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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Search engine click fraud as high as 30 per cent

Research recently published in's online publication, The Marketing Experiments Journal, concludes that up to 29.5 percent of paid search traffic may be fraudulent. That;s news which is unlikely to please advertisers who have turned to the increasingly popular type of online advertising as part of their marketing strategy.
"From our research, we found that it is unlikely an individual committing click fraud by clicking an ad over and over will go undetected by Google," said Flint McGlaughlin, director of MEC labs. "But our research also shows that when more sophisticated systems and software are used, only a small percentage of the fraud is detected, with fraud increasing proportionate to the bid price."

The click fraud research brief can be found at and outlines what click fraud is, how significant of a problem it is and how it can successfully be avoided.

The experiment was conducted in conjunction with Los Angeles-based and focused on three pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns running during a 10-day period in 2005. Duplicate clicks were determined by comparing IP addresses, language, browser settings, referring URL, time of click, operating system, browser plug-ins and country of origin.

"Our random sample of PPC campaigns uncovered as much as 29.5 percent PPC fraud and showed that Google was able to account for and credit only a tiny portion of those fraudulent charges," McGlaughlin said. "Whether it is click fraud or the lesser known impression fraud, these fraudulent clicks can cause a lot of damage to advertisers because it drains their budgets. Companies should be aware of how big of a problem it really is and be equipped to more aptly detect it." is an online research laboratory that determines which online strategies and tactics really work in Internet marketing. Results of its experiments are published for free online in The Marketing Experiments Journal.