Just An Online Minute...Click Interpretation
The report, by New York University professor Alexander Tuzhilin, highlights one of the basic bones of contention about click fraud--marketers and search engines can't decide on a definition. As it is, whether particular clicks are considered fraudulent occurs hinges on the intent of the clicker--a murky concept in this context.
Sure, the definition works at the extremes. If a publisher clicks on an ad with the intent of generating revenue for himself, that's unambiguous. Likewise a marketer who clicks on a rival's ad intending to drive up the competitor's marketing costs.
But, Tuzhilin writes, there's a large middle ground. "In several cases it is hard or even impossible to determine the true intent of a click using any technological means," he wrote in the report. "For example, a person might have clicked on an ad, looked at it, went somewhere else but then decided to have another look at the ad shortly thereafter to make sure that he/she got all the necessary information from the ad. Is this second click invalid?"
That question might vex the industry for some time to come, suggests Tuzhilin. "In some cases the true intent of a click can be identified only after examining deep psychological processes, subtle nuances of human behavior and other considerations in the mind of the clicking person," he wrote.