Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on January 19th, 2007

Should I worry about click fraud? – Don’t Pay for Bogus Clicks

Click Fraud is a huge problem in the online search world. According to Business Week Online, click fraud is: "...a dizzying collection of scams and deceptions that inflate advertising bills for thousands of companies of all sizes. The spreading scourge poses the single biggest threat to the Internet's advertising gold mine and is the most nettlesome question facing Google and Yahoo, whose digital empires depend on all that gold."

How It Works

Getting ripped off is easier than you might think. Here's a very common scenario:

  1. Buy Pay Per Click Ads using Adwords or Yahoo Paid Search.
  2. Be sure to check "syndicate my ads" so that your ads are shown all over their network of affiliated websites.
  3. Your ad shows up on dozens or even hundreds of websites all over the internet.
  4. The owners of those websites get paid anytime someone clicks on your ad so...they click on your ad a bunch of times. (Or, more likely, they pay someone to do it while hiding the "click trail" so that the fraud goes undetected.)
  5. Your advertising bill goes up for those clicks even though you will never get any business from them.

What To Do About It

We have the solution for you. If you want to market online but don't want run the risk of fraud running up your ad bill then...

Don't Buy Pay Per Click Ads

Don't pay for clicks when you can get listed in the natural listings where the clicks are free. You'll get more traffic (and more qualified traffic) if you stick to natural SEO.

That's not to say that paid search doesn't have it's uses if you need very fast results. But it may be unwise to build a business strategy around an advertising mechanism that lends itself to easy fraud.