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How Advertisers Can Fight Click Fraud

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Primarily because so many PPC search engines have not yet instituted formalized programs to detect click fraud, and even those that have only detect a portion of actual fraud, the responsibility to proactively combat click fraud falls on the advertiser.

Part of the problem with having to combat click fraud on your own is the amount of time involved in analyzing and organizing the evidence to present to the PPC search engine, in order to seek a refund.

Sometimes, the time involved in following through on such a claim costs more than the actual dollars involved in click fraud, which unfortunately is something that click fraud operators count on to keep them operational.

However, if you are already using tracking software to analyze your web analytics, as is suggested for anyone who is running anything more than the simplest PPC ad campaign, you can use that information to identify potential click fraud. Some tracking software even includes a click-fraud detection component.

There are also a number of third-party tools that are specifically designed to look for signs of click fraud and to analyze your log files to find out if you have been a victim.

Such tools can help your case with your PPC search engine if you do discover a problem and take it to the search engine for a refund. Some companies will even take your case to the search engine for you themselves.

More and more products will find their way to the market as the problem of click fraud gains even more notoriety.

Besides relying on the search engines themselves, using a third-party tool, and engaging in some manual checking yourself, what else can you do to combat click fraud and receive compensation from the PPC search engine?

One step you can take is to disable any content search function you have and then keep track of your statistics while relying solely on the PPC search engine ads to test if affiliates map be involved in click fraud.

If your data shows a rapid decline in the amount of suspect clicks, turn content search back on and see if the clickthroughs begin to show up again.

Documentation of this type of experiment is great evidence to provide to the search engine to back up your claims of click fraud from affiliates.

Another very effective method that one of the third-party tools suggests is to make use of their software, or construct your own, to activate a popup message that will appear on the user’s computer screen if they click a certain number of times on your paid ad within a certain time period.

For example, if someone clicks five times on your paid ad within the space of an hour, they will see a popup message, very politely written, stating something to the effect that their repeat visits have been noticed and inviting them to contact you if they are having difficulty finding what they are looking for.

This innocuous-looking warning sign works quite well at deterring a number of those involved in click fraud at the basic level.

It is very important to keep accurate and complete records of any reports or statistical analyses either print versions or screenshots of suspicions data.

If your logs show that the same IP address is clicking on your ad 24 times each day, having a hard copy documenting that occurrence will go a long way toward proving your case to the search engine in question.

Likewise, if you can document that click fraud is occurring primarily on certain pages, you may be able to narrow down the potential perpetrators, especially if you suspect affiliate click fraud.

If you feel that you have adequate proof of click fraud, you should contact the search engine involved directly via email, attaching the proof you have collected and any further details or evidence supporting your claim.

Another possible tactic, if you are a relatively small business and have fairly clear evidence that a competitor is the instigator of the majority of your losses, is to place a carefully worded, simple phone call or email to them outlining your observations.

This may be enough to stop the problem. You could also contact a third competitor to see if they arc having a similar problem, and perhaps combine forces to combat the problem more easily and effectively.

No matter how you choose to deal with a potential click fraud problem, while the investigation is ongoing, continue to monitor your paid advertising statistics carefully and diligently to ward off further attacks and to enable you to monitor to some degree the actions that your search engine is taking to resolve the matter.

As with tracking ad campaigns, dealing with click fraud all comes down to one process-tracking, tracking, and then more tracking.

Keywords: Advertisers, Click Fraud, tracking,

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