Click fraud has long been one of the major problems that advertisers using pay per click platforms have to deal with. Yahoo! Search Marketing has decided to do “whatever” they can to protect their advertisers from click fraud.
Fraudulent clicks, for those who aren’t aware, are clicks that advertisers get billed for but were made by people who had no intention of buying the advertised product, but were only clicking on the ad with the intent that the advertiser ends up paying for these bogus clicks.
The majority of fraudulent clicks are usually initiated by competitors trying to run up an advertiser’s ad budget so that their ads stop showing once their daily limit is exceeded and by publishers trying to earn more money from the content network ads shown on their site.
Yahoo! uses a click protection system and have claimed to discard as much as 12-15% of clicks registered on ads before billing their advertisers. Last August they launched the Traffic Quality Center to help combat click fraud and “build the highest quality ad network possible.”
In a new endeavor against this menace, Yahoo! has teamed up with Click Forensics, a traffic quality management company that audits clicks received by an advertiser to fight against click fraud.
Click Forensics will act as an intermediary for advertisers and will work with Yahoo! on specific advertiser issues relating to click fraud. They will also provide Yahoo! additional data about the quality of traffic they are reveiwing. In other words Click Forensics will use their system to track the clicks and inform Yahoo! about the number of fraudulent clicks that an advertiser receives, and Yahoo! in turn will not charge the advertiser for these clicks.
Logically speaking, this is not in the best interests of Yahoo! However, if they want to attract advertiser dollars away from Google, they will have to show advertisers that spending their budgets on Yahoo! Search Marketing is worthwhile. Microsoft already do this by advertising the fact that advertisers see a much higher ROI on funds spent on adCenter versus that on Google.
Providing better clicks with a lower incidence of click fraud might turn out to be one of Yahoo!’s unique selling point, but it seems once again too little too late as most advertisers have already experienced the poor quality of their service and past refusal to deal correctly with reimbursement requests against fraudulent clicks on Yahoo!