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Old 10th August 2004, 12:51 PM   #1
StupidScript
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Default Click Fraud

One of our biggest issues with PPC is click fraud. I would very much like to engage in discussions regarding:

1) How to detect it
2) How to quantify its expense
3) How to get refunds

I would also be interested in hearing anecdotes regarding how responsive major PPC engines have been to you in this regard, and to hear stories about the smaller PPC engines.

For the purposes of this thread, may I start by defining click fraud as "a PPC click which is not intended to fulfill the mission of the ad". This covers AdSense subscribers driving up their income, competitors driving down the balance of your account, and other activity which does not "fulfill the mission of the ad".

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Old 9th September 2004, 02:49 AM   #2
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Default Click Fraud

Click Fraud cases account for 15% of your PPC Budget - can u believe this!

Click Fraud cases can be broadly classified into:
1. Competitor clicks - employs bots or humans in a country with cheap labor to click on your ads. Watch out for a sudden and random increase in clicks.
2.CPC affiliate clicks - generated by PPC Partners from various locations

You should:
1. Have tracking URL's in place(keyword and group specific)
2. Have a visitor tracking mechanism in place - that works(-;
3. Have a conversion and page view analysis in place
4. Have a log analyzer for accessing internal log data
5. Compile data per kw,per SE, per group...check hourly click trends
6. Question when there is abnormal visitor or click spikes, one competitor drops out of listings or when there are clicks but no conversions(have the historical reference data ready)
7.Record all the data from logs, take screen shots, have comparison tables ready(past vs abnormal data)

Take it up with the SE's - show them evidence.

You can get more SE specific info :
1. https://adwords.google.com/select/faq/clickquality.html
2. http://www.content.overture.com/d/US...u/faq_as.jhtml

CAVEAT:

There can be multiple SE click fraud occurences too. What this means is that your competitor or "someone who doesnot want you to succeed" would take all the SE's where u are listed and get bots to click on all the links in different SE's parallely The only way this can be prevented is if(doubtful) the SE's collaborate.

Till now, there have been assurances but very little action to stop click frauds by the SE's.

Hope this helps

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Old 9th September 2004, 12:28 PM   #3
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PPCPro, you seem to be suggesting that we (or any PPC advertiser) needs to have a dedicated employee looking for click fraud evidence 24x7.

Have you no faith in the click abuse policies and technologies in place at OVT and GGL? They insist that click fraud is a nominal issue, due to the success of their anti-abuse programs.

Since they put these programs in place, it has been much more difficult to convince them click fraud is still happening, even with substantial evidence as you describe. It's like pulling teeth, getting a click fraud refund from those guys! Also, it often sucks up more time than it is worth.

(BTW, that is an excellent checklist of stuff to gather in support of a claim.)

For example, in a hypothetical but not far from real situation:

Say we discover a pattern which indicates to us that click fraud in our OVT accounts has been occuring to the tune of $500 for the current month (about 8% of our current monthly OVT spend). I spend 2 hours analysing the data to discover the pattern. I spend another 2 hours putting together supporting data to present to OVT. I then spend in the range of 5 hours getting someone at OVT to respond and working through the process of proving our claims and wading through the convincing process with several different OVT reps over the course of a week or so, until they finally agree to not charge us the $500 in the next billing cycle.

If my labor is costing my company $50/hour, I just added $450 to the cost of that click fraud. Our rebate is now net $50. Worth it? I don't think so.

Have your discovery-of-pattern/compilation-of-evidence/dealing-with-reps/rebate experiences taught you how to smooth the road? Would you please share with us?


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Old 10th September 2004, 01:15 AM   #4
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Default Click Fraud

Overture and Google have been taking serious steps towards click fraud prevention. However, till now, they have been marginally successful-at best. Click Fraud is a complicated animal... you need 24*7 monitoring and effective tools for capturing - recording - assimilating evidence - notifying SE's. Also, since SE's take time, you have to yourself take immediate preventive action. Its your money...

We have a 24*7 team thats managing campaigns, so it is not really an issue for us(surprisingly, our clients' competitors know this..and hence do not unnecessarily bother us). It is indeed time consuming.. but when u consider two simple piece of stats:
15% budget=click fraud
the average CPC in PPC SE has increased from 29cents to 36 cents in the past 8 months... we feel the effort put in is worth the time.

The process we follow:
1. Monitor 24*7
2. Analyze logs everyday ---> in case of any abnormal movement there is an alert thats triggered by our home-grown tool ----> our client account exec collects proof(takes upto 12 hours in certain cases)----> we contact our dedicated Google/Ov rep -----> In 70% we get refunds!

Hope this helps

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Old 10th September 2004, 04:43 PM   #5
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That does help, thank you.

I am curious, though, about:
Quote:
client account exec collects proof (takes upto 12 hours in certain cases)
Is your 15% so substantial that it pays to have one of your people spend up to 12 hours to get the refund? I don't want to pry, but that's a good chunk of labor cost. In our case, it just doesn't make money to spend that much time getting a rebate for click fraud.

Thanks again, PPCPro. I'm taking a good look at our own inhouse programming so see what I can do to build in some kind of alert system. It's the filters that slay me, what with the spiders and the AOL users switching IPs all the time.

Based on session IDs and IPs, primarily, I'm looking at (1) hits per hour, (2) time spent on pages, (3) "natural" movement through the site, and (4) excluding any visitor who received our "thank you" page, which is not linked but rather is pushed from a CGI app following form submission. Is this enough to detect fraud, reliably? (Big question, I know.)

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Old 10th September 2004, 11:24 PM   #6
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Default Click Fraud

We have the liberty of having a 30 people team working round the clock in our agency managing client campaigns.

It can indeed turn painful otherwise and expensive

Have a good weekend

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