4 thoughts on “BusinessWeek Covers Click Fraud”

  1. This is the best a ‘zine like BusinessWeek can do?

    I clicked through to the article expecting to learn of some revealing inside baseball about how Google and Yahoo may have been “found out” as misleading their customer base and the public about how widespread click fraud might really be in the face of the oft repeated montras from the two that it’s not as bad as people/groups try to make it out to be…it’s exagerrated…less than 1% of clicks…we do our best to monitor and refund if found out and so on and so forth.

    The BusinessWeek cover story, no less, is no more than anything else we’ve read in the past. It’s re-hased and they talked to few different people that claim similar experiences on both ends of the click fraud equation.

    Nothing new.

    This is BusinessWeek?

    I’m surprised that a magazine of this stature that must have a staff of people that reveiwed this didn’t ask themselves and each other if this story covers any new ground on this topic.

    They must.

    If they did, and I’m sure they did, how could they have come to any other conclusion than “…this covers no new ground and reveals nothing new about the topic that isn’t already known”.

    That being obvious why would they have run the story, let alone make it the cover story?


  2. I agree that it did not cover any new ground and was surprised to see them run a story like that on there cover, makes me wonder what was behind the story, did the magazine or its Parent company feel it was defrauded somehow by bad clicks?

  3. The article missed a fundamental concept: When you run ads via Google AdWords or Yahoo Search Marketing, you are actually purchasing search engine advertising AND contextual advertising, unless you actively opt out of the latter. If the search engines didn’t automatically opt advertisers into running content ads, there’d be less furor over click fraud. At the same time, advertisers need to be more aware of what they’re purchasing. Caveat emptor!

    Here are some steps I think Google should take to address click fraud and improve their AdWords platform for advertisers:
    1) Put up a wall between search and content ads
    2) Provide more control for the search network

    Right now, you can create a keyword-targeted or a site-targeted campaign. I think there should be 3 choices:
    1) keyword-targeted search
    2) keyword-targeted content
    3) site-targeted content

    This would, effectively, put up a wall between search and content. It would be clear to an advertiser what they were purchasing and it wouldn’t commingle stats across the 2 networks. Clicks and impressions combined for search and content ads are useless.

    Google’s done a good job of evolving the content network. They introduced features like separate content bids, site exclusion and site-targeting. The same sort of features should be enabled for the search network. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to block search partner sites that are sending low quality traffic?

    In the meantime, advertisers can minimize the risk of click fraud by structuring their AdWords accounts appropriately. For example, ads could be duplicated across 3 campaigns: 1 for Google, 1 for search network and 1 for content network. The budgets for search network and content network could then be managed independently of the more trusted ads run on Google directly. Likewise CPC bids could be lower on those networks and unique tracking could be placed on the landing pages to know which network traffic was originating from. This would be useful, for example, to see whether traffic from domain parking was coming from search or content ads. Note that ads on domain parking is another area that Google needs to be forthcoming about.

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