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The Internet Businesses Google The Almighty Buck

Newsweek On Click Fraud, Search Engine Response 200

prostoalex writes "Newsweek magazine says click fraud is the bane of the search advertising industry. Google and Yahoo! are apparently working on the standardized definition of a "good-faith" click in order to weed out the fraudulent ones. Meanwhile, merchants like Assaf Nehoray are taking their money elsewhere, getting abundant clicks, but no real revenue on Internet advertising campaigns. Newsweek also mentions Google suing a Texas company for placing the AdSense code and then clicking on it in order to run up the revenue. John Battelle says that his friends in the search industry tell him the click fraud is growing and that changes are not too far away."
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Newsweek On Click Fraud, Search Engine Response

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:09PM (#11391334)
  • Puff (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FiReaNGeL ( 312636 ) <> on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:10PM (#11391342) Homepage
    Everyone is affected, big or small "publisher".

    But I assure you that it hurts when your 100$ Adword budget goes in a puff of probably fraudulents clicks, with nothing you can do about it. The guys at SEO Chat forum [] are not very happy about this, I assure you.

    It's discouraging me of running small-scale Adwords campaigns, honestly.
    • Re:Puff (Score:5, Interesting)

      by iconnor ( 131903 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:29PM (#11391459)
      Is there any service that advertising can pool their useless clicks?

      To an advertiser, a useless click is a click that hits the adwords landing page and little (or nothing else) and does not mean a sale. If these bogus clicks could then be processed at a 3rd party auditing house, then fraud could be detected and each member could then complain to google about bogus clicks.

      I am sure someone must have thought of this already - I just can't find it listed on google :(
      • Re:Puff (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Eric Giguere ( 42863 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @11:03PM (#11391681) Homepage Journal

        But then who polices the advertisers? Is Google supposed to trust you to tell them when a visitor who reaches your landing page converts into a sale? What if you're not selling anything, at least not directly? I can see all kinds of problems at that end, too.

        Really, you're paying Google for traffic. Qualified traffic, yes, but traffic just the same. How you convert that traffic into sales is not Google's worry.

        Listen, people: JavaScript is not Java []
        • Yes, a few people like you will click around looking.

          However, if you get users that are clicking thousands of sites, and just buring through clicks on totally random sites, this would be cause for concern.

          However, I tend to agree that it is a flawed business model. There is no real way to guarantee that a users is real and not a bot.

          It will be interesting to see if all this will impact on google's revenue.
    • >It's discouraging me of running small-scale Adwords campaigns, honestly.

      Well, then don't run it!

      That's what I'm gonna do. Kind of... Namely, you still CAN run your campaign, just don't use non-Google sites to show your ads. Show your ads only alongside Google search results.

      In my campaign I get most clicks from Google domains anyway so turning off display on AdSense sites won't be a big deal. However, it may hurt Google a bit (if everyone gets a small proportion of clicks from AdSense sites and 30% o
  • In third world countries companies can literally have hundreds of people in a sweatshop clicking on ads. It's amazing.
    • by enosys ( 705759 )
      Why would anyone do such a thing? They could easily simulate it using software. That would be cheaper for many reasons. They don't have to hire all those people. They can do it all using one or a few computers instead of many. They need a lot less space and they have smaller energy bills.
      • by shawb ( 16347 )
        I'm not quite sure about the sweatshop type model, but I have read about a few places that have a lot of people just clicking on ads for a few hours a day. I guess it's similar to the "hit the monkey and win" type ad click racket, except people actually get paid a small amount for a lot more clicks.

        Or it could even be something like free internet access if you just click on banners for X amount of time per day. I think the reason that they don't simulate it with software is that actual people clicking
        • That is the reason all those "get payed to click" schemes failed. I had written scripts to move and click my mouse mouse for a couple of those companies and was getting about $20 per month. The way I saw it I was just getting payed for the little script I wrote. The better and more intelligent the scipt was, the more I should be rewarded. I gave up when they started to pop up windows with specific instructions that had to be read and executed.
        • by britneys 9th husband ( 741556 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @03:57AM (#11392997) Homepage Journal
          I think you're on to something with the "hit the monkey" model. If you think about it, Google click fraud has a lot in common with crapflooding Slashdot. In both cases, you have a malicious user trying to do something (e.g. post a comment or click on an ad) far more times in a short period of time than any legitimate user ever would. It becomes a cat-and-mouse game. The difference is that with Google ads, the stakes are much higher, and the techniques used (both by the malicious users and the site trying to stop them) are more sophisticated.

          An obvious thing to look for is lots of traffic coming from the same IP or subnet. That's why Slashdot has IP bans, makes you wait 2 minutes before posting another comment, etc. Google of course can look for similar patterns. Therefore malicious users need to make their traffic look like it's coming from all over the place instead of just one computer. The GNAA used to crapflood Slashdot by compiling lists of hundreds of open proxies and writing a script to have them post comments all at once (Slashdot no longer allows open proxies to post). We can assume Google filters out ad clicks from anonymous proxies. So now the malicious users need a way to recruit hundreds of computers, preferably from lots of different subnets, and without using open proxies. You can do this by paying people to click ads from their computers, and "hit the monkey" is probably the cheapest known way to do this. If you're making more money on clicks than what you're paying your army of clickers, you'll make a profit.

          Now, I suppose you could also write an automated program to do the same thing, but that would be called a "virus" or a "worm," and these things tend to attract a lot of attention from various law enforcement agencies. Better to pay people a couple cents to hit the monkey than go to prison.
  • Darn! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Sebby ( 238625 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:12PM (#11391348)
    I thought they were talking about Amazon's one-click!

  • Those pay-per-click things are still around? I thought they died long ago with AllAdvantage and its copycats.
    • Have you even used Google in the last two years? Notice the stuff on the right...
      • Have you even used Google in the last two years? Notice the stuff on the right...

        Actually, people who use Google don't notice the stuff on the right. Your mind just turns it off. You have to make a consious effort to actually look at the page instead of reading the results like usual to notice the stuff on the right.
        • Well, I use it all the time, and do notice well-worded and appropriate ads. I consult to retailers, so I'm probably unusual in giving a damn. I can tell you, though, that non-scamming people still do click on those ads. And they work. They may be getting polluted by abusers, but Google's light touch is just about right, I think. When you're using Google specifically to look for a product or service, those ads mean a lot more to you.
        • I actually bought something because of a Google ad. I was looking for info on Nintendo DS and the ad on the right said something to the effect of "Nintendo DS from Japan" in Finnish. That got my attention.
          • While I ignore the Google ads when I'm searching for information, I do look at them when I'm looking for somewhere to buy a product. When I'm looking to *buy*, Adwords are often even more relevant than the search results themselves. I have clicked through, and I have bought from advertisers. It's a win-win situation.

            We run Adwords ourselves, and are very careful to word the ads so that they appeal to the people searching, with clear facts about what we offer. Google further help the relevance themselves by
  • just a guess, but maybe they could use the same techniques that identify DDoS attacks to also finger click fraud?
  • Click fraud? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mistersooreams ( 811324 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:15PM (#11391375) Homepage

    What exactly is this click fraud thing? I can't really see how it can be exactly defined. Maybe the owners of the website occasionally want to click on their own adverts because (*shock*) the product is actually relevant to their site, and thus to them. In fact, relevance is supposed to be the whole idea of Google's TextAds, isn't it?

    Obviously someone genuinely wanting to click their own ads ten thousand times is rather unlikely, but where do you draw the line? Is this written in a contract anywhere? What about getting other people to click the ads for you?

    This seems to be a very fuzzy legal matter. I'm as pro-Google as the next Slashdotter but I can't see how they have a water-tight case here. That said, I'm not an expert, so perhaps someone can correct me.

    • I know that Google says if you want to check an advertiser out that is showing on your site, or are interested in what that advertiser offers, hover your mouse over the link, then type it into a location bar, don't click the link directly. One interesting side note. The link does not show in Firefox, just IE.

      It's useful to weed out ads that are direct competitors, or ads you would deem inappropriate for your site. Google then has the provision to "lock out" those ads by going into your account and add th
    • Its against your "contract" with Google (that you accept when signing up with Adsense) to click on your ads. Even once. Even to "check" if its working. Thats were the line is.

      "Begging" for clicks, directly or indirectly, is agaisnt the terms of agreement, too. "I have trouble paying my hosting bills, so I added ads to the left, please support us", that kind of thing.

      Don't see the point? Ads can be very profitable. Some keywords go for $0.03, sure. Some go for $7.00, too.

      1- Set up website targeting profit
    • Google AdSense Policies []
    • Re:Click fraud? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mistlefoot ( 636417 )
      You are a webmaster and you want to see what the ads link to for relevance. Mouse over and check the status bar for the link and then simply type it into your browser window.

      You've adhered to google's policies AND discovered what the result of that click is. If you are a webmaster and you CANNOT figure this out you deserve to lose any money Google TextAds would have earned you. The policy is simple. Click on the ad yourself and forfeit the right to your earnings.

      • A good portion of the time, ads are delivered via an intermediary tracking system rather than linking to the merchant itself, so typing the url manually wouldn't make any difference. In the case of google though, the URL is listed -- but you still have to unescape it :)
      • One of the sites I'm involved with had AdSense for around 9 months and it brought in a reasonable, honest income stream of around $400 per month. Then, without warning, Google removed our publisher status - without giving us reason. They are infuriatingly unwilling to work with us to identify what went wrong; my suspicion is that we were targetted by some kind of competitor who 'over-clicked' and made it look like us - but Google won't tell us anything. IP addresses, times, dates, routes, whatever; just
  • Uh duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmcmunn ( 307798 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:16PM (#11391381)

    Who ever thought Google AdWords were any more effective than a pop up ad? The reason so many porn sites use pop ups is that often times they get paid on a "per view" or "per click" basis. Hmmm...if every user has to click the fake 'X' in the top corner, thus sending them to the advertiser, then the referring porn site makes money on a click through.

    Same idea with AdWords. Why would anyone think click through ads are any better? Everyone remember the days when they had the little clients that would monitor when you were online and give you money for every hour you surfed? Ha, how long did it take you to set up a macro to run the mouse while you slept? :-)

    The only advertising that makes you money, is advertising that sells your product. Tricking people into following a link or viewing a page they didn't want to doesn't do anyone any good in the long run. Pay per click can only last so long.
    • Re:Uh duh... (Score:3, Interesting)


      "The only advertising that makes you money, is advertising that sells your product. Tricking people into following a link or viewing a page they didn't want to doesn't do anyone any good in the long run."

      And in this posters sig:

      "Get a FREE MiniMac Here! [] "

      Scams obviously work as good tricks :)

      • I am in no way hiding where this link tinyurl crap. Stright up, if you want to click it, then click it. If not, then don't it's as simple as that.
    • This is hilarious, coming from a guy whose sig is a ponzi scheme link. Asshat.
    • from the site We encourage users to post their referral link online, but will not tolerate users who "mass-post" on the internet.
    • Re:Uh duh... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:34PM (#11391490) Homepage Journal
      Disagree. Pay per click isn't the problem. Bad (misleading) ads are the problem; there's no reason to presume that pay per click will die because of these. The advertisers will die, instead. And where's the downside of that?

      There are perfectly reasonable ways to use Google ads, for instance. Describe your product honestly, market your product honestly on the target page the ad leads to, and provide a good and well supported product.

      If you can't be bothered to do that, then you deserve to have your ad budget eat you for dinner, IMHO.

      If you do follow those basic guidelines, then the ads will bring potential customers by your pages, and some percentage of them will actually purchase your product(s) and/or service(s).

      There's no magic to this -- unless you're a fraud right out of the gate anyway.

      That's not to say that you can't work the system in such a way as to make it legitimately benefit you. For instance:

      Some of my competitors do such a poor job, I decided to put Google ads right on our sales pages so our customers could easily find our competitors. The results they get are so yucky that I consider them to be marketing for us, in a reverse sort of way. There's nothing on our pages that say "go look at how crappy our competitors are, click the ads and then come back" or anything like that... the ads just sit there, advertising software similar to ours... and our sales picked up about 20% over four weeks once we put the ads on. Apparently, our customers are savvy enough to know where they've been -- and how to come back -- when they wander off to look at these other folks. And the funny thing is that we get paid for all this. Now, if our competitors are silly enough to keep advertising a shoddy product, why, I'm simply delighed to host their ads. :)

      • this does NOT solve the problem that someone creates a web site of his own, makes up some fantom traffic first and then takes up your adverts through somewhere - and then clicks through your paid-for click throughs to get revenue for himself.

        it doesn't matter how good the description in your ad is - A clicking script is NOT going to be buying anything.

        would you like to be paying per click by a script? I don't think so!
        • Google and crew will deal with the revenue trolls. It's fraud, it's detectable and fairly obvious. The technology is new, doesn't bother me at all. They'll get it handled. That's one smart bunch of folks over at Google. I am not moved to worry about this even a little. And yes, we use Google ads -- and they work extremely well for us.

          What I was doing in the GP was answering the question the slashdot story poster asked -- where will ads go. That's where I think they'll go. No more, no less. Disagree? Fine,

          • Google and crew will deal with the revenue trolls. It's fraud, it's detectable and fairly obvious.

            The people running these frauds are like spammers in 1996, abusing a technology newly available to the public - as google implements fixes the fraud-rings will develop new techniques and become as subtle as they have to be to avoid detection. Since they are criminals with an infinity of throw away identities they will be able to "probe" google's system to determine the fraud avoidance tolerances.

            One scena

          • the why i said that you should be modded down was that your "answer" to the problem was not an answer to the problem discussed by the article.

            the problem is exaclty those phantom clickers that never buy anything, maybe some guys in india or wherever or some scripts. they're hard for google and for you in the end. and you CAN'T fight them off with accurate advertisements!
      • Re:Uh duh... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kiddailey ( 165202 )

        The advertisers will die, instead. And where's the downside of that?
        The downside is that sites that use advertising in a (sometimes last-ditch) attempt to recoup hosting/bandwidth costs will no longer be free.
        • Yes, providing free stuff in a non free world is a very tough thing to do. Bandwidth costs money. Infrastructure costs money. Maintainance costs money. Administration costs money.

          I understand that you want "free" anyway, but I don't have much sympathy for it.

          If you really want free stuff, you have to arrange for the infrastructure that carries the free stuff to be free, or as nearly so as possible. Are you doing that?

          I host several free sites. Two of them carry a whole bunch of traffic (specifics if y

    • I would much rather click on a nice google ad than a hyperactive bouncing you may hve won a pc with a virus that could be running twice as fast if you install cpurocket with antispyware suite of free ipods.
    • I soooo had the mouse moving program, alladvantage gave me a few good checks. got paid to search a few times also. A couple other companies to but most have gone bankrupt now.
  • by PornMaster ( 749461 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:18PM (#11391397) Homepage
    I wonder how much of getting away with this is done by using open proxies laid down on zombies by $WORM_OF_THE_MONTH.

    Obviously the SEs know to watch for 100+ adwords clicks in 15 minutes from the same IP (though maybe this is harder due to decentralization of the data centers and another reason for them to get a dark fiber network - see the article from earlier today) but if the clicks appear to be coming from broadband users across the US, I could see worms playing a big part in this, relatively undetectably.
  • by dpplgngr ( 63186 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:19PM (#11391400) Homepage Journal

    For any affiliate program, as that community operates like the mos eisley cantina. In fact, it's expected, and has been dealt with over and over. Google should talk to the old guard on this one.

    I'm sorry to admit that gfy [] is the authoritative source on this problem; no joke!

  • by Camel Pilot ( 78781 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:20PM (#11391405) Homepage Journal
    A while back I had a frustrating exchange with Overture (aka Yahoo) on "Click Protection" on their PPC service. In the meantime I have back engineered their highly touted filter and it is a joke. I could write click bot with a few lines of Perl and a list of proxy servers. My experience has been that they will not pay attention to you until you have goon thru the trouble of documenting the event. Here is a summary of my experience.

    Overture claims to provide "Click Protection" for their pay-per-click advertising service. In reality they fail to prevent the most basic and easiest to detect non-authentic clicks - that is competitors clicking on competitors. They do not even filter out a customer clicking on their own links from within the Overture manager. Nor do they provide a method for an advertiser to test their own ad rendered URL's - a necessary function as a means to test the validity of an entered URL.

    Since filtering out such clicks would be simple and straight forward using established cookies or session id's - I can only speculate the reasons for not patching this obvious flaw and question the "sophistication of Overtures "Click Protection".

    For a complete write up see Overture Click Protection Paper []
  • would it hurt the submitter to at least explain what the hell click-fraud is?

    if i use a keyboard to simulate a mouse-click, is that considered click-fraud?

    if so, this could really put open source projects like GNOME Accessibility in a dicey situation! ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:21PM (#11391414)
    I am a Adsense publisher, which means I show thier ads on my site. I earn quite good money (more than two thousand US dollars a month) for doing next to nothing. What concerns me is that they say "oh poor advertisers" when publishers get just as hurt.

    1) You can loose, a lot, of revenue because of advertisers switching off.
    2) You can void all your earnings if Google detects fradulant clicks (say a compeditor clicks the hell out of your ads).

    It does suck for publishers and advertisers, but as it is one of Google's (and others) major revenue sources then I would have thought they would take even more measures to make sure this kind of fraud didn't happen. Because at the end of the day they do rely on both publishers and advertisters. And if it turns to crap Google (etc) will no longer be the middle man.
    • The relevance of the advertising also needs to be improved, making them more useful then they currently are. If they 'added more value' to the site for the publisher, then maybe they would be used more, and abused less.


      I am an Adsense publisher for a local community based website.

      I would like visitors to see advertising on my site with is relevent to my intended target audience. This could be done by allowing the publisher to add additional keyworks to the Adsence search. (eg. locality name
    • Given that the majority of Google's revenues come from advertising, I think it's safe to say that they're devoting resources (and brainpower) to fixing this problem. The nice thing about AdSense is that it lets small website owners like myself get rewarded for putting up free content with no real hassle on anyone's part. It complements the open source model in my mind.

      Most AdSense sites don't earn a lot of money, but it can easily pay your hosting costs if you get enough traffic. Sometimes you hit a lucky

    • Does participating in adsense improve your web site's ranking in Google's search engine?
  • by xmas2003 ( 739875 ) * on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:23PM (#11391424) Homepage
    While most of the slashdotters laughed [] at my christmas lights/webcam hoax [], there were a handful (probably fueled by the insinuations in the press reporting) that claimed I cleaned up on my Google Adsense Ads. Nothing could be further from the truth (I'm not quiting my day job!) which I document in my media updates [] and I was operated totally by the rules of the program as documented in my two cents on Google Adsense. []

    So while YES, there is a lot of fraud in this area, be careful about saying everyone running Google Adsense is "bad"

  • Newsweek also mentions Google suing a Texas company for placing the AdSense code and then clicking on it in order to run up the revenue.

    1. Place AdSense code
    2. Click
    3. ???
    4. Profit!
    5. Goto step 2.
  • Hilarity ensues! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by davew2040 ( 300953 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:42PM (#11391552) Journal
    To me, it's absolutely hilarious that much time and money is being spent to figure out how to improve a business model that's fundamentally idiotic.
  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @11:01PM (#11391660) Homepage Journal
    I simply never understood why the metric for web ads are so different from the metric for all other media ads. I mean in newspapers and television and magazines, the advertisers pays for the potential to reach the viewing or subscriber base. It is possible to guess how good these campaigns are doing, but the continuation of the campaign is often based on demographics, not how many people come in and say, hey, I saw your ad on Survivor and wanted to pick up your product. Advertisers want to create a personal connection to the consumer, and this is done by sponsoring content the target consumer desires.

    Now it could be said that web advertising is more like direct mail. A firm pays an ad agency to create copy, the post office to send stuff out, and hopes for enough responses to the campaign to generate the profit. If the campaign fails, maybe the ad agency receives some flack. But the post office is not going to refund money because several hundred of the recipients happened to work for a competitor, or because a third of the envelopes were discarded unopened.

    So where did this concept of one click one sale, or one click one payment. What happened to the concept of sponsoring good content in the hopes of generating a connection to potential customers. By all accounts TV and print ads are increasingly worthless. Can web ads be any worse? Could the problem be that the ad agencies or advertisers are not taking time to understand the medium? Are all web advertisers so fly by night that they need a sale today because tomorrow they will have run off to tahiti with the receipts?

    • I agree... I always found it amusing that web addresses are all over the place on billboards, magazines and newspapers, but I have to click on a web advertisement to figure out what company is peddling what.

      When you see an "Eat at Joe's" sign next to a train station that you walk through every day, you're more likely to eat there. Likewise, there needs to be a category of web advertisement that builds a brand based on a logo or catchy graphic.

      Hell... drug companies advertise and sell drugs without even te
      • Hell... drug companies advertise and sell drugs without even telling you what the drug does!

        This is a somewhat unique phenomenon which is the result of advertising regulations in the industry.

        Drug ads are required to be balanced, so to the extent that they tell you about a drug's benefits, they also have to tell you about its side-effects.

        Sometimes this borders on the absurd - most drugs have some significant side-effects, but there are a few where it is questionable whether the effects are actually gen
    • Clicks should generate immediate sales... because they can.

      If you see an ad for McDonalds, and your aren't at a McDonalds, there is nothing you can do about it at that moment. Maybe, if McDonalds is lucky, you will remember their branding and go eat there later. Maybe not.

      When you are on the internet, however, you are generally able to make a purchase right then and there, from your computer. So why then shouldn't sales be the goal? Unlike branding, they provide immediate revenue, and immediate, measurabl
    • You make an excellent point, and I agree completely that the idea that every click (or at least a majority) should lead to a sale is as ludicrous as the RIAA's stance that every pirated mp3 is a lost sale.

      In addition to your points I think the advertisers also need to take into account the nature of users in this medium. Most of the time when I'm on the web I have a specific goal - reading slashdot, finding pictures of something, etc, etc. So when there's a keyword ad in the middle of the articel I'm readin

  • I've never liked the pay-per-click model.

    It only really has value to a few select portals that have market share. Everybody else gets screwed. The pay-per-click model also compensates for advertisers' lack of innovation or foresight. If their ad message sucks, they don't pay, yet they consume prime real estate that could be better served by a more thoughtful advertiser unwilling to merely randomy throw money around in impractical bid amounts. So with this model, web sites lose revenue because of an adv
  • It seems almost shocking to me that people are clicking on these ads, and some are actually buying the products or services.
    I guess I am just being naive and ignoring impulse shopping, but I can't imagine someone seeing an ad and actually purchasing a product without putting any real thought into it.
    I am so thankful for things like Adblock, it helps bring back some sanity to the web.
    • After the Slashdot article on VOIP, you didn't click on a Vontage ad? I did. I clicked on a bunch of competitors ads.

      Sometimes a well placed ad is good. Unfortunately ads in general like spam. Lots of useless products that take next to $0 to produce.

      Finding a valid ad for a reputible product has become difficult due to the bad S/N ratio.

      If I want to re-Finance, I start with my Credit Union. I know they have been in business for a while and their reputation is established.

      Getting the same from some r
  • by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <<spydermann.slashdot> <at> <>> on Monday January 17, 2005 @11:44PM (#11391931) Homepage Journal
    >click fraud is the bane of the search advertising industry

    Click fraud is the bane of the USELESS CLICK-THRU ADVERTISING industry. Use targetted banners, of both online and offline products. Get smarter, dammit.

    If I see a coke ad on a hot sunny day, i'm more eager to buy it than to click a stupid "punch the monkey" ad.

    How about this. In say, long scientific article, who the heck will pay attention to a banner on the top of the page, rather than in the middle?

    Common sense, boys. You wanted instant revenue. There's no such thing.
  • Bill Gross's new startup [] has a great new advertising model that solves the click fraud program.

    They offer traditonal online advertising options such as charging for the number of times a listing is displayed, and a pay-per-click model (That Gross originally pioneered with Overture).

    Snap's big contribution to online advertising is "Pay-Per-Action". They track a user's click-stream from their search engine, to the site, and track a user's movements there. So a bookseller can agree to pay 2% of
  • CPM has the benefit of costing bandwidth. To show 100,000 CPM, it requires 100,000 pageviews. Provided the image is loaded off a 3rd party's server, you can check the IP, referrer (not a dummy page, but actual page on the site), and rate.

    Affiliate doesn't get as many clicks... but actually translates into cash.

    Problem is, per click is cheap. They hand out a penny (or fraction) each time they get a click. Easy to track, monitor.

    But not an effective business practice.

    IMHO these companies weren't well
  • Ok some adverts can provide a moments amusement, but on the whole they are a pain. While the google ads are (at the moment) quite unobtrusive (especially with an adblocker!) they are still part of an industry which is crying out for a bloody good kicking.

    Ads accross wireless medium:
    The airwaves belong to everyone. This is a limited resource so there has to be some regulation but we sure as hell don't want to piss it away on people trying to get their bullshit imagery into your head for their sordid profit.
  • by WoTG ( 610710 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @12:26AM (#11392148) Homepage Journal
    I've used google adwords for a couple small campaigns. I suspect that I've been a victim of "click fraud" on the content network -- that's where your ads appear on third party websites. However, on the Google search network, the only entity who directly benefits from clicks is Google themselves. I'm pretty comfortable with the traffic I get from the search clicks.
  • Maybe more weight should be given to advertising clicks that actually result in sales.
  • since i might work with a competitor who actually is bigger than ad sense I can't talk about alternatives :)
  • This problem is as old as the commercial Internet, and is very hard to solve. See for example this paper [] from the 8th World Wide Web Conference (1999). []
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <> on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @10:09AM (#11394409)
    Paying just to get people to click on your advert, regardless of whether or not they actually buy anything, is a broken business model.

    As far as I am concerned -- and I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way -- every single advertisement anyone tries to show me is unwanted. In fact, I may well decide never to buy any product or service from that company just on general principle. After all, I know that company spends money on advertising which they could spend on making a better product. So if you have ever spent a single penny trying to show me an advertisement, then you have wasted that money. Harsh? Maybe, but that's the way you turn out when you were raised watching the BBC.

    I won't be guilt-tripped with talk of how advertisers pay for this and pay for that. I never asked them to pay for it! I am the sole custodian of my destiny. I am not going to buy anything from anybody who advertises, period. I personally see no need to waste my bandwidth downloading an advertisement when I am only going to ignore it -- hence the Squid proxy and moderate-to-heavy use of Firefox's image blocking feature. Not just on the Internet either; I leave the room while adverts are on the TV.

    If I was feeling really malicious, I might actually write a quick perl script to put in a few hundred bogus clicks against a really egregious advertiser. But on the whole, I most probably wouldn't be bothered; it's too much effort for too little return.

Real Programmers don't write in PL/I. PL/I is for programmers who can't decide whether to write in COBOL or FORTRAN.