Trending this month



March 30, 2008

Arresting Click Fraud :How Google prevents Click Fraud


In a recent post at Google blog. Google's Official Google Blog: Using data to help prevent fraud

Google basically uses three steps to ensure that advertisers do not pay for invalid clicks or clicks that have no intent ( of converting into actual sales )

The three stages are: (1) proactive real-time filters, (2) proactive offline analysis, and (3) reactive investigations.

Google uses sits logs to detect any fraduent activity and these logs acts like detective agents constantly sniffing out suspicious behavior.. These Logs serve as a huge repository of data which are used to detect patterns, anomalous behavior, and other signals indicative of click fraud.

Every single click is analyzed for click fraud by real time filters.They pore over the millions of impressions and clicks -- as well as conversions -- over a longer time period. In combing through all this information, our team is looking for unusual behavior in hundreds of different data points.
IP addresses of users also serve as important focus points for analysing user patterns in clickthroughs.

IP addresses of computers clicking on ads are very useful data points. A simple use of IP addresses is determining the source location for traffic. Google analyses if the traffic is originating from one country or city? Is that normal for an ad of this type? Although we don't use this information to identify individuals, we look at these in aggregate and study patterns. This information is imperfect, but by analyzing a large volume of this data it is very helpful in helping to prevent fraud.

Google says that the number of invalid clicks fluctuate constantly but they average less than 10% of all clicks.

Our invalid clicks rate – the activity rate – has remained in the range of less than 10% of all clicks every quarter since we launched AdWords in 2002. At Google’s current revenue rate, every percentage point of invalid clicks we throw out represents over $100 million/year in potential revenue foregone.

Further Google points that that every email received from advertisers for click fraud complaints are acted upon very promptly.

Our Click Quality team investigates every inquiry we receive from advertisers who believe they may have been affected by undetected click fraud. Many of these cases are misunderstandings, but in most cases where malicious activity is found, the clicks have already been filtered out (and not charged for) by our real-time filters. Because of the broad operation of our proactive detection, the relatively rare cases we find of advertisers being affected by undetected click fraud constitute less than 0.02% of all clicks.