Another major media story on click fraud this weekend, from the Washington Post. Nothing new that I can see, to be honest.
But I am left still scratching my head on this whole topic. There is no doubt that some folks take advantage of syndicated ad networks like Adsense and Overture to engage in fraudulent activities. But I spent a day down at Google recently, and among the meetings I had was a briefing with the folks responsible for leading Google’s click fraud detection. I found them earnest, believable, and utterly frustrated with many players in the SEO/SEM industry.
Why? Recall the kerfluffle over click fraud at SES this past August – when Google issued a report essentially debunking approaches taken by most click fraud detection firms – the very firms whose data underpins a lot of the media coverage of clickfraud? The major point of the report was, in short, that the very methods used to count click fraud were technically inaccurate.
Well, that report did cause some headlines, but since then, apparently, the firms have not been very forthcoming to Google about whether or not they are fixing their approaches, or even if they accept Google’s claims in the first place.
I was planning to get smarter on this before posting, but it seems the Post story has pushed the issue once again to the fore. My meeting was an initial overview, and I need to drill down and grok what I heard. More to come as I get it…