Click fraud is an illegal practice that occurs when individuals click on a website’s click through advertisements (either banner ads or paid text links) to increase the payable number of clicks to the advertiser. The illegal clicks could either be performed by having a person manually click the advertising hyperlinks or by using automated software or online bots that are programmed to click these banner ads and pay per click text ad links.
Research has indicated that click fraud is perpetrated by individuals who use click fraud to increase their own personal banner ad revenues and also by companies who use click fraud as a way to deplete a competitor’s advertising budget. Click fraud is commonly associated with pay-per click advertising (PPC).
Click Fraud or Invalid Clicks?
The phrase invalid clicks is similar to click fraud, however in addition to clicks that is intentionally fraudulent, invalid clicks also includes accidental clicks and other mechanically generated traffic that are not the result of genuine user clicks. Invalid clicks can be a costly for advertisers. Large advertising networks typically analyze and validate clicks on behalf of the advertiser. When invalid clicks are detected they are flagged and automatically filtered from reports and payments. In some cases, refunds may be issued.
Click Fraud Firewall and Monitoring
To counter click fraud there are a number of firewall, blocking and monitoring tools and services available. For example, an AdSense Plugin for Google AdSense can help vendors who encounter malicious or unintended third party clicks on website advertisements. The plugin is designed to block visitors from seeing ads when they click multiple times on them.
Other monitoring systems inspect the quality of every ad click to determine if the clicks are excessive non-converting clicks from specific countries or a competitor clicking your ads.