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BizReport : Research archives : January 31, 2007

Click fraud up in Q4, 2006

New research from Click Forensics indicates an upswing in click fraud as 2006 came to a close. According to their study, click fraud reached 14.2% in Q4.

by Kristina Knight

That is the highest click fraud rate in 2006. The click fraud rate for Q3 was 13.8%, in Q2 14.1% and in Q1 13.7%. High priced search terms remained high at about a 20% click fraud rate. High priced terms are defined as costing $2 or more per click; these terms usually make up the biggest portion of a campaign. The average PPC term for retail, financial services and health/fitness industries cost about $3.50 for Q4.

Also interesting in the study results was that affiliate site click fraud was higher than the overall average.

Not everyone agrees with the Click Forensics findings, however. Search giant Google has refuted their findings in the past, saying click fraud investigators overestimate invalid clicks because they count page reloads as separate clicks and they have counted one advertiser's traffic in another advertiser's report.

"A rigorous technical analysis by Google engineers has found fundamental flaws in the work of several click fraud consultants--flaws that help explain why widely quoted estimates of the size of the click fraud problem are exaggerated," wrote Google's Shuman Ghosemajumder (via MediaPost).

Nonetheless, Tom Cuthbert, president and CEO of Click Forensics, LLC. stands by the report that click fraud is on the increase. He said, “Click fraud remains a concern for online advertisers, and affiliate sites represent a large and growing source of click fraud traffic. These are areas we and advertisers will continue to monitor closely in 2007.”

Tags: click fraud, pay-per-click

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