.

These are the findings of a recent study entitled “Paid Search Advertising in China” by Peter Bowang Lu of the China IntelliConsulting Corp. although the click fraud issue has been dogging Baidu for some time.

Click fraud is when a company’s rivals or scammers click on ads to drive up advertisers' bills or drive illicit revenue to websites. Google implements a complex click fraud filtering process, claiming that the fraudulent clicks it proactively detects make up 10 percent of all clicks, and that the ones it misses amount to 0.2 percent of clicks. China places less pressure on search engines to deal with click fraud.

ClickForensics’ quarterly measure of click fraud for Q4 2006 put it at 14.2%. They also stated that this was 2006's "highest level" (up from 14.1% in Q2) and that the click fraud rate for search engine content networks was 19.2%.

Tags: Baidu, China, click fraud, Google, search advertising, search engines

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