The Advertisers' Bane: Click Fraud


 The Advertisers' Bane: Click Fraud

The Internet is a beautiful and wondrous place, but unfortunately, even it can't be immune to evils like click fraud. Once a potentially devastating issue for advertisers and publishers alike, this malicious practice has been all but eliminated thanks to advancements in technology. Read on to find out more about what click fraud is and how you can best protect your site from it!

Click fraud typically takes the form of automated internet robots called bots that pretend to be human visitors by clicking on advertisements or other links on webpages they are browsing. Clickbots are programmed specifically to rack up as many clicks as possible with little consequence or effort.

With click fraud, advertisers and publishers are not always aware that their ads are being clicked by bots. If an advertisement is clicked by a bot, it doesn't necessarily mean that a human visitor would have also clicked on it. This act is deemed as click fraud as there was no intent to buy or sell anything, while most of the time you won't even know that your webpages aren't being visited by humans.

With click fraud, the damages accrued from fake clicks could be very high. Publishers like Google and Facebook have agreed to pay out millions of dollars each year after discovering their websites were exploited by these bots in order to generate revenue for themselves or for other parties. Now, thankfully, most major ad networks are equipped to detect click fraud thanks to technology like site-detection algorithms that will detect site visitors that don't really exist.

How does click fraud work?

Click Fraud usually works in the following way: a criminal or a third party (such as a competitor) pays for clicks on their website using an automated script. The script will start visiting random websites and clicking on any advertisement that appears on the pages they are visiting. When the publisher views his statistics and sees an influx of visitors coming to his website from unknown sources, he thinks that his website has been featured somewhere and is generating more traffic and earnings as a result.

However, there is no such thing as organic traffic. Google and Facebook show you the amount of traffic that comes from organic search engines, but bots can also be programmed to visit your website. The spyware which is installed on your computer will work in the background causing different activities on your computer such as downloading files or creating new windows to help themselves create a feeling of being busy.

What Publishers Can Do to Prevent Click Fraud
Unfortunately, there's nothing that a publisher can do which completely prevents his site from becoming click-farmed by unscrupulous advertisers and bots. As previously mentioned, the bot will visit your page regardless of whether or not it is relevant for you or not. There really isn't a way that you can prevent your website from being visited without using the same technology used by everyone else.

However, there are ways that you can minimize the damage attributable to click fraud. You should always make sure that your site is only crawled by trusted and reputable search engines such as Google and Bing, and their spiders should have a visit log of no more than 48 hours. This will help to keep your legitimate visitors from getting confused with bots, while still allowing enough time for search engine spiders to look at your pages.

Click fraud is an issue that many websites face each and every day, but it can be easily prevented by using precautions such as the ones outlined above. If you run a website which is frequently visited by bots, make sure that you are monitoring your statistics and keeping a close eye on any suspicious traffic to know if click fraud has occurred.

The Advertisers' Bane: Click Fraud was last modified: by

Comments are closed. This post was updated on Monday 26th May 2018 at 13:00 pm GMT+1 [ARTICLE UPDATE DETAILS] The article has been updated with new information and fresh insights into click fraud. Additional sources have also been added to provide more details about this topic.

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