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BizReport : Search Marketing : January 29, 2009

Click Forensics: Click Fraud rises to 17%

In Q4 2008 click fraud reaches it's highest level - yet. According to new data from Click Forensics the click fraud rate reached 17.1% for the quarter with traffic from botnets accounting for more than 30% of all fraudulent clicks; year over year that is an increase of nearly 10%.

by Kristina Knight

Overall botnet traffic increased by 14%, but what is more worrisome is that click farms - groups of people who are hired to click ads to help others make money) resurfaced. Prior to Q4 click farms had nearly disappeared.

Click fraud was not the only cybercrime to rise for the quarter. According to reports phishing and malware detections also showed significant increases.

"[I]t seems that the online advertising industry is not immune to the growing tide of cybercrime during this recessionary period," said Tom Cuthbert president of Click Forensics. "Both the overall click fraud rate and the rate of click fraud originating from botnets were the highest ever in Q4 2008. In addition, we've started to see old schemes like click farms reemerge. Advertisers should pay close attention to these types of threats in their online campaigns throughout the year."

Other than the US, click fraud was found most likely to originate from Canada, Germany or China.

Tags: botnet, Click Forensics, click fraud, clicks, pay per click, PPC advertising, search marketing

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