A recent issue of BusinessWeek covers the click fraud in online advertising. Since this is just one facet of cybercrime, which is one of our areas of research at Tartor Software, I thought I added a new perspective to this issue.
Imagine what would happen if someone released a virus, or Internet worm, or other malware, that automatically generates fake clicks. That could potentially take the activity of the “clickbots” to a larger scale, geographically dispersed, possibly harder to detect and prevent.
That could give a blow to the confidence in this advertising medium. It’s possible that Google already senses this threat and that’s why they offer an antivirus included in their free “Google Pack”.
I hope there will be soon some solutions to this problem. In the meantime, an effective way to protect yourself is to choose to not display your ads on any “affiliate sites” (Google calls it "). In that case the crooks won’t have any incentive to click on your ads, because they wouldn’t get paid. Granted, your ads will get far less eyeballs, only from people explicitly searching for keywords, but those people are more likely to be genuine potential customers.
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