Fraud in Pay Per Click Advertising Runs Rampant – How Do You Protect Yourself?
There was reporting done recently that Microsoft came down heavily on a couple of businesses that tried to get a leg up on the competition by going out and obsessively click to visit clicking on the other guy’s pay-per-click advertising on Bing so that the poor competitor would quickly run out of advertising dollars to spend. This would leave the field open to the unfair competitor. They call this kind of thing click fraud, and it can quickly undermine the whole pay-per-click business model that the search engines use as their bread and butter.
More importantly, fraud and pay-per-click advertising that goes undetected can easily destroy a young start-up’schances at success. Consider another example of fraud, also discovered by Microsoft. In this, a Texas website was accused of using the following method for their fraud. They designed malware that went and sent users to fake websites, having defrauded them into thinking that they were being taken to the website they attempted to go to in the first place. Once there, anywhere they clicked on the page, they would activate an ad; the website would show these user-clicks to advertisers as proof that they were a popular website to get them to advertise there. Is the whole pay per click advertising concept at all reliable? You can easily find statistics claiming that advertisers lose one out of five advertising clicks to fraudsters these days. So what is it that you can do proactively, to protect your interests?
Your first line of defense would be to go with reputable advertising brokers, telemarketing agencies and so on. Going with the bargain basement guys can put you in a bad neighborhood. Ask them to provide proof of where exactly your pay per click advertising traffic is coming from. Some parts of the world are really known for fraud in pay per click advertising – Vietnam, Russia, some countries in Africa, even India. If your traffic comes from anywhere around here, you’ll need to know that one out of two clicks from these countries is fraudulent.
Set budgets for each day separately. Each new day, look at the statistics that your provider gives you. If all the clicking occurs around one time, you’ll know that there is clearly something wrong. Also, look for click-through stats look too good to be true. Typically, maybe one out of 15 people who view your ad will actually click and visit your website. If everyone who views your ad seems to be clicking through to your website, there is your red light flashing. Using pay per click advertising, it is completely up to you how you protect your i