Pay Per Click Fraud Prevention

Written by Rich B
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Affiliate guide to PPC Fraud and what you can do to avoid it
It is a sad fact of life that there will always be unethical people who try to make money by conning others. The Internet is no exception. This article is about Pay Per Click (PPC) fraud, what it is and how to avoid becoming a victim.

Google's Chief Financial Officer says, "click fraud is the biggest threat to the Internet economy". It is estimated that 20% to 50% of all clicks recorded are not legitimate. It's not just the occasional webmaster clicking on his own advert either; there are well organized click-fraud gangs who can produce five figures of fraudulent clicks in a day. While the PPC engines do catch some of this, it is in your interest to protect yourself as well. To protect yourself you should:

  • monitor your traffic volumes (sudden spikes are usually from fraudulent clicks),
  • avoid being the top bidder in popular (expensive) categories - the #1 position is usually the a the main target for fraud,
  • examine your traffic statistics in detail. Raw traffic statistics are useful, but takes a lot of effort to learn how to interpret the raw data.

It is difficult to understand of click statistics until you have quite a bit of experience. Even when you do know what you're looking for, it is quite time consuming. Fraud prevention is an area where getting expert help is very worthwhile.

The best way to protect yourself from fraudulent clicks is Click Sentinel. This program uses a proprietary behavioral matrix to analyze traffic at your affiliate marketing site
. This is fancy talk for "it checks lots of stuff and looks for warning signs". When it detects fraudulent clicks it displays a warning on the visitor's screen. This pretty much always scares them into stopping. It also generates a refund request form for you to send to the PPC engine.

Most PPC companies are very good about issuing refunds when you have the kind of hard evidence that Click Sentinel provides. It does extensive analysis on each click almost instantly. It examines the IP address and location, the type of machine, any proxies they are using, click timing and behavior, and so on. Subscribing to Click Sentinel also gives you access to their global fraud database - meaning you are instantly protected from all the offenders they have already detected. Click Sentinel does the equivalent of several minutes of analysis by a knowledgeable person on every click, in real time, 24 / 7. You're almost certainly throwing money away if you don't use it. It saves us at least 20-30% of our advertising budget each month.

From here you may want to go back to the introduction to PPC advertising or even the online marketing introduction.

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