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BizReport : Advertising : April 08, 2014


Mobile PPC ad fraud loophole exposed by agency

After watching their clients' analytics 'like a hawk', an investigation by Las Vegas Internet marketing agency Platinum Web Marketing led them to immediately cease all its mobile pay-per-click ad management campaigns. But why?

by Helen Leggatt

When the head of Platinum Web Marketing, Andy Carlitto, and his team noticed "a disproportionately large number of PPC charges coming from mobile devices", they embarked on an investigation that would highlight potential loopholes in the anti-fraud measures used by companies such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads and Yahoo Search Marketing.

By taking to the streets of Las Vegas and Manhattan, Platinum Marketing employees were able to show that the same mobile PPC ad could be accessed repeatedly - and incur a charge to advertisers each time - just by changing their location by as little as a block down the road. That's because, in each location, the mobile devices being used were automatically acquiring a new IP address.

IP address blocking is what most PPC ad services implement to guard against multiple clicks from the same user but, as Platinum Marketing's experiment has shown, this is ineffective for mobile users.

"The monetary cost of those duplicate clicks can add up quickly," says Carlitto, whose agency and its clients spend around $400,000 a year in ad clicks to Google, Yahoo, and Bing. "This latest discovery has already fundamentally altered our approach to pay-per-click advertising. And I think it's going to be a real wake up call to PPC advertisers everywhere."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: advertising, fraud, mobile, PPC










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