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Monday, April 07, 2008

Click Fraud: Yahoo + Click Forensics Deal is Not the Answer

I'm not sure how serious Yahoo is about click fraud. Here's what they said on the Yahoo Search Marketing blog about their new partnership with Click Forensics:
We’ve teamed up with Click Forensics, a well-known click auditor that attempts to track click fraud numbers, including publishing quarterly discard rates. The obvious question is, why would we work with a company that has been a critic of search marketing? Because, frankly, we care so much about click quality that we’re willing to work with anybody who can help us—and our advertisers—drive a better return-on-investment.
No, if Yahoo really cared so much about click quality, they'd do one of two things:
  1. Allow advertisers to distribute ads on *only* Yahoo search properties
  2. Enforce better quality standards of the "hundreds of distribution partners and more than one million domains worldwide."
Yahoo knows they have some very, very low quality partners in the Yahoo Search Marketing ad distribution network. Why else would they have created pricing discounts? I think this is worth saying again, in bold:
A discount on low quality traffic is still a premium.
Note that it's possible to buy Google-only traffic via Google AdWords. These are the campaign level ad distribution options:

google adwords ad distribution network

Knowing that click fraud occurs on their search network, Yahoo should give their customers the same type of ad distribution option. Why is there no Yahoo-only choice? These are the ad campaign options:

yahoo search marketing ad distribution settings

Doesn't it just make sense that advertisers have the option to run ads on just via Yahoo Search Marketing, if they want? Why is Yahoo reluctant to give advertisers this kind of control over their ad spend?

Apogee Tags: , , , ,


Blogger Defending said...


Great post, as always!

Speaking of the Google Search-only vs. Google search Partners. In your experience how do the CTR and Conversion rate of these two realms compare?
Do you think, in general, it could be beneficial to switch off the search partners to get better ctr and conversion numbers?
Did you ever analyze the logs to dig out those stats?

Look forward to your reply

Mon Apr 07, 05:38:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Richard said...

Thanks, AW! For some accounts, I have tested Google only vs the search network. Results depend on 2 primary factors:

1) if site is B2B or B2C
2) if keywords are high CPC

For B2B advertisers, Google only is often the way to go. For B2C advertisers, they'll want the traffic from search network partners like AOL.

If the CPC bids are high for the keywords, there's a much higher chance of click fraud. That click fraud is largely on the networks (both search and content). So, for high CPC campaigns, the ROI is usually better on Google alone.

I often recommend that new advertisers test the waters with Google only. Once their campaigns are in good shape and performing well, they can add the search network and monitor results.

I've also experimented with running both Google only and Google + search network campaigns. By setting the bids much lower in the campaign w/ search network turned on, this is a method to approximate a pure search network campaign. Details on that strategy here.

Wed Apr 09, 12:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Steven said...

Another self proclaimed SEM expert who has no idea of what he's talking about. The internet seems to breed them. Why Yahoo wouldn't/couldn't benefit from working with the industry leader in Click Fraud Prevention is beyond me. What's also interesting is how the brand name of your company looks suspiciously like that of the REAL APOGEE SEARCH company found at

Thu Jul 03, 03:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Richard said...

What's your agenda, Steven? Based on your comment, I doubt you even read my post.

You arrived at my blog from a computer located at a law firm in Austin, Texas. Are you doing some legal work for Apogee Search, a search marketing firm that's located in that same city? Or, are you working for Click Forensics, that's also located in Austin?

These are the searches you performed that led you to my blog: apogee paid search, apogee click forensics, and then apogee click forensics yahoo. Clicks can be tracked - that's how we SEM experts identify click fraud. You might want to think about that the next time you leave a harsh comment on someone's blog.

Fri Jul 04, 12:32:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, Steven clearly has some other motive. Anyone who has advertised on Yahoo knows everything Richard said is right on.

Thu Mar 19, 10:15:00 PM EDT  
Blogger stateoftheheart said...

Oh man what you don't know about analytics can fill up the innernetz.

Wed Mar 25, 03:51:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous atul chatterjee said...

I wandered into this post. Can't say I understand all Richard has said. But Steven's comments are uncalled for.
If he is from a law firm, Richard, you may think of sueing him for libel and defamation of character !!

Fri May 22, 04:52:00 AM EDT  

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