Pay-Per click fraud dates back even from the time when Overture was still Goto.com. Only, it wasn’t as serious as it is lately since the pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is becoming very popular for getting highly targeted traffic as well as making an affiliate-based commission.
So, what’s pay-per click fraud?
In an ideal world, you and I will pay a fee to a site that offers PPC program and hosts our ads whenever those ads are being clicked by a visitor. The visitor then examines our site and eventually makes a purchase. We make money.
In click-fraud-world as it is nowadays, those clicks that you and I pay for are not coming from potential customers. But from scam artists, automated scripts known as “hitbots”, underhanded competitors, and even affiliates that just click on our ads in order to earn commission offered by the PPC providers. We lose money.
Fraudulent clicks or “click spam” can be defined as any kind of click that occurs with zero possibility for a conversion to occur, or a website visit not being originated by a legitimate user. Fraudulent clicks happen on a regular basis – even more than what we could possibly imagine.
India Times published a shocking article about a mother who gets down to work every evening while holding a baby in her lap. She is clicking on PPC advertisements. She doesn’t care about the ads, but diligently keeps count – it’s $0.18 to $0.25 per click. PPC Clicks
“The trend is catching up in India,” – says Goutam Rakshit, chairman, Advertising Council of India – “It’s a numbers game as far as media buying is concerned. And anybody who can manipulate numbers gets the edge. This is unethical, and needs to be curbed.”
John Squire, the vice president for product marketing for Coremetrics, estimated that his company’s clients are spending approximately $10 million a year on fraudulent clicks. They are spending about $10 million on consumers that don’t exist.
How much are you paying for customers that don’t exist?
If you think your PPC campaign funds are depleting due to a fraudulent click activity, affiliate-generated fraudulent activity, or if you are simply suspicious of the traffic that occurs without any increase in sales – then perhaps you need to start getting tougher with your PPC analysis.
You can always ask for refund from the PPC provider running your campaign if you have suspected a fraudulent click activity. But, you won’t get the refund unless you have hard core facts to prove it.
And now, let’s get down to the facts.
1a. On a less technical note, define a unique URL for the sales page that will go through the PPC program. Clone your sales page and save it under a different URL.
If your page is selling vitamins for an example, and lets say your URL is hotvitamins.com, save it as hotvitamins.com/power. Or, create a sub-domain, such as power.hotvitamins.com.
Then, use this “cloned” sales page for your PPC campaign. That way, the only traffic coming to that page is from the PPC website. Only, do not link this new URL to any other website. You want to have 100% pure PPC traffic so you can keep an eye on it.