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Friday, December 29, 2006

Google Zeitgeist and Yahoo Buzz Index Click Fraud

There's quite a fuss about the year end Google Zeitgeist. The basic objection seems to be that the searches highlighted are not really the popular searches from 2006. Whatever. It's editorial content. It's for entertainment value. It's not very useful. I'm more intrigued by this statement:
To come up with this list, we looked at several thousand of 2006's most popular searches, and ranked them based on how much their popularity increased compared to 2005... We also gave a bit higher score to searches with more traffic.
I can see how Google measures popular searches, but how are they measuring "searches with more traffic?" I think Google's just confusing the matter trying to explain the criteria for the list. They should just say they're pulling the searches they think are interesting. It's really no different from the Yahoo! Search Buzz Index. The real problem, though, with these sorts of lists is that they artificially drive traffic to search results which is bad for PPC advertisers, the companies that pay the bills for Google and Yahoo. About a year ago, in this post, I wrote:
I had a case earlier this year for one of my clients where they received a spike in traffic from their Yahoo Search Marketing ads. Examining their web server logs, I was expecting to find some click fraud. Instead, what I found was a pile of traffic from Yahoo's buzz index. Essentially, Yahoo's staff writes about the top searches. For my money, clicks from the Yahoo buzz index should be content clicks, not search clicks. None of the people clicking from there had actively typed in my client's keywords. By creating editorial content about search, Yahoo was artificially inflating traffic to certain keywords. Unless the ads being displayed were content ads, my view is that this was click fraud, perpetrated by Yahoo. The behavior of the visitors to my client's site certainly looked like click fraud. This particular search keyword phrase was one of my client's best converting. They spent a month's worth of advertising in one day with no conversions. If that's not click fraud, I don't know what is.
Click fraud, junk clicks, doesn't matter what you call it. These editorial lists about search are bogus, but not for the reasons others are complaining about.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Lorri M. said...

Congratulations on making it into 9rules. You have a nice site, here.

I have been a member since Round 4.
http://www.fotografaire.com

Sat Dec 30, 01:22:00 PM EST  
Blogger Richard said...

Lorri - Congratulations that Fotografaire made it into 9rules last round. Also, interesting that your son's blog, jarkolicious, made it in this round. I wonder how many other families have multiple bloggers in the network.

Sun Dec 31, 12:51:00 AM EST  
Anonymous nappy rash dad said...

I heard this story somewhere else so think it's 100% right..

Mon Aug 18, 07:20:00 PM EDT  

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