Click fraud is becoming a bigger and bigger issue for major search engines, especially Google. Just recently Google was forced to pay 90 million dollars for charging advertisers for fraudulent clicks. Now Google is facing the same problem with advertisers in China, who are suing for the same reasons. It is true that search engines have become more proactive lately but as these lawsuits show, it’s not enough. More has to be done to prevent the issue from getting out of hand.
Technical Money Loss vs. Click Fraud
There are those that believe click fraud is not a problem. They usually say that technical money loss is a bigger problem than click fraud. Technical money loss refers to issues with the server, website downtime and accidental clicks which result in the loss of money for the advertiser. There is no way of denying that technical money loss is a big issue for any search engine advertiser. There is, however, one major difference between money loss due to technical issues and money loss due to click fraud: click fraud is something outside of the influence of the advertiser; it cannot be controlled.
Technical money loss and click fraud are not opposing terms. They are just the two major ways of losing money when advertising with search engines. The reason why click fraud is considered the biggest issue is simply because there is little that can be done on the advertiser’s side, while technical money loss can more easily be avoided.
Search engines have been slow to respond to the click fraud issue, which has been plaguing the search marketing industry for many years. It is only natural: no one wants to make less money and spend a portion of their budget on the development of tools that potentially prevent one from making more money. And yet click fraud has the potential of ruining the search engine marketing industry in the long run and cannot be overlooked. Although many third-party applications are trying to combat click fraud, only the “big boys” can create the barriers that will decrease the number of fraudulent clicks and potentially eliminate them altogether.