Click fraud is a nasty thing; humans and computer programs click spamming paid advertisements just to cost someone somewhere money. I am unsure about the specifics about advertising with the big internet companies like Google and Yahoo and what all the fine print says, but I am almost confident that there is no fine print that goes something like this “If your advertisement has fallen victim to click fraud, you won’t have to pay for fraudulent clicks”. Is that extra bit of money really going to make or break your billion dollar company; I think not so help out your paying customers!
As for the big internet giants, they really could care less about click fraud. As long as they are being paid, I’m sure they could care less. The only time they care is when click fraud happens to them. This happened to Google back in 2005 and “Google won its suit against an AdSense partner publisher that had been accused of deliberate click fraud“. Google was awarded 75,000. Not everyone has a legal team on standby and ready at a moments notice, let alone afford a legal team period.
Yes I understand that this suit was justified because the partner publisher was committing the fraud themselves and deserved the lawsuit. But the problem really takes flight when Google and Yahoo try and “boost their profits by recycling ads to millions of other sites, ranging from the familiar, such as cnn.com, to dummy Web addresses“. Is this done with the customers explicit permission (like using a check box) and is there a blatantly obvious warning to the perspective customers about click fraud? I would hazard to say no, but please correct me if I am wrong. Maybe the giants should offer advertising strictly on their site ( Google or Yahoo) and a second option to advertise virtually anywhere and with this option show a warning about the potential of click fraud.
When click fraud costs americans alone 52 million dollars in wasted advertising in a period of 6 months, I see an opportunity to make money. Why not create some sort of Click Fraud Insurance. This would offer every single person advertising with Google peace of mind, knowing they will not have to pay for fraudulent clicks to their ads. Offer coverage based on the type, cost and expected “vulnerability” of the ad to click fraud and there you have a new stream of revenue. Should you go through with this, seeing as how it was my idea, I will settle for 50% of the profits. I’d be willing to negotiate but we’ll start there.