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How to avoid click fraud

Click fraud is becoming a major problem for online advertisers. If you advertise your web site on pay per click search engines such as Overture or Google AdWords, chances are that you pay way too much for your clicks.

What is click fraud?

Click fraud is the practice of artificially inflating the number of clicks in a pay per click online campaign.

Overture defines click fraud as clicks arising for reasons other than the good-faith intention of an Internet user to visit a web site to purchase goods or services or to obtain information.

Google defines click fraud, or invalid clicks, as any method used to artificially and/or maliciously generate clicks or page impressions.

No matter how you define it, click fraud means that someone is cheating you and that you pay too much for your pay per click campaigns.

Who are these people?

There are three main groups that click on pay per click ads without real interest in the offered goods:

  • People who joined Google AdSense or other per click affiliate programs click on the ads on their own web site to make a little income. Often, these people cooperate with other webmasters to click on each other's ads.
  • Some unethical companies click on the pay per click ads of competitors to drive up their advertising costs.
  • Companies (often in India, Russia and China) hire people who are paid to click on ads.

Is this really a big problem?

No pay per click company denies that pay per click fraud exists. According to some web analytics companies, as much as 50% of all click activity is fraudulent.

This means that your pay per click marketing activities are half effective as they could be because of click fraud.

What can you do to save money?

The best way to lower your pay per click advertising costs is to optimize your current ads so that they deliver a better return-on-investment.

There are many things you can do to improve the effectiveness of your pay per click ads. Details can be found in our Google AdWords eBook.

In addition to useful information that helps you to lower your advertising costs while increasing your profits, the eBook contains a list of keywords that attract click fraudsters and information on how to avoid click fraud.

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January 2005 search engine articles