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Old 05-03-2005, 02:13 AM   #1
Larwee

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Default Click fraud threatens rising online ad revenue

This issue has been covered in previous Geek/Talk threads, including some that I have started. This article repeats some of that same information. But it contained enough information that was different and/or new that I thought it was worth bringing it to the attention of Geek/Talk visitors so they could read it since click fraud is such a hot topic of interest.

Here is the article http://www.informationweek.com/showA...leID=162100620
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Old 05-03-2005, 03:36 AM   #2
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You're quite right larwee. While the issue in question is as old as the CPC model itself, that article does a beautiful job of highlighting many of the most popular and most serious concerns that advertisers have in relation to search-derived click fraud.

The article also brought to light some interesting changes going on at Snap.com, which we'll discuss in another thread.
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:39 AM   #3
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Overall a good article.

I've been doing a fair amount of interviews on click fraud lately and I'll mention two things that are generally overlooked:



1) Impression fraud is becoming just as common place as click fraud. Companies that are looking to switch to CPM models to combat CPC fraud are, unfortunately, going to find themselves in the same leaky boat.

2) When you see an article mention how "such and such industry is paying $95.00/click and blah blah blah" you need to keep in mind that the business paying huge dollar amounts that the reporters love to mention are NOT allowing their ads to be shown on content sites. They are only buying the traffic directly from the SE's direct traffic.
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Old 05-03-2005, 09:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Robert from SI
1) Impression fraud is becoming just as common place as click fraud. Companies that are looking to switch to CPM models to combat CPC fraud are, unfortunately, going to find themselves in the same leaky boat.
Robert

Sorry for being a bit dense but what is exactly is impression fraud? Is a website owner looking at the same pages on his own site over and over again?
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Old 05-03-2005, 09:31 AM   #5
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No need to apologize. I always tell my staff I'd rather them ask me 50 questions and do things right than not ask and do it wrong.


Impression fraud is generating artificial impressions on web pages.

It can be done to defraud traffic exchanges, banner trades, etc. but most commonly it's used to generate impressions on CPM advertisements.
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Old 05-03-2005, 11:03 AM   #6
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Not a bad article however it failed to document a very very serious problem for Advertisers which G is aware of and talks about same. This issue is related to a Competitor clicking on your Advert or using a bot to drive your costs up and eliminate competition, which the article did mention.

Here it is:

Impression spam defined

An AdWords fraudster will toggle Off his own PPC adverts, then repeatedly query Google to bring up the results page which will display your PPC advert. By making sure that your advert is displayed many times but not clicked, the activity causes your CTR (click-through rate) to fall rapidly and dramatically and this results in Google disabling your Campaign. Since Google ranks the AdWords ads according to a formula comprised of both click-through rate and bid price, the fraudster succeeds in obtaining the same or better positioning for his own advert for a lower bid-price (once they toggle their ad back On), since your click-through rate has been artificially reduced.

HTH
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Old 05-03-2005, 02:03 PM   #7
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Don't really mean to sound impressed (but I am a bit). Why don't these people just use the intelligence that they clearly have to do some good, rather than trying to constantly defraud people.

One thing though, Steve. I presume that a lot of people - except me obviously ! know about this practice. So could it not turn into a never ending cycle whereby the people who have bene "impressioned" could then retaliate and do the same to the "impressioner" and so on and so on?
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Old 05-03-2005, 02:44 PM   #8
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blogie, in a way it is like people who decide to rob banks. Most people work for their money. But that takes time and is sometimes difficult. Some people find it a lot easier and quicker just to rob banks.

The same is true with this fraud. Many people do very well and make honest money through advertising revenue. But, that takes time and work. Using fraud methods is a way for some people to try to make a lot more money, make it quicker and without as much hard work as would be required in maintaining a good website.

There have been many threads about this type of thing here on Geek/Talk. I've started a number of them myself.

But even when one is giving out news information an effort still needs to be made to be responsible. Geek/Talk has rules against the posting of information related to how to do illegal and/or certain types of unethical things.

There are enough people who know how to do this type of fraud - or at least to try it and try to get away with it. There is certain information that could be given that would help people try it who don't know how to do it, but that isn't allowed to be posted here, and I think that is good.

Recently I found something that was very interesting related to spam which shows a new and better way to spam and get away with it. I didn't post the article because it wouldn't be responsible to tell people how to do this, in addition to being against Geek/Talk rules.

Last edited by Larwee; 05-03-2005 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 05-05-2005, 12:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by larwee
But even when one is giving out news information an effort still needs to be made to be responsible. Geek/Talk has rules against the posting of information related to how to do illegal and/or certain types of unethical things.

There are enough people who know how to do this type of fraud - or at least to try it and try to get away with it. There is certain information that could be given that would help people try it who don't know how to do it, but that isn't allowed to be posted here, and I think that is good.
I agree that their needs to be a balance between info and potential "textbooks" on the practice. I suppose to people like myself who at times feel out of their depth, are looking for info rather than a potential new money spinning ****. When I got thrown out of adsense I honestly didn't know why, where, how etc. but I suppose that seemed like an excuse. I also of course had no way of proving I was innocent as I didn't know what I was supposedly guilty of.

Same if someone accused me of impression spam (who and why I'm not sure) but I honestly (until I read this thread) wouldn't have had a clue what they were talking about (actually I'm still not 100% certain but I suppose thats a good thing).

GV and sitepoint are my main sources for info and long may they both continue.
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Old 05-05-2005, 12:10 PM   #10
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the four stars which have just appeared weren't a swear word (in case anyone was thinking) I am assuming it is a filter. The word also means a quick way of earning money by fraudulent means. Starts with an s and ends in cam
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Old 05-05-2005, 01:23 PM   #11
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blogie, I won't go into the various types of impression fraud and how they are achieved, I will mention one of them just to give you an idea of what it is since you said you still aren't sure what it is.

Telling about this particular one shouldn't really be a big help to anyone who doesn't know what it is since this is the most common and most widely known and probably the most easy to detect. But, in the "old" days of the internet this is how it started and what was done.

People would simply reload a particular page over and over and over again by hitting the reload (refresh) button.

So, for example, if they were trying to cheat something that was paying $5.00 CPM, they would reload the page until it had been loaded 1,000 times and they would then have themselves $5.00.

So many of the CPM rates eventually became so low that some found it too much work to do this. But still some continued.

As time passed it became rather easy to detect this type of impression fraud and people tried other methods and they are probably working on new methods to try to get something that they really don't deserve.

On your personal experience with AdSense, I obviously don't know what happened.

A while back I started this thread called "How Google detects click fraud" http://www.geekvillage.com/forums/sh...threadid=26348

It gave some broad information but not detailed specific information. However, reading it would give a person a better idea of some of what was involved. I didn't post it to help people cheat and if I felt it would I wouldn't have posted it.

Often when people are kicked out they are upset because Google doesn't tell them why and they don't understand why Google doesn't get specific.

There are lots of people in this world who are very dishonest and are looking for easy ways to get money. For some stealing is an easy way.

If Google told every person who asked the reason they were kicked out and how they knew it, that would help those dishonest people find ways to cheat and possibly get away with it for a while. They just can't give people that information even though people want it.

There have been a lot of very good ways for people to make money online however many of them came to an end because of the damage done to them by dishonest people.

Google is loaded with money, so they can make it through difficult situations. But the fact of the matter is they have given publishers a very good way to make money and it is one of the best in several years. Google has to protect the advertisers who are spending their money and not allow them to waste their money because of some type of fraud.

Some innocent people might be caught up in all of this. By innocent I mean they didn't do anything with knowledge or intent of fraud. Some people just might not completely understand how things work and not fully understand the terms of service.

Here is a good example. You go to the home of a friend or relative and while there you sign on to your AdSense account and check your stats.

You later get to talking to your friend or relative about your website and you show it to them. A few days later they are looking at your site and see an AdSense ad that they like and they click on it. They just simply liked the ad and don't know the first thing about AdSense or how it works and they aren't trying to do anything to help you get more money. They might do it once or twice more during the week.

Guess what .... As far as Google is concerned YOU have now clicked on your own ads and that is something you aren't suppose to do.

This whole problem started because you used the computer of the friend or relative to check your AdSense stats, so to Google this is your computer.

This could be a case where Google could kick you out and you would say you didn't do anything wrong and have no idea what happened.

I could give other types of examples of how things could happen and someone not be aware of them. A person just needs to be fully aware of how things work and have as good of an understanding as possible in order to try to avoid potential problems.

When Google makes their CPM model generally available, it is probably going to be very generous and pay more than what is being paid by some of the other CPM offers. There will be some people who will try on purpose to come up with new ways to try to cheat and a great deal of them will get caught.

If there weren't so many dishonest people Google wouldn't need to have the kind of rules that it has. But the sad thing is that there are dishonest people and they create so many problems for other people. The proper blame for most of what Google does that upsets some people who are kicked out really needs to be placed on the dishonest people that Google has to fight against. People should be angry at them rather than Google.

Last edited by Larwee; 05-05-2005 at 06:56 PM.
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