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Friday, January 26, 2007

Distribution Fraud is the Real Click Fraud

Google AdWords customers are starting to realize that the real click fraud problem is distribution fraud. The problem is inherent in the way Google distributes search ads across its ad network. Google AdWords is broken. Let me say that again, with emphasis: Google AdWords is broken! I first saw the term "distribution fraud" a few days ago via SearchQuant: More On Distribution Fraud in Search. In The Click-Fraud Elephant, Craig Danuloff sums it up well:
Google and Yahoo need to stop pretending the problem is in click-stream analysis, and move to distribution-partner analysis. Further, advertisers need to make it 100% clear that paying to run ads on un-named websites over which they have no say or control is unacceptable.

Click fraud doesn't come (in any significant quantity) from serious sites. It comes from junk sites on which no advertiser would ever intentionally decide to place their ads. Surely there are some PHDs running around the GooglePlex that can look at a wasteland landing page full of nothing but sludge and PPC ads and decide that 'the best user experience' is not served by syndicating ads onto that site.
Click fraud is a distribution problem. And, it's a growing problem. This traffic graph of a site that powers parked domains should be an alarming stat for Google AdWords advertisers: alexa traffic rank chart

Google's customers (the advertisers) are waking up. They're starting to see this AdWords garbage traffic problem. They're starting to wonder about the sausage ingredients. I still wonder who at Google is going to follow the company's "Don't Be Evil" motto and actually solve this problem. Will they hold a meeting like this to solve the click fraud crisis? Does Shuman Ghosemajumder realize that solving the real AdWords click fraud problem is not about algorithms? No, it's a structural issue. It's about changing the way Google distributes ads. It's not a complex problem. Is there anyone at Google who's willing to tackle the problem? Anyone?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you.

There is a talk about Megaglobe, a new search engine designed to eradicate click fraud.

I found few articles on Google today News:

Click fraud is such a serious issue.

Fri Jan 26, 12:32:00 PM EST  
Blogger Richard said...

I think Megaglobe is going to have a difficult time. There are plenty of search engines already available. Advertisers need to display their ads where the searchers search. Clearly, that's on Google (and Yahoo). What advertisers don't need is to have their search ads displayed on sites that are NOT search engines. That's the problem.

Google has a simple solution. Two choices really:
1) Only distribute AdWords ads to parked domains via Content network
2) Create a new AdWords distribution preference for parked domains

Either solution will help keep the Search network viable. Otherwise AdWords is broken.

Fri Jan 26, 02:35:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. In the same time Megaglobe has developped the PAY PER VALID CLICK technology, so it might be interesting to keep an eye on that.

Sat Feb 03, 02:51:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Rose Sylvia said...

I have posted a recommendation that everyone who reads about PPC in the forum I moderate read this article and the follow-on about Google being broken.

As someone who lives and breathes PPC and probably knows as much about how Google works and doesn't work as any consultant around I want to second the suggestions made by Richard in these comments.

The best solution to this issue is to have these sites be a separate network that advertisers can opt out of or these types of sites be considered content with my preference that they be totally separate for tracking purposes.

Sat Feb 24, 06:02:00 PM EST  
Blogger Richard said...

Hi Rose. Looks like some really good content in your PPC advertising forum. Regarding ad distribution, yes, I agree that parked domains should be a new option, separate from both content and search. This is true of both Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing. IMHO, both Yahoo and Google are perpetrating distribution fraud, which is actually more of a concern for PPC advertisers than click fraud. I do hope more people like you become aware of the situation and force change.

Sun Feb 25, 09:38:00 PM EST  

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