Google is involved in a click fraud defensive PR campaign, while continuing to refuse third-party independent click fraud audits, says Donna Bogatin at ZD Net.
Google, which says it loses $1 billion a year to click fraud, has announced that it will soon let advertisers specify that they don’t want ads purchased through Google displayed to users at specific Internet Protocol addresses, strings of numbers that identify computers or other devices on the Internet.
Sounds like to me like this takes a lot of responsibility for preventing click fraud away from Google, and there’s no way that can be good for advertisers.
Advertisers might ban IP addresses if they suspect that users associated with specific IP addresses are clicking on their ads with ill intent, something known in the industry as click fraud. Blocking IP addresses could thwart competitors or fraudsters.
The problem: IP addresses change all the time, and click fraud pros know how to manipulate them. When I sat next to a well-known spammer last year at a Search Engine Strategies lunch, he bragged that Google doesn’t shut him and others like him down because they make too much money through spammers.
This spammer, from Germany, said he and his buddies are not just tolerated, but loved by Google because they generate so much money for the big G. He’d flown to Search Engine Strategies in his private jet, and he claimed that he makes several thousand dollars a day in click fraud earnings.
Google forgoes roughly $1 billion in revenue due to click fraud according to ZDNet. Some click-fraud-fighting companies believe the practice is rampant, forces advertisers to pay an extra $16 billion a year, and that up to half of all ad clicks are fraudulent, according to Ben Charmy at Marketwatch.
Other new click-fraud initiatives Google announced include providing advertisers with a resource center to address questions and for Google to make available a standard way for advertisers and others to report click fraud.
The bottom line: Buying keyword advertising in Google is expensive, tricky, and, increasingly results in click fraud. I highly recommend blog advertising as an alternative. It’s obscenely cheap, remarkably targeted, and, with the right creative, yields great results.