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Avoiding Click Fraud
Bigger may be better
Though no pay per click provider can completely protect advertisers from click fraud, the bigger search engines like Yahoo! Search Marketing, Google AdWords, and MSN adCenter are usually safer than smaller companies. The bigger companies have more interest in protecting their reputations, may be more likely to work with you if you detect click fraud, and have more resources to track and block click fraud. If you are especially concerned about click fraud, you may want to request that your ads only appear on Yahoo!, Google, and MSN, and not be allowed to be recycled to affiliate websites. This reduces your potential audience, but also reduces the chances of click fraud.
Track your statistics
Though the big pay per click engines work to prevent click fraud, you also have to take action to protect your business. The best way to do this is to track and analyze your pay per click advertising statistics. The occasional fraudulent click may be hard to spot, but there are signs that you may be the victim of click fraud:
- An unusual number of clicks coming from strange locations, especially overseas if you are not trying to reach an international audience.
- Many clicks coming from the same IP address, or being directed to your site from the same website, if those clicks do not result in long visits or sales.
- A sudden increase in clicks without a corresponding increase in sales
Report suspected fraud
Once you have documented suspicious activity in connection with your pay per click advertising campaign, take the evidence to your pay per click provider. Though your provider may or may not be able to refund your losses, they may be able to help you stop the fraudulent clicks from continuing.
If you think you know who is committing click fraud against you, you may also want to turn them over to the proper authorities. Remember that you should never retaliate against someone you suspect of click fraud by committing click fraud yourself; click fraud can be prosecuted as a serious crime.
As pay per click providers find new ways to block click fraud, criminals will probably find new ways to commit it. For this reason you should continue to monitor your advertising accounts for unusual activities, and stay informed about technologies that prevent click fraud and new ways that criminals may be using click fraud against you.
Related Article: Click Fraud >>
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