It's tough to document and quantify click fraud, but San Antonio, Tex.-based Optimal iQ may have just the tool to find and stop it. The company's recently released third-generation Click Forensics 3.5
reporting system employs more than 20 technical, behavioral, and marketing attributes to analyze online campaigns and detect what Chief Operating Officer Tom Cuthbert calls "unwanted activity." The
program's algorithm "scores these attributes and delivers a summary report on the threat level by search item, provider, campaign, and date period," Cuthbert says.
Optimal iQ works primarily
with agency clients, but the company plans to begin licensing the technology to others early next year. Cuthbert estimates that click fraud runs as high as 35 percent in some campaigns and may dilute
the value of search advertising by as much as $800 million a year.