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Company Claims 80% of Facebook Ad Clicks Are From Bots

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the where-are-all-the-people dept.

Facebook 402

pitchpipe writes "A start-up company, Limited Run, claims that 80% of its ad clicks on Facebook have been coming from bots and will be deleting their page. Their Facebook page reads: 'Hey everyone, we're going to be deleting our Facebook page in the next couple of weeks, but we wanted to explain why before we do ... We built our own analytic software. Here's what we found: on about 80% of the clicks Facebook was charging us for, JavaScript wasn't on ... The 80% of clicks we were paying for were from bots. That's correct. Bots were loading pages and driving up our advertising costs.'"

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402 comments

WTF Apple?!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823113)

So I've been trying out OS X Mountain Lion and here [imageshack.us] is a screenshot of my desktop. LOL how could anyone *really* work like this? Apple is clearly integrating the wrong aspects of iOS into OSX.

Re:WTF Apple?!? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823133)

Don't go there, porno image.

Re:WTF Apple?!? (2)

watice (1347709) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823193)

dammit. too little too late. that'll be forever ingrained in my oh nvm. my brain has ARC

Re:WTF Apple?!? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823313)

LOL. I wasn't going to click until I read your comment.. i saw porno and clicked. you should have been more specific.. its gay porno... not my thing.

Re:WTF Apple?!? (4, Informative)

s.petry (762400) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823203)

Can a mod delete that link please? This is most surely against TOS and may get people fired from work if using /. at work.

Re:WTF Apple?!? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823281)

Unless your a porn posting AC?

Re:WTF Apple?!? (2)

s.petry (762400) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823473)

I'm not sure what you are getting at. If a person opens a porn picture at work, in most cases they can be fired. Since this is not hosted a pr0n site, it will make it past many proxies and filters. All it will take is for someone to see their screen and report them, proxy/FW logs will do the rest.

Re:WTF Apple?!? (5, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823503)

There's a pretty simple fix for that issue. Don't click on random links while at work. Geeknet doesn't give two fucks that you did something that stupid.

Each user, by using Geeknet Sites, may be exposed to Content that is offensive, indecent or objectionable. Each user must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with the use of any Content, including any reliance on the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of such Content.

Re:WTF Apple?!? (2)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823293)

This is most surely against TOS

You would be wrong:

Geeknet does not control the Content posted to the Geeknet Sites and, as such, does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity or quality of such Content. Under no circumstances will Geeknet be liable in any way for any Content, including, but not limited to, liability for any errors or omissions in any Content or for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any Content posted, emailed or otherwise transmitted via Geeknet Sites.

Re:WTF Apple?!? (0)

s.petry (762400) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823513)

Under no circumstances will Geeknet be liable in any way for any Content, including, but not limited to, liability for any errors or omissions in any Content

So if the link is broken it would be fine due to: "any errors or omissions in any Content"

Re:WTF Apple?!? (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823559)

You misunderstand the clause. It's a disclaimer against users posting what could be legally ruled as libelous content. It has nothing to do with preventing morons from clicking porn links.

Re:WTF Apple?!? (2)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823301)

Oops forgot this last part:

Each user, by using Geeknet Sites, may be exposed to Content that is offensive, indecent or objectionable. Each user must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with the use of any Content, including any reliance on the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of such Content.

Re:WTF Apple?!? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823333)

Can a mod delete that link please?

No.. Homey don't censor... Learn how to tune out.

Re:WTF Apple?!? (5, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823375)

And only an idiot clicks on random image links when they are at work...

Re:WTF Apple?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823485)

Can a mod delete that link please? This is most surely against TOS and may get people fired from work if using /. at work.

Surely somebody who's been around long enough to have a six-digit UID would know that things don't get deleted around here.

Set your threshold higher and move on with your life.

And if people were concerned about getting fired at their jobs they wouldn't be perusing Slashdot comments on company time anyway.

Re:WTF Apple?!? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823523)

Oh boy, don't you remember when goatse was rickrolled into slashdot 100 times every day?

If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823119)

If you don't have javascript, you're a bot?

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (5, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823135)

Since the ads require Javascript to be visible, yes. If you don't believe me just disable Javascript on Facebook and watch as all the ads disappear until you reenable it.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (1, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823159)

I wouldn't know, I don't have an account.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823201)

Why? What are you trying to hide?

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823221)

Obviously that he's a mass murderer.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (0)

Krojack (575051) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823519)

I just shit myself laughing. +mod points if I could.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (5, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823213)

Murderer!!!!

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823309)

Or vagina?

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823427)

So you had to feel just a little more smug and holier than thou by adding that, instead of just keeping your stupid, uninformed opinions to yourself. If you don't have a facebook account, then you are absolutely irrelevant to the topic at hand, and thus the comments associated with it.

Well, hope it made you feel just a little bit better about yourself, because now all the readers of your self-ego-stroking comment will associate you with 'smug asshole' to counter it.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823183)

Maybe they're bots with credit cards, who knew. Me thinks the SEC may find this interesting.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823195)

There's also a statistical problem if 80% of Facebook users supposedly don't have Javascript enabled, especially if it's 80% of those who click ads.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (0)

Jahf (21968) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823207)

I wonder if some of this isn't really being caused by how popular it is to block ads via extensions. I use AdBlock Plus and Do Not Track Plus. I'd be willing to be I appear very much like the "no Javascript bot" to their analytics program.

Then again, since I never see the Facebook ad that they are worried about, maybe not.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (2)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823251)

I'd be willing to be I appear very much like the "no Javascript bot" to their analytics program.

Sure, if you were also registering ad clicks when you had Javascript disabled.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (5, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823287)

on about 80% of the clicks Facebook was charging us for, JavaScript wasn't on

You (a human) wouldn't be able to click on the ads if you couldn't see them in the first place.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823231)

OK so apparently JavaScript creates the links...so how is it possible to click a link that isn't there because javascript isn't on? Sounds like a catch-22.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823459)

you've never used wget have you?

1. Download the page the ad appears in
2. Download the javascripts using the referral page
3. grep the javascripts for links
4. hit all the links
Repeat.

So if you want to burn a specific company, you only click their ads. Since Facebook is the beneficiary of the ads, this is clearly facebook's problem. Go back in time to the ad scam eFront ran"
http://www.echostation.com/efront/
http://news.cnet.com/A-question-of-numbers/2009-1023_3-255030.html

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (5, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823421)

Since the ads require Javascript to be visible, yes. If you don't believe me just disable Javascript on Facebook and watch as all the ads disappear until you re-enable it.

So, that's a feature, right?

Or, You Know... (0, Troll)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823557)

We could be running noscript set to trust facebook but not any random page we click on. Most people with that configuration will trust pages they spend a lot of time on. 'Course then we're probably also running adblock and still don't see ads.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823147)

Generally ads won't produce anything you can click w/o it. I don't see any ads here, but then I also run sans images. As a matter of fact, the last time I saw an ad on the internet was... can't recall.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (5, Informative)

Yaur (1069446) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823149)

The percentage of real users with javascript disabled is much lower than 80%... so if these numbers are real It seems reasonable that the bulk of them are bots.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823367)

Or maybe the only people brave enough to click on the links are the ones who run NoScript.

I know that I'm more likely to click on suspicious links now that I run NoScript.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (2)

networkBoy (774728) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823449)

Aside from if you had NoScript you wouldn't see the ad (it appears it is JS generated?) how many people run NoScript but don't also run AdBlockPlus?
-nB

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823151)

I must be a bot then! I never run javascript. NoScript is just an evil bot extension, that must be it! ;)

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (5, Informative)

boristdog (133725) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823155)

RTFA. They did the analysis. 98-99% of their direct-clicks had javascript. 0nly 20% of the ones from Facebook had javascript.

Sorry if I RTFA. I'll try not to next time.

Upshot: Facebook stock tanks again.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (1, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823501)

Upshot: Facebook stock tanks again.

Why? This is a nonevent (even if it is true.) It's like proving that 80% of TV ads air when people are out of the room. It does nothing to change the basic equation of how advertisers decide whether to place ads, which is: place some ads, see if your sales go up enough to justify the cost; if so, buy more... and so forth. If it's mostly bots, then the amount advertisers are willing to pay will go down in proportion to how much bot "views" go up (or as people simply grow insensitive to the ads, or don't have enough disposable income to buy the product, etc etc).

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823553)

I wonder if we'll see riots if they suddenly shut down, and everybody flies off to Rio. Better back up your shit. It can all go up in a puff of smoke. Been known to happen.. or no?

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (1)

artg (24127) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823161)

Either a bot, or an intelligent user who won't read the adverts. Same result for the advertiser.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823163)

in all likely hood yes, average is 1 in 50 have java disabled

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823465)

Java != Javascript

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (4, Informative)

MtHuurne (602934) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823169)

Nowhere near 80% of Facebook users has noscript active or otherwise disabled JavaScript; TFA says this number is about 1-2%.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (4, Informative)

funtapaz (1406785) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823173)

If you're an average user, you don't disable javascript. I think that's the logic here. There was a large discrepancy between the number of views without javascript, and what one would expect for a normal sample of internet users.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823197)

No.

If 80% of your click traffic isn't running javascript, then something is rotten. The general populace isn't running noscript, I guarantee that. The article says about 1%-2% of traffic has javascript disabled. I number anyone in web dev has no trouble believing. 80% means there's something drastically, drastically wrong with the traffic.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823199)

All that AJAX needs the J - Javascript. Doubt you can run facebook without javascript.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (1)

Latissimus (2629263) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823239)

If you don't have javascript, you're a bot?

That's just a claim to distract you from the short position their friends took out on FB just before the post!

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (3, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823337)

No.

Read their actual page on facebook linked in the summary. Only 1-2% of their traffic were of the 'no script' variety (which is actually between 5 and 10% of their legitimate traffic), the 80% is bots they couldn't find the source of.

Now the things I'm not sure of here, is how much they were spending on advertising in the first place, and how many clicks they were getting. As part of their own writeup they say 2k/month on facebook advertising was way more than they wanted to pay for a name change. That's fair enough, but then how much were they paying? Which leads into the second point, how many clicks are we talking about here? If there are say 80 bots (or even 800) that just are always out there trolling pages, and you only get 100 hits, or 1000 hits or whatever, then sure, you're getting hit for 80% bots, but your cost has to be pretty low too. If you're getting a million hits and 800k of them are bots then there's a very serious problem, but then if you're getting a 200k legitimate page views maybe 2000 bucks a month is reasonable (depends a lot on what your business does).

Facebook does run, and needs to run bots on its service, if part of the cost of doing business with them is paying for when the bots are hitting your page to verify that you're in compliance that's fine, just as long as facebook is up front about how often those bots should hit your page and therefore how much you're paying. On the other hand, if it's a bot farm selling services to a SEO or something then you have a very different problem.

Re:If you don't have javascript, you're a bot? (1)

AdamWill (604569) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823461)

Read the original post. At first the high level of JS-disabled 'users' was just a cause for suspicion, they went into more detailed analysis and verified that those 'users' really were bots.

Yes, but don't call them that (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823121)

It's rude.

Zuckered in (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823123)

I wouldn't put it past that Jew if that's how he made most of his money.

Javascript turned off? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823137)

Noscript makes me a cyborg?

Re:Javascript turned off? (5, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823153)

No, but you also won't be clicking on the ads since they are no longer visible without Javascript.

Re:Javascript turned off? (0)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823317)

You could have javascript enabled for facebook but not for the target site.

One day it might actually sink in (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823141)

Ad rotator services and click-throughs are WORTHLESS.

The internet gives you the power to directly connect with people and most companies still only understand advertising through broadcasting which is like tossing thousands of coins waiting for one to land on its edge.

I hope they've learnt their lesson before someone actually punches their monkey.

Re:One day it might actually sink in (1)

pipatron (966506) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823297)

This is of course true, but one problem is that these companies largely pay for a lot of our interwebsites today, through meaningless ads for irrelevant products.

Re:One day it might actually sink in (2, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823415)

This is of course true, but one problem is that these companies largely pay for a lot of our interwebsites today, through meaningless ads for irrelevant products.

Meaningless ads for irrelevant products, featured on pointless websites.
Rip it all out, and nothing of value would be lost.

Fuck ads and fuck any person, company, industry, etc. that relies on them.

Re:One day it might actually sink in (3, Informative)

networkBoy (774728) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823497)

I don't rely on them, but I have a handful of ads on my websites. They barely pay the bandwidth, but pay they do. If ads went away I doubt I'd drop my sites, but I would have to consider just what content I'd put up.
-nB

Nice finding, hope some could confirm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823145)

Amazing, amusing and probably very powerful if proven true ...

Re:Nice finding, hope some could confirm (5, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823185)

It's easy to confirm. Disable Javascript on Facebook and the ads disappear. It's pretty unlikely most people are disabling Javascript then finding alternative means to click the ads anyway unless they're a bot.

Re:Nice finding, hope some could confirm (2)

icebraining (1313345) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823411)

Well, if they're using NoScript they could have Facebook's scripts enabled but not this company's. That said, it's very unlikely that they'd be more than 1% or so.

I'm not surprised. (5, Interesting)

Rob from RPI (4309) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823157)

Facebook is a TERRIBLE advertising platform. I've tried it, and had nothing but rubbish. In fact, I read an article about it not long after I tried it, saying that Facebook Advertising just doesn't work, and the only way they keep it up is by new people going 'Well, all these other people are advertising, I'm sure I can try that too'. Then they give it up as a bad job, but not before someone ELSE sees it and goes 'Hmm. FB Advertising'...

So, basically, I wasted $50, and learned that trying to appeal to the facebook crowd with something they have to pay for just doesn't work.

Re:I'm not surprised. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823229)

$50 ? I don't think that is an adequate sample size to determine anything. Maybe $5000 to get any good stats.

Re:I'm not surprised. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823307)

yup - its shocking that a really profitable company does shady business practices. NEVER seen that before.

Re:I'm not surprised. (2)

clem.dickey (102292) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823419)

It is not surprising that people don't see the ads. The traditional Facebook page (I have not seen Timeline) has four columns, three of which can be entirely ignored.

I find myself developing a unique "blind spot" for every common page with static ad placement. It's hard for me to find the ads even when I want to browse them.

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823171)

I have never met anyone that clicked an ad.

Re:Duh (1)

pipatron (966506) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823323)

I have once clicked an ad from google in gmail. I think it was about 1U linux servers. It was pretty relevant at the time.

Wait.. so... deleting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823179)

Deleting their page is the answer? Why not just keep their page up, and not pay for clicks?

Re:Wait.. so... deleting? (2)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823399)

Because they are upset with facebook for this issue as well as a completly unrelated issue where they changed their company name, but facebook won't let them change the name of their page for less than 20 k in ad purchases.

Really. There are large costs associated with company name changes. That is not news. Anyone else starting a buisness would be advised to choose a name they really want before lanching, or pay the associated costs.

Cui bono? (1, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823191)

Only Facebook would benefit.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Evidence, or STFU please.

Re:Cui bono? (5, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823227)

Simple. Go to Facebook and disable Javascript. Ads are now no longer visible. How else other than through a bot or some extra effort do you guess that these ads are being clicked when the ads aren't visible?

Re:Cui bono? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823377)

I think the parent was asking for proof that they were actually getting clicks from bots. That would include more than just seeing if ads were visible with javascript disabled, like actual third party verification that they had clicks with javascript off.

Re:Cui bono? (5, Informative)

MRe_nl (306212) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823345)

"For the past week, I've been running a very successful small business via Facebook. It is called VirtualBagel and more than 3,000 people from around the world have decided they "like" it - despite the fact that it does, well, absolutely nothing. But in running this non-existent firm I have learned quite a bit about the value of those "likes" prized by so many big brands, and the usefulness of Facebook's advertising".> http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18819338 [bbc.com]

Re:Cui bono? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823477)

I always assumed the value of being 'liked' was in either access to some info about the users that like your product or just more presence on their page or something.

Surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823211)

Surprise, surprise. Wasn't it obvious? I have clicked an ad on the Internet once in 6 months.

No loss (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823261)

And no surprise. Facebook is going to suffer a dramatic stock-price crash in the near future. Too bad all the sheep have already bough into the scam.

Re:No loss (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823397)

Too bad all the sheep have already bough into the scam.

You really feel bad for someone who thought it was a good idea to buy Facebook at $38/share? Do you also feel bad when gamblers, err sorry, I meant "commodity speculators", take a loss? You felt sorry for the Duke brothers in Trading Places, didn't you? Poor Randolph and Mortimer.

Publish their data? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823295)

That's correct. Bots were loading pages and driving up our advertising costs. So we tried contacting Facebook about this. Unfortunately, they wouldn't reply. Do we know who the bots belong too? No. Are we accusing Facebook of using bots to drive up advertising revenue. No. Is it strange? Yes. But let's move on, because who the bots belong to isn't provable.

If they'd publish their access log data from the bot hits, I bet someone out there can help track down the source.

Re:Publish their data? (0)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823545)

yeah why would facebook need _bots_ to drive fake numbers up?
if they have a competitor.. now for them it would be beneficial.

seems like a publicity stunt since: IF YOU DON'T WANT PAID ADVERT CLICKS DON'T FUCKING BUY THEM! no need to delete the page..

What did you expect? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823329)

Facebook have been lying through the teeth for years.

It is all slowly coming out. Your time is limited, Facebook.
Users hate the site, users are leaving, the advertising platform is a laughable mess, you just wrecked your own friend (Zynga) in the app market changes, you overvalued your company and everyone is realizing how all these previous things are really so awful.
Won't miss it one bit.

Them bots sure are cheap (4, Insightful)

greg1104 (461138) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823347)

With some Facebook bots starting at $30 [freelancer.com] to $50 [freelancer.com] to build, of course people are doing that. Facebook has bigger [yahoo.com] problems [zerohedge.com] than giving a crap about this company's complaints or requests. If our SEC wasn't a toothless corporate captive, the company would already have been halted for securities abuse.

Scam in action... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823361)

All you have to do is look at Amazon's Mechanical Turk to see the scam in operation. It works mostly like this:

1. Bot head writes a piece of automated software

2. Bot head hires gullible people on Mechanical Turk (or other job boards like craigs list) promising them thousands of dollars a month just to do semi-automated actions. But they don't get checks, they get Amazon gift cards to side-step tax reporting.

3. Bot head owns various sites that the ads run on, and is either paying people to plagarize content from other sites to contextualize high paying ads, or paying people to run their bot software to click on the ads.

It's not too different from high-speed algrorithmic trading in the stock market.

I don't doubt it (5, Insightful)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823379)

We use adwords from time to time and had similar experiences a few years back with the "content network".

We analyzed our stats and even went as far as manually browse access logs. The hits we got were crap just like the sites most of the referrals came from.

There is a huge sesspool of scum on the Internet funded by leeching off ad revenue wherever it exists.

If companies are not on top of it and not careful about how they are spending their advertising dollars this kind of fraud could easily eat into a sizable chunk of their budgets and they might not even know it.

Do your homework before you throw your money away.

OMG!! (4, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823429)

The 80% of clicks we were paying for were from bots. That's correct. Bots were loading pages and driving up our advertising costs.

Advertising on the Internet is based on click-fraud. Where have you been for the last 10 years?

Follow The Money (4, Insightful)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823443)

Who profits from BOTS pumping the FACEBOOK advertising system?

In practice it will be effectively impossible to identify the person-or-company who is *originally* responsible for this clickvertising pumping scheme.

But I know who I'd be betting on.

Re:Follow The Money (3, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823529)

why would it be impossible?

A court-issued search warrant is all you need. Seize and look through Facebook server logs.

But the IPO (3, Funny)

Loughla (2531696) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823463)

and subsequent public trading of Facebook are both good ideas, and this company's shares are definitely not overvalued. . . . . .

I have this suspicion... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823469)

...that the reason stupid Facebook games make you click your mouse so damned much is that they are "piggybacking" fake ad-clicks on everything that you do.

The same Bots click on Slashdot ads! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40823511)

No real person would click on some of the crap ads there are here!

Lack of Analytics (5, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | about a year and a half ago | (#40823555)

However much truth there is in this story, there's one notable thing about Facebook's advertising. It's that they don't- or at least didn't the last time I looked into it (late 2011 IIRC)- provide any proper tracking or analytics service that you can easily integrate into your own website. Yes, they'd tell you how many clicks you got on your Facebook page, but so what?

IIRC apparently they'd had some analytics/tracking code available at one point but *supposedly* they were worried about the data it provided being misinterpreted, so they withdrew it. They were still providing it, but only to their large corporate customers. Hmm.

One could still use specialised third-party tracking solutions, but (e.g.) getting it to work properly with Google analytics proved more complicated than it might at first have appeared, involving faffing about with funnels and the like (which I still don't think I got working properly, as I was distracted by more important things shortly afterwards).

Given that this was around the time stories were starting to come out explaining how Facebook- which everyone had assumed would be the holy grail of targeted advertising- was in truth delivering very poor results for advertisers, a cynic might assume that it really wasn't in Facebook's interest to make keeping close tabs on the effectiveness of its advertising easy for customers. This might or might not have been the case, but I'm pretty sceptical.
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