Good Clicks, Bad Clicks: Recognizing The Signs Of Click Fraud


Search engine marketing is a billion dollar industry—but click fraud poses a threat to search engine advertising companies and online marketers alike. Pay-Per-Click ad campaigns are a fairly simple concept; advertisers bid on popular search keywords and pay the search engine ad companies every time someone clicks on their ad. This is a mutually beneficial relationship for the advertiser and the search engine company. The problem comes when the advertisers’ numbers—and their bills—are falsely inflated through click fraud.

What is Click Fraud?

Boris Mordkovich of Search Marketing Standard, a magazine devoted exclusively to search marketing, defines click fraud as “any click made on an ad with no intention of actually buying or looking for information, but rather with the intention of depleting the advertiser’s budget.”

Who is Behind It?

Who would benefit from deliberately running up your bill? To start with, your competition would. The ads in the top spots are always in the crosshairs of the ads a little further down the page. And if your competitor clicks on your ad a few times a day or a few times a week, the search engines won’t notice such small numbers. Doesn’t sound like much but it can really add up, especially when you have multiple competitors doing it. So they just chip away at your budget until you can no longer afford to advertise on that search engine.

Another common source of click fraud is search engine affiliates. When webmasters get a cut of the revenue from the ads on their sites, they sometimes play the same game as your competitors. They quietly click away at your ad and raise your bill—and their profits—one click at a time.

“It Could Happen To You”—Fighting Back

When you think you have found a case of click fraud, you need to gather your information:

  1. the questionable clicks
  2. the keywords that were clicked on
  3. when they were clicked on, and
  4. the country from which the clicks originated.

You can do this yourself by monitoring your server logs and watching for unusual increases in activity or repeated clicks from the same ISP address. Or you can get a third party to research it for you., and are examples of services that will analyze which of your clicks are valid and present you with all the relevant information in an organized report. This type of service may cost you from twenty to a hundred dollars a month.

You can email this information to your search engine and request an investigation for the purpose of obtaining a refund. Mordkovich warns that you should expect some resistance, but says “it’s important to elevate the issue to a supervisor.” If the search engines know you are serious, they will look into your claims.

The key to not becoming a click fraud victim is to be aware. Watch the sources of your clicks. Check your server logs. Watch for spikes. Consider a third party watchdog if necessary. Click fraud is both real and prevalent. So use a little caution and you can save yourself a great deal of money down the road.

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.5 / 5. Vote count: 143

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Why your forms on your website should also use a double optin

Without control, forms on your website can become an expensive game - GDPR also affects your forms! What we have  

The Hardware Journal

The Hardware Journal is the official magazine of Hardware Association Ireland (HAI). It is published bi-monthly and is circulated to  

Google Adsense – The Easiest Money To Make Online?

For the last couple of months, Google Adsense has dominated forums, discussions and newsletters all over the Internet. Already, there  

Google Adsense – The “Duplicate Content” Controversy

The hoopla over duplicate content has been going on for quite some time now, and I see it as simply  

I frequently get asked where my expert status comes from. In addition to my national and international practical experience, I educate myself from these sources:

Note: The above product recommendations contain affiliate links. If you click on such an affiliate link and make a purchase via this link, I will receive a commission from the online shop or provider mentioned. The price does not change for you.

Autor: Sanjay Sauldie

Sanjay Sauldie, born in India, grew up in Germany, studied mathematics and computer science at the University of Cologne and did his Master of Sciences (M.Sc.) at the University of Salford (Manchester, UK) on digital disruption and digital transformation (2017 ) and was trained at EMERITUS (Singapore) in the MIT method of design thinking (2018). He is the director of the European Internet Marketing Institute EIMIA. He was awarded the Internet Oscar "Golden Web Award" by the international world association of webmasters in Los Angeles / USA and twice the "Innovation Award of the Initiative Mittelstand" and is one of the most sought-after European experts for digitization in companies and society. In his lectures and seminars, he ignites a firework of impulses from practice for practice. He succeeds in making the complex world of digitization understandable for everyone in simple words. Sanjay Sauldie fascinates his listeners with his visual language and encourages them to put the valuable tips into practice immediately - a real asset for any event!



Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Call Now Button

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: