Click Fraud Report
Click fraud is a from of Internet crime that occurs in pay per click online advertising when a person, automated script, or computer program imitates usage of a legitimate user of a web browser clicking on an ad, for the purpose of generating a charge per click without having actual interest in the target of the ad’s link.
Unlike advertising in traditional media such as billboards and print publications, "cost per click" Internet ads displayed with specific keyword searches have been promoted as a definitive way for companies to gauge their exposure to potential customers. As a result, U.S. sales from advertiser-paid search results are expected to grow to $7.5 Billion by 2010.
Use of a computer to commit this type of Internet fraud is a felony in most States, for example Penal code 502 in California, USA, and the Computer Misuse Act 1990 in the UK. There have been arrests relating to click fraud with regard to malicious clicking in order to deplete a competitor’s advertising budget.
Click fraud is the subject of some controversy and increasing litigation due to the advertising networks – especially Google and Yahoo – being a main beneficiary of the fraud whether they like it or not. Law enforcement officials say a California man created a software program that he claimed could let spammers bilk Google out of millions of dollars in fraudulent clicks. Authorities said he was arrested while trying to blackmail Google for $150,000 to hand over the program. He was indicted by a California jury in June.
But one form of click fraud can not be detected by the search engines or authorities. New advertisers frequently check the search engine results to see if their listings indeed show up. More often than not the advertiser will find competitors in front of him and click on their listings. No program will be able to prevent this natural response.