Talk:Click fraud

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Computer Security / Computing  (Rated Start-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Computer Security, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of computer security on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Computing.
WikiProject Computing (Rated Start-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Computing, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of computers, computing, and information technology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Law (Rated Start-class)
WikiProject icon

This article is within the scope of WikiProject Law, an attempt at providing a comprehensive, standardised, pan-jurisdictional and up-to-date resource for the legal field and the subjects encompassed by it.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.

What The Article Needs[edit]

This article needs a major re-rewording/improvement, on these lines:

  • Distinguish "Search Engine" from "Advertising Network". The latter is the relevant term.
  • Define more terms, so we can get to the correct terms.
  • Mention all the various motives for phony clicks, aside from just the organized crime rings. For instance people with grudges against publishers, who "frame" them. Or those with grudges that attack advertisers, often for political reasons.
  • Better discussion of legal framework.
  • Mention how contracts vary between Advertising Networks, with regard to what is deemed click fraud.
  • Work in more news stories into the body.
  • Break article into logical sections

I'm hoping a more knowledgeable person will do this, before I give it a try. --rob 18:10, 10 July 2005 (UTC)

  • Rob, I say you go ahead and give it a try.--AAAAA 00:28, 11 July 2005 (UTC)
  • What is the point in telling everyone about clickfraud if your not telling anyone how to prevent it? --General Trelane--

I rewrote the article, and here's what I think is still needed. Much of it is outside my expertise:

  • What exactly is the law in the US (and others) on this? What precidents have been set? Specifically, have any "non-contracting parties" ever been held liable. To my knownledge, no non-contracting party, has ever be held liable, in civil or criminal court, for this.
  • More news stories about court case, especially settled ones, would be helpful.
  • A fuller discussion on the trouble of detecting click fraud under "Solutions". We don't want to get too technically, but a cautious mention of IPs, might be worth it.
  • The last sentence about companies that "detect click fraud and offer refunds" should probably fleshed out in detail, or dropped.
  • If some of my terminology is non-standard, I hope to be corrected.

--rob 06:42, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

Click fraud and Google, and making money[edit]

I tried putting back some wording on how, in a conflict of interest, ad networks, like Google, both make a lose money. The person who reverted said Google always refunds money on fraud. That's actually false. They refund money on what they detect *and* deem to be fraud. However, a lot of fraud is undetected. Also, an *enormous* amount of fraud is detected, and reported by advertisers; but isn't deemed fraud by Google. This isn't refunded. Google does make a profit from this. However, to be kind to Google and NPOV, I said they do refund "detected" fraud (as they claim) in my amended re-insertion of the text. --rob 05:11, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Not that they always refund, but that they have a stated corporate policy to always refund. Since Google and others keep very secretive about how they judge yes/no on fraud, it is an interesting situation. If you assume good faith on both the side of google and the side of the advertiser, then are the article statements still valid? Or are the statements only valid if we must assume bad faith about one or the other side? Eclipsed 05:18, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
Actually, if we want to assume good faith, and go by corporate policy, the entire article could be axed. We could just say fraud is against the official policies of any legal corporation. Every publisher that signs up with Google AdWords agrees not to commit click fraud, and hence it's their "policy" not to do it, as much as it is for Google. But, I think the current wording (when I last looked), is a pretty fair and balanced article. I think today's edits are probably a net benefit. There's enough info and links, for people to draw their own conclusions. --rob 05:32, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
Better wording: Since Google and others keep very secretive about how they judge yes/no on fraud, it is an interesting situation. Are there any stats on actual number of reports of fraud.. or is it hearsay? The more interesting concept may be the conflict between advertiser and PPC engine when one says fraud and the other says valid. That's the root issue, perhaps? From that conflict comes the claim of extra-profit-making. Eclipsed 05:36, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
I don't think there are any collected stats on Google, but it's more than hearsay, because there are some court cases, where the figures are put out for major dollar amounts. But, I guess fraud for non-litigated claims against Google are just hearsay/rumor. Also, I have trouble identifying the exact "root issue", since there's a lot of big issues, and it's hard to know what costs the most, since there are no good collected statistics. I agree though, overall stats would be a great addition to the article, but I can't find any reliable ones. --rob 06:10, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Problems with Definition[edit]

I removed this section because it was almost completely inaccurate, people have been arrested for click fraud under Californian Penal code 502.

Also the section was inaccurate in terms of discussing advertiser's it is not the advertiser that is in breach of anything, it is the publisher or affiliate of the advertising network that is causing problems as well as competitors of advertisers.

I wrote that (though others might have edited it). It would have been better to mention the specific law. California is just one state, there are 50 states, and about 189 countries. Click fraud generally hasn't been *specifically* addressed by most jurisdictions. Also, in *some* cases the advertising *newtwork*, not just the publisher, has in fact been sued over click fraud. The only mention of the advertiser in the section was to state their stance on the issue of defining what's deemed fraud. The deleted section never said the advertiser was in "breech" of anything. I think the section needed improvement, but I don't understand deletion. --rob 20:03, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

As I mentioned, it was largely inaccurate and I don't see the point in disputing the definition as part of the definition. That is what the discussion board is for.

Well now it's gone from bad to worse the following is totally POV, and must be completely rewritten or deleted :
Yahoo are now purposely witholding basic billing information about advertiser's campaigns when click fraud claims are made, they state this is because they are preserving the integrity of their network. This is a major slap in the face for the advertiser spending millions of dollars per year, the network is in effect telling the advertiser they are not a trusted party. It is difficult to see how they can maintain this, the argument is unlikely to stand up in court.
This is not a forum for corporate bashing, and potential libel. It is not acceptable to make this whole article be from the perspective of just advertisers. Many look at things differently, and this isn't a place for advertisers to make complaints at a specific company they have a beef with. --rob 20:18, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

It's fact, call them and you will find out for yourself. I work with both advertisers and networks and represent both. I did however remove the network's name, I agree it wasn't fair to mention them specifically and seemed biased.

Hey, I've paid for what I considered bogus clicks (mainly AdWords but also overture/yahoo), so no surprises here. Also, I actually don't object to naming a specific company. The problem, which isn't totally fixed yet, is if you state opinions as fact. It's impossible to state somebody's motive as fact. Also terminology like "slap in the face" should not be used in wikipedia, except occasionally as a cited quotation of somebody else. Wikpidia must remain impartial. Done in a balanced way, and in the appropriate spot, identifying a company, is legitimate. In fact, feel free to give Yahoo! Search Marketing a look over, and see if something should be added. You seem to have some in-depth knowledge/experience on the issue. We want to use that, but you have to be careful not to make this into a soap-box. Just saying "Some critics claim..." to preface a criticism can be an improvement. And of course citations of sources of info is always good too. So, maybe just give it another look over. --rob 22:24, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

I agree with your comments and appreciate the guidance, I feel quite strongly about this since I started this page and I am motivated by the business owners I speak to every day that are affected by click fraud, let's get it right, I am sure we can make it stronger and maintain the required balance to give the credibility this topic deserves.

vendors links[edit]

I re-removed the vendors links, since I think we have to keep this article free external links, except for the possible exception of informational links from well known respected publications(<- Who are you to judge???) Links to any site selling something related should be kept out, as an advertisement. --rob 13:20, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

It was me that originally removed the links to the vendors. I should have noted the fact here and apologise for that oversight.
If any of the companies removed have their own articles, internal links to those are appropriate. External links from the companies own articles to their web sites are also appropriate. Like Rob, I think that lists of links to vendors on an article like this just encourages link spam and makes it harder to separate legitimate links from spammy ones. --GraemeL (talk) 13:55, 3 November 2005 (UTC)


Opposed to this link being included in external links. It is clearly a conduit for services on the main page and has little contributing information. Links like these encourage more spam. You are more than welcome to summarize the information from the SES Chicago panel and include it within the article itself though. Sorry, we have a very serious spam problem at wikipedia. Monkeyman.pngMonkeyman 20:12, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

-Follow Up MonkeyMan: You say that it is "clearly a conduit for services". I recognize the caution of external links to commercial sites, however does this include free resources such as VeriClix? VeriClix is provided at no charge. Operational costs are covered by promotional sponsors. As it is one of a kind I thought it would make a fitting resource. Thanks for your help MonkeyMan! 14:20, 15 February 2006 Jeff Martin
Wikipedia is striving for more content rather than more external links. We would be extremely grateful if you would include your knowledge directly into the article rather than just linking to it. Judging from your site, you are obviously an expert on the subject matter ... why not contribute directly to the article and share that expertise with the rest of the world? Monkeyman.pngMonkeyman 03:01, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Monkeyman if you want to promote a particular firm and block notable material because of your commercial interests then take it somewhere else, I originally created this page and will not see someone abuse the system for their own purposes which is what you appear to be doing. Visualize 14:50, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Removed blatant commercial promotion again. Visualize 14:58, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Visualize, I'm honestly not sure what you're talking about. Please explain how I am promoting anything. If you read the above paragraphs you will see that I am arguing against inclusion of that link. That link was added a while back and I was presenting my argument why it should not be included in the article. Also, if you would please stop blanking the talk page, I would really appreciate it. We need to keep a history of the talk page in case the same questions come up more than once. Monkeyman.pngMonkeyman(talk) 15:21, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Link to[edit]

The link to TV Interview, More Than $500M in Click Fraud Identified 2003-2005 on the External Links section is suspect. There are a number of different companies offering click fraud relates services and this link could be an attempt to promote this particular company. It certainly causes the links section to be biased towards one particular company.

At Wikipedia:External links#Links to normally avoid point 3 says we should avoid "Links that are added to promote a site". We can't really know intentions but this certainly is the end result.

Further, point 4 says we should avoid links to "Sites that primarily exist to sell products or services." This is the case here. The company offers services including a "Click Verification Service".

I believe these are sufficient reasons to not include this link. -- Barrylb 17:08, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

But of course, when you removed that link, you removed the only reference to an estimate of the size/amount of click fraud out there. Since you took it out, can you please add a section about the industry estimates of the size/amount of click fraud??? 1% of all clicks? 10%??? 20%??? I have no idea since I don't know this subject and only came here to find out how bad the problem really is. Of course, the Wiki article is deficient in that respect - doesn't mention anything at all about how much click fraud is suspected to be out there. But the article/link you deleted says over $500 million - that's a start.

Link to[edit]

Several organisations (for-profit and seemingly-nonprofit) offer free solutions, therefore they feel they deserve a link from Wikipedia. The recently launched Clickhaus has a noble but unproven model of collecting a set of IP addresses that are alleged to be bad. --Ash 12:30, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Reverse spiders?[edit]

The article mentions "so-called reverse spiders", but I have neither heard this term in practice nor been able to find other references to it on the web. Is this terminology used anywhere outside of this article? Mdz 01:43, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

{{fact}} in lead[edit]

I removed this because lead sections, being summaries of articles, should avoid citations (since the content would be dealt with in detail by the article anyway). There is already a citation for arrests for click fraud - see the Michael Anthony Bradley section. Johnleemk | Talk 16:50, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

Clear cases[edit]

Can somebody knowledgable (that rules me out) explain which cases constitute clear instances of click fraud? The only thing I can think of is a single agent (e.g. workstation) generating thousands of clicks within the span of a day or so. Beyond that it gets into proving intent, which is always difficult. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:20, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

bare urls[edit]

This article is strange... It has a list of refs and it also uses inline bare urls. They should be combined in inline citations (ref tags). For the time being, I used {{cleanup-link rot}}, though it is not entirely accurate. {{nofootnotes}} is also close to the problem, but not right. --Thinboy00's sockpuppet alternate account 22:12, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

I corrected the bare links using proper inline citations and moved the non-reference links into an External Links section. I also cleared the dead links Amcguier (talk) 03:14, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

overview of article[edit]

This article is bad, and I would like take on the effort of rewriting it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dj9395 (talkcontribs) 20:21, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Welcome. I've put a template on your user talk page with some useful links to help you get started as an editor here. --CliffC (talk) 23:44, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Level of click fraud / amount of click fraud[edit]

I came to this article to find out what the estimates are of how much click fraud is out there, what percentages of clicks are fraudulent - 1%? 5%? 10%? - I have no idea - and I still don't after reading this article. Surely there must be industry estimates somewhere - but I don't know much about this subject so don't know where any of them are. Can somebody who knows something about this subject include some of these estimates? Thanks.

Why is this such a problem?[edit]

You would think that advertising behemoths like Yahoo and Google would have squashed this problem from the beginning. Change the whole revenue model moving away from useless pay per click model. Why not just sell advertising spots like radio and television stations do? Client pays $X for 1 day on the search results page for keyword Y, Z, and A. No matter how many clicks there are, you pay for the exposure. (talk) 12:25, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

The very title is POV[edit]

The behavior defined in the first paragraph is not fraud. "Fraud" is a loaded word, and using it even by analogy is implicitly POV.

Traditionally and by any reasonable definition, fraud is intentionally misleading people in order to get them to do things to your advantage (and generally to their disadvantage; in some unorthodox formulations, their disadvantage may be enough). Usually the expectation is the person committing fraud gets something of monetary value. "Click fraud" as defined here fails on both points for non-contracting parties. If a non-contracting party clicks on an ad, for whatever reason, unless there are some special circumstances, that is just plain not fraud.

First, clicking on ad is not, except in the dreams of advertisers, necessarily an indication of any interest in buying (or doing anything else with) what's advertised. In fact, it's very dangerous to establish the idea that following any link on the Web is an indication of interest in anything whatsoever. So nobody has been misled (or at least nothing has been done which would mislead a reasonable person). I'm under no obligation to you to explain my reasons for clicking on your links, thank you very much. That's assuming I DID click on the link, and it wasn't "clicked" by some computer program for some unrelated reason.

Second, a non-contracting party doesn't usually stand to gain anything from the click, nor does the click in and of itself deprive anybody of anything other than a trivial amount of bandwidth which they have already freely offered. The intent to get something is the critical difference between "fraud" and "random lying", and there's a very good reason that laws traditionally distinguish the two.

So, I'm sorry. If I, as a party unrelated to advertiser, publisher, or ad network, click on an ad out of boredom, I have not committed fraud against anybody, nor indeed have I done anything wrong at all. In fact, if I click on your ad because I think you're a scumbag and I know it will cost you money, I still haven't done anything that could reasonably be called "fraud", even if I have done something that could, in an ideal world where the law had perfect knowledge and no more important things to worry about, be thought of as something that should be somehow punishable.

Yes, that's a point of view, but so is the point of view implicit in calling such activities "fraud". I realize that "click fraud" is the common name for this, but that name can't just be blithely accepted without adopting a POV. (talk) 17:08, 13 May 2011 (UTC)