Clickfraud cost an estimated $800 million for advertisers in false hits last year, reports the Financial Times today, based on study by a media firm called Outsell.
And “more than a quarter of them have reduced their spending as a result…” Google, Yahoo and MSN, “have avoided putting a number on the incidence of click fraud but Outsell said it averaged 14.6 per cent of all clicks billed to advertisers, even after Google and others had filtered out those ones they believed to be invalid. The 14.6 per cent equates to $800m of the $5.5bn US search engine market in 2005.”
However the number could be off by magnitudes in either direction, Danny Sullivan points out that “half the advertisers in the survey also reported they do nothing to audit whether they have click fraud happening or not. So Outsell asked them to estimate the percentage of clicks that are fraudulant, and half of them essentially guessed — and that’s making up this industry stat? It could be far less or far more than this guesswork is stating.”