Even we admit that we’re starting to sound like a broken record here at Junkie when the topic of click fraud comes up. But don’t blame us for being repetitive! Even though we’re always thinking positive thoughts and hoping for the best, click fraud data continues to disappoint every three months or so.
The second quarter of 2010 isn’t any different. In fact, it’s now to the point where the leading click fraud trends are consistently heading in the WRONG direction when analyzed in the big picture, offering no relief in sight for beleaguered web advertisers and marketers.
Anchor Intelligence, our most-trusted source for comprehensive data on click fraud, reports that second quarter fraud actually moderately decreased, down to 28.9 percent from 29.2 percent in the first three months of 2010.
We’d suggest a celebration for this 0.3 percent reduction, except for one glaring problem: the Q2 rate actually represents a 26 percent increase in fraud compared to the same quarter just a year ago.
What’s happened in 12 short months that makes this possible? As usual, Anchor cites the “dramatic” growth of botnets in both scale and volume around the globe as the main culprits. The “exploitation by malicious hosts” of security vulnerabilities in the Internet infrastructure of many countries is also to blame.
Vietnam (37.3 percent), Australia (36.4 percent) and the U.S. (34 percent) continue to lead the rankings around the world for the highest attempted click fraud rates. But India isn’t far off, after recording a dramatic jump in click fraud from 21.8 percent in Q1 to 31.7 percent in the second quarter.
“Click fraud attempts are not going to go away any time soon. Cybercriminals will simply reallocate their attempts from well protected ad networks and search engines to those that do not have a fortified line of defense,” says Ken Miller, CEO of Anchor Intelligence. “Fraudsters are efficient. Once they stop receiving payments from one set of targets, they’ll simply find another set that is likely to pay out.”
Talk about doom and gloom! Is there anything good to take away from Anchor’s quarterly report?
Anchor did report that search engines and advertising networks that process more than 1 million daily ad clicks were experiencing some decreases in click fraud in the second quarter, attributed mostly to their partnerships with networks that have amped up click fraud defenses and/or don’t bill for fraudulent clicks. Firm numbers on those decreases aren’t available, however.
We’ve been reporting that same rough news about click fraud every quarter for quite awhile now. So it’s time for you, our readers, to have a say. Give us your ideas and thoughts on how to turn this click fraud mess around. What drastic strategic steps do you think need to be implemented? Or is it just a lost cause? Leave a comment and let’s get an open discussion going here!