What is click fraud?
Click fraud is an internet crime in which a person, computer program, or automated script is maliciously used to register clicks on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Click fraud is a crime because every click is a cost to the advertiser, even though the clicks come from people who are not interested in the product or service being advertised.
In its simplest form, a person can be click fraud by using various computers - such as a work computer - to click on ads they have placed on a personal website. This basic click fraud and soliciting friends and family to click on ads usually isn't big enough to affect businesses that pay for online ads.
Programme und Skripte können jedoch schnell ein Advertising budget aufbrauchen, während sie im Gegenzug wenig oder keinen Umsatz erzielen. Zu den Parteien, die Klickbetrug betreiben können, gehören:
Advertisers Competitors: The competitors who are in the same advertiser space are using their power to interrupt the advertiser's advertising campaign by clicking the ads even though they have no intention of buying the products. That way, the competitors can't win directly, but they can hurt the advertisers by essentially wasting their advertising budgets.
Ad networks: Clicks on an ad equates to more revenue for the ad network serving the ad. This means that there is very little incentive to track down click fraud and more than a little pressure to put in place click networks in order to maximize the revenue from a given advertising campaign.
Ad-Driven Websites: Websites that offer free content and make their money from ad revenue shared with the advertising networks can set up click scams for the obvious reasons that drive sales.
However, in the case of ad networks and ad-supported websites, click fraud can quickly hit a wall of diminishing returns. Most companies running advertising campaigns independently track metrics such as click-through conversions (that is, visitors divided by an increase in product sales) to review value rounds spent on specific networks or websites. If these numbers are watered down by click fraud, the advertiser will likely charge a lower rate or stop using high-performing websites or networks.
Aside from this natural check for click fraud, there are complications associated with defining an invalid click and reviewing and tracking click fraud incidents. In most cases, suspected click fraud networks are more likely to be sued than criminal cases.