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Defining Clicks and Click Fraud

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the now-define-what-the-definition-of-'the'-is dept.


abb_road writes "Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have banded together and created the Click Measurement Group, with the goal of creating a standard definition for a 'click'. The group will have some access to the three companies' click data, although the access won't be unlimited. The move comes in response to advertisers who claim that click fraud is costing them almost $1 billion dollars a year, and who have hit Google and Yahoo with lawsuits alleging negligence in fighting click fraud."

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Might not be exactly the same... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15842597)

I say the advertisers on this page are getting frauded, I mean who reads dupes [] ?

I *like* dupes. (1, Insightful)

WilliamSChips (793741) | about 8 years ago | (#15842639)

I never caught this the first time around.

Re:I *like* dupes. (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | about 8 years ago | (#15842893)

>I never caught this the first time around.

And you didn't really miss anything.

Re:I *like* dupes. (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 8 years ago | (#15843216)

Why is this insightful?
The guy is making a perfectly valid point.

All the people whining about dupes need to chill out cos you lot will also be the first to complain if you dare to miss the front page for a day or so.

I'm a paying subscriber and you know what I normally do if I notice a story I've seen before?

I move onto the next one.

Re:I *like* dupes. (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | about 8 years ago | (#15844056)

The value of a story lies mostly in its comments. Sometimes dupes are interesting because new points are brought up, etc. However, if it's about evolution, you can give up any hopes of progress right.... now.

lol "dupes are ok as long as they benefit me" (1)

James A. V. Joyce (798462) | about 8 years ago | (#15845053)


Re:Might not be exactly the same... (3, Insightful)

gartogg (317481) | about 8 years ago | (#15842812)

This article is actually an interview with someone involved, and brings up substantially more issues than the previous post.

Not that Zonk, out wonderful poster, noticed this, as we can see from the fact that it isn't mentioned in the post.

Dupe? (0, Troll)

ralmeida (106461) | about 8 years ago | (#15842615)

Now only if we could join together to detect dupes...

Re:Dupe? (0, Offtopic)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 8 years ago | (#15843311)

Honestly I find it kind of funny they can get together on click fraud (which can seriously cost them money), but can't come together on a good solution for SPAM, or even the psuedo anonymity (SPF). I know that SPF isn't an antispam solution, it's a partial authentication solution.. but strong SPF requirements by MSN/Hotmail, Yahoo, GMail and AOL would force everyone to start sending email from where it belongs... IMHO it would be nice if email was required to come from an MX server for a given domain.. yeah, using SMTP Submit port (587) and SMTP authentication is *SO* hard.. :/

I know I've gone off topic, it just kinda irks me they can work together on this, but not spam.

Re:Dupe? (0, Offtopic)

CustomDesigned (250089) | about 8 years ago | (#15843930)

yeah, using SMTP Submit port (587) and SMTP authentication is *SO* hard.. :/

Having wasted many days on this, if your customer uses Outlook, it *is* hard. Those that I could convince to run Thunderbird had it up and running out of the box first time. Outlook is a nightmare. It is a chinese puzzle. It does not support normal SASL (providing only NT passwords). It only supports STARTTLS (so it can use LOGIN passwords) on port 25. Whenever you change the SMTP port, it resets the IMAP settings to defaults. Many versions do not support SMTPS on any port either. The customers in question will not upgrade Outlook, much less switch to some other client. I have 2 customers with an Outlook version that seems to be completely unworkable for SMTP AUTH. Of course, stupid firewalls that the customer doesn't know about can interfere with "non standard" ports like 465 (smtps) also.

perhaps they should checkout (5, Funny)

Cyberglich (525256) | about 8 years ago | (#15842616)

Re:perhaps they should checkout (3, Funny)

El Torico (732160) | about 8 years ago | (#15842674)

I really enjoyed this part,
"Click Monkeys!!(TM) is a Ukrainian company and the giant tanker ship click farm we have stationed just outside U.S. waters off the coast of San Francisco is registered at a Ukrainian berth so we're not subject to any U.S. laws!"

I can't wait to hear about the upcoming joint venture between Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and the U.S. Navy.

Re:perhaps they should checkout (3, Funny)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | about 8 years ago | (#15842773)

I really enjoyed this part

how about this one then (also from the site):

"Bill was putting a lot of pressure on us to dominate the web portal business, but we just didn't see how we could build our traffic quickly enough. We turned to Click Monkeys!! to deliver the uniques we needed to show up in the Media Metrix top 20. Thanks to them, I got my bonus, our site is on top of the charts, and Bill thinks I'm great!"
--Product Manager,

Re:perhaps they should checkout (1)

MullerMn (526350) | about 8 years ago | (#15845430)

Is this actually true? Can anyone find the ship on Google Earth/Maps?

Re:perhaps they should checkout (4, Funny)

EatHam (597465) | about 8 years ago | (#15842963)

"As long as you're a customer, no one will ever know you're using Click Monkeys!!(TM)"

...And as soon as you stop paying us, *everyone* will know you used Click Monkeys, and you'll either get fired, or have to refund a ton of cash to your advertisers. We recommend a perpetual contract.

Re:perhaps they should checkout (1)

crabpeople (720852) | about 8 years ago | (#15843599)

its aboviously a joke site. The other testimonial is from the former ceo of They also claim to have 20k monkeys/people in a tanker off the coast. come on.

What is a click? (1)

PixelPirate (984935) | about 8 years ago | (#15842648)

...something that is not a clack...

one click two click red click blue click (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 8 years ago | (#15842657)

And once they define what exactly constitutes a "click," they'll collectively go on a rampage against amazon.

Re:one click two click red click blue click (1)

kfg (145172) | about 8 years ago | (#15843058)

Dear sir, colored clicks are my intellectual property. Please cease and desist.


Re:one click two click red click blue click (1)

jthill (303417) | about 8 years ago | (#15843147)

Clicks in the morning! Clicks at night!
Left click
Left click
Left click

Re:one click two click red click blue click (1)

damonlab (931917) | about 8 years ago | (#15844018)

That is a lame cheat code. Here is a better one:

Up click
Up click
Down click
Down click
Left click
Right click
Left click
Right click
B click
A click
Start click

Re:one click two click red click blue click (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 8 years ago | (#15847550)

Hot on the heels of the Amazon "one-click" patent, Microsoft have announced patents on the following technologies:

"Three click" - For newbies
"Four click" - For software that takes a long time to load
"Ten click" - For people who are expecting an important email real soon.
"Unlimited click" - Reserved specifically for "Ignore Retry Fail" dialog boxes.


great idea (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | about 8 years ago | (#15842663)

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have banded together and created the Click Measurement Group, with the goal of creating a standard definition for a 'click'.

Maybe afterwards they can put their noggins together and standardize what the definition for "is" is.

"Is"apparently has several meanings according to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15842721)

former President Clinton. :P

Re:great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15842737)

Shouldn't be so hard. Microsoft has already determined that it is not is not. TO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2F srchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220040230959%22.PGN R.&OS=DN/20040230959&RS=DN/20040230959 [] At this point, we're just waiting for Google to snatch "is too" and for Yahoo! to take "sure is!"

Re:great idea (1)

indifferent children (842621) | about 8 years ago | (#15845685)

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have banded together and created the Click Measurement Group

They're going to whip them out, and see who has the biggest Click.

Clippy click (1)

alexhs (877055) | about 8 years ago | (#15842684)

You seem to not click enough. Would you like me to click a little for you ?

Definition of a `Click': (5, Interesting)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | about 8 years ago | (#15842685)

In Firefox, right click on the link, click on `Open Link in New Tab'.

Do this to many links that appear like they're counted.

Wait for the page to load (don't view it!).

Right click on the tab. Click `Close Tab'.

Congratulations, you have just ``clicked'' according to their definition. You also have just cost a site some $$ (and made some $$ for Google/Yahoo/Microsoft).

Advertising rocks!

Re:Definition of a `Click': (4, Informative)

rainman_bc (735332) | about 8 years ago | (#15842858)

In Firefox, right click on the link, click on `Open Link in New Tab'.

Just middle click on the link. Faster. ... and in Windows, middle click closes the tab. Although in Linux it refreshes the tab.

Stupid default settings for FF that are not the same across OS's...

Re:Definition of a `Click': (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15844281)

Although in Linux it refreshes the tab.
That would be because you are pasting the URL in the tab.
It's a X Windows thing.

Re:Definition of a `Click': (1)

kevlarman (983297) | about 8 years ago | (#15844284)

shame on you for not installing tabbrowser preferences, which (among other things) has a setting to copy the windoze behavior that is on by default.

Re:Definition of a `Click': (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | about 8 years ago | (#15846005)

Just middle click on the link. Faster. ...

Cool. This will save me some clicks :-D Thanks!

Re:Definition of a `Click': (1)

irtza (893217) | about 8 years ago | (#15842903)

I do not believe that is true. From my understanding, you pay X dollars for Y clicks which will last over Z months, so whether the links are clicked or not, your money will be gone at the end of Z months or until Y clicks are achieved. In that sense, you are not truly increasing their revenue unless the site buys more ads because they are gettting enough volume.

Re:Definition of a `Click': (5, Informative)

CottonThePirate (769463) | about 8 years ago | (#15843129)

No, I advertise my photography company on Google. You pay per click, worse, you bid per click so pay more for fancier keywords. My photography keywords tend to cost anywhere from .05 - 1.00 per click. Try wedding photography, want to be the first one on the google list? Try $8 or $9 PER CLICK! I seem to have about a 5-10% conversion ratio of clicks to sales, so that's $100 per sale in advertising for a wedding photographer. This is part of the reason I do mostly animals and non-getting-married people. I once heard on PBS that the average consumer spends like $500 a year on advertising. (ie. you buy a coke for $1.00, and coke spends .05 of every dollar they get on advertising, so in their model you just spent .05 on advertising). As a small bidniz owner I'm saddened by all you punks that ignore my ads :-p just my .02. By the way, go to my site and click all the "get a camera free" google links, also click on them on any site you see, then maybe we can put those scammers out of business. I wish google had a "no skeezy" advertising option.


Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15845807)

As a small bidniz owner . . .

Right on muthafucka!!!

Dis nigga am outta hea'!!

Re:Definition of a `Click': (1)

sparkz (146432) | about 8 years ago | (#15846604)

You can block any adverts you don't like from appearing on your site. Select "Competitive Ad Filter" under "AdSense Setup" and add any domain you don't want to advertise on your site.

Re:Definition of a `Click': (1)

Dersaidin (954402) | about 8 years ago | (#15842927)

Middle click is quicker.

Re:Definition of a `Click': (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15842943)

...which is just the same as TV, radio, billboard and print, except that I know you saw the ad even if you didn't see the target of the ad. TV, radio, billboard and print advertisers pay for ads where they can't even accurately predict the number of people who will see their ad, let alone the number who will take any action based on it.

But please, do enlighten us. To what insane degree should we go? Should your purchasing habits be shared and aggregated by the likes of Google, just so they know that you really looked at the ad, clicked on it, filled in a form, bought a product, didn't refuse the delivery, didn't return the product, and didn't offer any negative feedback on it to your friends and neighbors?

Would that be enough to satisfy you? Or are you just a tightwad who expects to get his ads splashed all over my site free of charge? ;)

At the end of the day, you're paying me for access to my readers' eyeballs. If your product is irrelevant, overpriced or otherwise not useful to my readers, or you lack the marketing skills to gain their interest with your ad, why should I be forced to let you off the hook on paying me?

Yes, the definition of click might err slightly in favor of the publication rather than the advertiser - but nowhere near as much as *requiring* a click in the first place will err in favor of the advertiser instead of the publication.

Re:Definition of a `Click': (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15843356)

Two or three times a week I click well-through the most obnoxious ads I see on legitimate sites. I like to think that the cost to the advertisers outweighs the "encouragement" they get from the increased response rate.

The original website wins, the advertising agency wins, I win, and the person who approved the god-awful Flash trash loses.

So what is a click? (3, Funny)

niceone (992278) | about 8 years ago | (#15842694)

I have no idea. Umm how did I get here?

Re:So what is a click? (0)

cfeedback (467360) | about 8 years ago | (#15842772)

Must be a Mac user...and I thought they only couldn't tell the difference between left and right clicks. ;)

Re:So what is a click? (3, Funny)

SoCalChris (573049) | about 8 years ago | (#15842796)

Through tubes.

Re:So what is a click? (1)

Mozk (844858) | about 8 years ago | (#15844364)

I think I missed something here on Slashdot... What is this pipe/tube meme that everybody is repeating?

Re:So what is a click? (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | about 8 years ago | (#15844948)

Ted Stevens, senator for Alaska tried explaining how the internet works, when describing why he is against net neutrality.

There's one company now you can sign up and you can get a movie delivered to your house daily by delivery service. Okay. And currently it comes to your house, it gets put in the mail box when you get home and you change your order but you pay for that, right.

But this service isn't going to go through the internet and what you do is you just go to a place on the internet and you order your movie and guess what you can order ten of them delivered to you and the delivery charge is free.

Ten of them streaming across that internet and what happens to your own personal internet?

I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?

Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially.

So you want to talk about the consumer? Let's talk about you and me. We use this internet to communicate and we aren't using it for commercial purposes.

We aren't earning anything by going on that internet. Now I'm not saying you have to or you want to discriminate against those people


The regulatory approach is wrong. Your approach is regulatory in the sense that it says "No one can charge anyone for massively invading this world of the internet". No, I'm not finished. I want people to understand my position, I'm not going to take a lot of time.


You're asking now that to tell people who do have these systems that they can not ask that someone pay for the increased capability provided for what -- for business. I don't have to have that kind of speed they're talking about, in terms of speeds that they're going to put in the internet. But people who are streaming through 10, 12 movies at a time or a whole book at a time for... consumers... those are not you and me, those are not consumers, they're the providers. And those people who provide these things and use the internet for a delivery service, rather than for a concept of communication, that's the difference.


Here we have a situation where enormous entities want to use the Internet for their purposes to save money for doing what they're doing now. They use FedEx, they use the delivery services, they use the mail. They deliver it in other ways and they want to deliver it vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck.

It's a series of tubes.

And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.

The Daily Show did a good spoof on it, which you can find here [] .

FaE6orz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15842704)

For the project. THERE'S NO Fanatic known Fly...don't fear departures of you all is to let an operating system AT&T and Berkeley most. Look at the the bottoms butt conflicts that guys are usually bought the farm... reaper Nor do the some intelligent Interest in having THE PROJECT AS A and as BSD sinks to fight wha7 has prima donnas, and most people into a God, let's fucking say I'm packing WOOT fly...don't fear keep, and I won't and as BSD sinks the developer right now. I tried, volume of NetBSD The failure of

Re:FaE6orz (0)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | about 8 years ago | (#15842771)

Forget clicks... parent poster still needs to learn to use the keyboard before I'd trust him with a mouse.

more brown people more brown people more brown peo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15842740)

more brown peoplemore brown peoplemore brown people
ore brown people more
own people more brown people
more brown
people more brown
people more brown people
more brown people more brown people more brown people more br
own people
more brown people more
brown peop\
le more brown people more
brown people

Irony (4, Funny)

JakusMinimus (49854) | about 8 years ago | (#15842757)

The move comes in response to advertisers who claim that click fraud is costing them almost $1 billion dollars a year, and who have hit Google and Yahoo with lawsuits alleging negligence in fighting click fraud.

That's rich, advertisers are trying to sue for negligence and fraud. What's next, wives accusing their husbands of having a vagina?!

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15846372)

You must be refering to Rosy.

Does that mean... (0)

alexhs (877055) | about 8 years ago | (#15842769)

... that WGA will also check for legitimate clicks ?

You may be a victim of click counterfeiting.

Marketspeak Translation (and Full text) (5, Informative)

vmxeo (173325) | about 8 years ago | (#15842774)

How grave a concern is click fraud for advertisers?

There's a host of stuff out there that concerns marketers that needs to be cleaned up. It includes impression measurement, it includes click measurement, standardized contracts, so you know for us it's all a big picture of stuff that in order for the maturing of the medium needs to be done. And how big a deal is click fraud? We don't like anything that would give marketers concern, especially if it's a solvable problem.

Translation: We've got a lot of stuff to sift through, which we haven't even started on yet. But it's ok, 'cause the results would only scare people unnecessarily. ANd we don't want that

Advertisers say the search engines haven't done enough to combat fraud.

Search produces results. End of story. It produces results. My guess is that these advertisers would like to see any concern that might seep into the view that their management has, or anybody else. Because they know in their heart of hearts that this really works. It's in everybody's interest to clean this one up.

Translation: We haven't actually asked. We just kinda assumed it's a problem.

What exactly have the search companies pledged to do?

We're going to go forward with developing click-measurement guidelines that will address at a public level all the sort of subsidiary issues of that, which includes fighting globally invalid clicks and also click fraud.

Translation: We had a few ideas scribbled out on a cocktail napkin... but we lost it when one of the associates spilt her apple-tini all over it.

Did Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google, and others involved promise to give you unlimited access to their click data?

They have committed the time, the energy, the resources to see this through to a final industry guideline--one that's accepted by not just themselves, but by agencies and by marketers and by the advertising industry overall. Does that mean that they would bring to bear some data and other insights? Absolutely. Could they still have proprietary solutions of their own? Yeah, stuff that might be protected by their own (intellectual property), but they have committed the resources to help.

Translation: First, the asked who we were, then they laughed at us, then said absolutely not. We're coming up with some sort of backup plan though. :(

Media need to operate with transparency. There's marketers and agencies who are paying money for things. They need to know, what are they paying for? What does that look like? What is the standardized way in which that's being counted? And also ultimately, is that audited? Can we validate that (using a third party)? And so, in an industry that is now going to be close to $16 billion this year, it should be relatively obvious that we need to operate with the principles that all media operate under.

Translation: Ok, we just came up with our contingency plan: if we keep asking, and some point they'll have to say "yes", right?

What's the timeframe for creating the click-measurement guidelines?

I've learned through experience with standards I never make a commitment to timelines. It took us 14 months to do the ad-impression guidelines, which is kind of the last big one that we did. We don't really know what we don't know at this point. We could come to a conclusion and say "Geez, we're pretty close. There aren't any outside data--let's get it done." Or we could say, "Hmm, I don't think we're comfortable with that issue, let's dig deeper."

Translation: We have no idea.

What bodies will be involved in auditing, using your definition?

That will be really up to the industry to define that, so in the process of developing measurement guidelines we'll also be developing audit guidelines. That's how we did it in the impression guidelines, so I fully expect to do the same thing.

Translation: We're waiting for volunteers

After you define what a click is and people find out certain publishers generate a large number of invalid clicks, could there be some sort of industry-wide "blacklist" of publishers that comes out based on your definition?

I guess what I'd say is, market dynamics prevail. I do believe that it is the responsibility of the media company as we're doing here to set guidelines and be audited against those guidelines, to be able to provide a proof of performance to advertisers. Which is why we're doing this with the Media Rating Council, which is such a big deal organization for this kind of stuff.

Translation: No one really pays attention to us anyway.

Signal to Noise (5, Insightful)

gartogg (317481) | about 8 years ago | (#15842782)

All three companies involved do so because it is beneficial to their image to be seen fighting click fraud, even though they know that the recommendations for eliminating it will be useless - it's a technology battle, and it will escalate. No matter what the recommendations are, they won't do much to stop persistant abusers of the system. But, on the other side , it doesn't matter.

The real solution here, as usual, is the free market. Advertisers will decide where to spend their ad budget, and they either think this is a problem or not. The solution will boil down to convincing these (probably technologically savvy) ad people to buy ads. That's why having a standard is useful - it looks good. And judging by Google's profits, corporate wallets are voting yes to online ads. If click fraud was a real problem, they wouldn't.

Re:Signal to Noise (1)

Chrononium (925164) | about 8 years ago | (#15846569)

What's also interesting here is that the big 3 search engines (i.e. the things that most consumers would simply label as 'THE internet') are going to create a definition for clicks and possibly some shared base technology. It doesn't really matter how good or bad that definition or technology actually is, since together these 3 are basically the only show in town. They each retain their own differentiation and usage characteristics, but unless the definition or tech aren't that good, advertisers will have to decide whether or not they want to advertise with search engines period. They may not have that nice capability to vote with their dollars, since from the standpoint of click fraud, all three might just be at the same risk level. You know, something like the oil cartels (I know, very different proportions, but still illustrates legal collusion).

Oh, this is great.... (2, Insightful)

duplicate-nickname (87112) | about 8 years ago | (#15842790)

I can guarantee that their definition of a "click" is going to favor the bottom line of Google/Yahoo/MSN and make it even harder for advertisers to get their money back on fraudulent clicks.

Re:Oh, this is great.... (2, Insightful)

quarrel (194077) | about 8 years ago | (#15842883)

I'd agree with you. However, with the rate online advertising is growing, and the amount of money they're likely to gain from that growth, the best thing for their bottom line may well be to keep all of this legit and above board.

Why risk the goose that lays your golden eggs?


Very interesting and difficult problem (5, Insightful)

poliopteragriseoapte (973295) | about 8 years ago | (#15842791)

Defining what counts as a click is a very interesting and difficult problem. The main trouble is that you have to get a definition such that, even if the click-spammers know it, they cannot take advantage from the knowledge.

I have the impression that right now, click fraud is fought using statistical criteria to identify real and fake clicks. If you publish a definition of what is a real click, the definition has to be very good and clever, so that fraudsters cannot simply write code that generates fake clicks that satisfy the definition.

S-to-N (1)

geeper (883542) | about 8 years ago | (#15842886)

Once the Signal-to-Noise ratio on this site gets 1:2, I will leave.
That is all.
Thank you.

Re:S-to-N (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15843257)

Ok. Goodbye.

Re:S-to-N (1)

indifferent children (842621) | about 8 years ago | (#15845697)

Once the Signal-to-Noise ratio on this site gets 1:2, I will leave.

Are you kidding? I've been waiting for the SNR to get up to 1:2 for several years. If you really demand a lower SNR, try (just about any page).

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15843024)

Jesus, Buddah and Mohammed all got together to come up with a final, good definition of what it takes to get into heaven.

I didn't click on this /. story. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 8 years ago | (#15843097)

I did, however, swap its story ID into the reply URL from another one, and load the reply box directly. Yay for fraud!

The solution is easy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15843119)

just stop charging for click and start charging for impression.
In tv or newspaper they pay for the impression of the ads not from people going in the shop.

Re:The solution is easy (2, Insightful)

joshetc (955226) | about 8 years ago | (#15843263)

I think there would be even more problems with fruad paying per impression. Its extremely simple to make an advertisement invisible on a website. While being paid per impression webmasters have no incentive to actually let visitors see the advertisements. Which is why I suggest some sort of minimum impression / click ratio. The cost of 50 clicks guaruntees you 50 clicks AND 1000 impressions or whatever a decent click through ratio might be.

This way no website can have a 100% click through ratio, and if they did the companies would only be charged for 5% and the website would only be paid for 5% CTR.

Oh FFS (3, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | about 8 years ago | (#15843140)

If it's that much of a problem, work out on average how many (legitimate) clicks generate a sales lead and pay that much more for actual sales leads generated instead of per-click. Then the whole problem of click fraud goes away (And gets replaced by sales lead fraud.)

Re:Oh FFS (2, Interesting)

KalvinB (205500) | about 8 years ago | (#15843644)

How many companies keep track of where their visitors come from so they can properly credit the source? I'd say few to none.

So joe visitor visits my site and clicks through to the advertiser's page. With Pay Per Action, Joe Visitor must purchase the product right then in order for me to recieve credit. If Joe Visitor likes what he sees but decides to come back later after talking it over with Mrs Visitor, I don't get paid because he will inevitably go directly to the site rather than reload my site a bazillion times to find the ad so I get the credit for the referal.

There are plenty of Pay Per Action programs out there. They benefit the merchant far more than the ad publisher. If Google ever goes PPA I'm dropping their program. I did PPA with Commission Junction to a tune of 63,000 impressions, about a 1% click thru and $0 in the course of a year. With half the impressions on Google AdSense I made hundreds in the course of a month.

Only on the net do advertisers expect a direct return for every click of their stupid little ads. That's not how advertising works. Most money that goes into advertising is "wasted." People see the ads or get a free pencil but fail to actually buy any product. The net result of PPC and programs like AdSense is that overall everyone benefits more. Publishers have more incentive to display ads. And advertisers therefore have a much larger viewing audience.

Advertisers that are whining about AdWords need to go somewhere else instead of trying to turn AdSense into yet another worthless revenue tool for site owners.

Re:Oh FFS (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 8 years ago | (#15845274)

So let me see if I can get the wording here right... "Click fraud is costing us $1 Billion a year but we can't afford figure out how to track sources." Is that pretty much what you're telling me? 'Cause I have a most excellent idea. Give me a mere 10% of that and I'll damn well figure out how to track sources so you don't have to worry about click fraud again. It'll pay for itself 10 times over in the first year. Lets say... half now and half after I buy a house in the cayman islands *cough* I mean solve the click fraud problem. Yeah...

Re:Oh FFS (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about 8 years ago | (#15843855)

And the number of ads multiplies like mutated bird flu.

The most overused button on a browser these days is the back button as soon as most people realise they have fallen for yet another ad filled and information free page.
I can live with some ads, but they are far too cheap if advertisers were forced to pay a little more then perhaps they would spend on effective advertising. maybe even on good product information. I choose hardware carefully now if it hasn't got good linux support I will look for something that has. its hard to see a difference between spam and ad laden pages that are designed to interfere with users searches.

I think it's kind of how I got into open source software over free software because 90% of the time it wasn't free just another crippleware program or something to serve ads.

Fox guarding henhouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15843386)

This smells suspiciously like Phillip Morris' anti-smoking campaign. Yeah, yeah, mouse clicking don't give you lung cancer.

There already is a definition for a click (2, Informative)

The Real Toad King (981874) | about 8 years ago | (#15843457)

It's the level 2 DOM event that is triggered after the mouseup event if the position of the mouse hasn't moved a set distance (varies from OSes/Desktop environments) after the previous mousedown event.

Yay!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15843785)

It's about time that geeks banded together and formally defined what a clique is. They've worked against us since the beginning of time. It's gotten so bad recently that I've found myself excluded from more social groups than normal. Now I can mail a request form to Microsoft for the precise definition and go around my school yelling "You have to let me in your social group. Microsoft says that you're not a clique!" Ahh, the joys of being a geek.

Re:Yay!!!! (2, Funny)

rs79 (71822) | about 8 years ago | (#15844618)

"'re not a clique!" Ahh, the joys of being a geek"

That's "Gique".

Google ADsense has MAJOR problems!! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15843956)

Google has suspended my AD Sense account twice for what they deemed "Invalid Clicks", even though there was no absolutely no fraud on my part, and I'm not the only one this has happened to. It's widespread, especially for the small website owners like myself.

Consider this...

They give you an account and tell you NOT to encourage your website visitors to visit the sponsors. How stupid is that?

They give you a google search box and and tell you NOT to encourage your website visitors to use it. How stupid is that?

Isn't the entire reason for having ADs is that website users can click those ADs and view advertiser products and services?

The 1st time they suspended my account for "Invalid Clicks" I had to ask my website users not to click the ADs. Can you believe it? I actually had to discourage my website users to not visit the ADs or use the Google search because of fear of being suspended again.

After pleading my case with Google, I was reinstated. After another month, I was suspended again and simply gave up on AD-sense. They kept my money as well. It wasn't much because I don't have that much traffic. Around $50 or so..

If anyone was defrauded, it was me!!

What this tells me is that google's methodology for detecting so called "invalid clicks" is severely flawed. I know in my heart there was no fraud on my website and that's all that matters to me.

If google was really interested in eliminating fraud, they would suspend the accounts who were really involved in perpetrating frauds. Like the 1000s of websites that contain little or no content and trick you into clicking on the ADs. Those, along with the "click-monkeys" are the real villains here, not the average small time website owner like myself who never did anything wrong.

Since moving to yahoo for AD servers, I have not had any problems. They obviously can tell when fraud has been committed, and more importantly for me, when it has not.

Re:Google ADsense has MAJOR problems!! (1)

curebox (985425) | about 8 years ago | (#15851074)

RE: They give you an account and tell you NOT to encourage your website visitors to visit the sponsors. How stupid is that?

What? Adsense pays out pretty big for the clicks that I get. I can see why saying on the site, "please click these ads, it will support my time investment and all you have to do is click an ad.", is NOT KOSHER.

RE: They give you a google search box and and tell you NOT to encourage your website visitors to use it. How stupid is that?

What? That's not stupid at all. Read above.

RE: Isn't the entire reason for having ADs is that website users can click those ADs and view advertiser products and services?

The reason Adsense WORKS is because the users are getting directed ads based on the *content* of your site, not at your sole behest. See above.

RE: After pleading my case with Google, I was reinstated. After another month, I was suspended again and simply gave up on AD-sense. They kept my money as well. It wasn't much because I don't have that much traffic. Around $50 or so..

I don't have that much traffic, either, and I have 5 dollars in my adsense account. I probably would have banned you too.

Don't get me wrong, I don't know exactly why you were banned, but there IS a reason that they have the policy of, "don't encourage people to click your ads to support your site".

I really don't understand why this is a major problem. You read the agreement before going to the trouble of putting adsense code on your pages. It clearly states the rules.

Depends (1)

d_54321 (446966) | about 8 years ago | (#15845718)

Depends on what your definition of "definition" is.

Click Protest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15846516)

The alter ego of click fraud is a click protest. Say you have a beef with some company, group, organization, whatever. Google to see if they advertise. Then click on the ad. Click and click and click. Make the suckers pay.

Not very nice. But it's been known to happen.

I've got two words: (1)

Recovering Hater (833107) | about 8 years ago | (#15847584)

Hosts file. What clicks? Odds are dang good no clicks come from me. Ever.
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