The problem of click fraud recently hit the headlines with a class action raised against Google, prompting Google to offer $90million as a potential settlement. Perhaps an acceptance of their responsibilities, Google's offer goes some way to suggest the extent of click fraud, and its vast costs to the internet economy.
There are a number of self-help remedies that can be implemented to keep an organization out of trouble. The first of these remedies is the reliance on search engine optimization and organic listings. If a site is well and fully optimized, it could eventually realize a ranking that another site is willing to pay $2.50 a click for. Similarly, with organically high rankings there are no clickthrough rates, therefore the costs associated with PPC are not applicable. Although the process is significantly more laborious and takes significantly longer to see results, the SEO process is much cheaper in the long run, and with an estimated 25-30% of all clicks being performed fraudulently, an organically high listing can save money which would otherwise be drained by click fraud for more beneficial reinvestment.
Year on year, as the pay per click advertising market continues to grow and expand, surely click fraud will follow suit. Unless an effective means of preventing click fraud is developed and successfully implemented, buyers will steadily lose confidence in the advertising medium and turn to more effective, less wasteful marketing methods, which would seriously hit the search engines and could potentially threaten the online economy as a whole.
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