Click Forensics: Click-Fraud Rates Slip Down In First Quarter

headshotThe overall click-fraud rate slipped to 16.3% in the first quarter of 2008, according to the latest Click Forensics Click Fraud Index. That's down slightly from 16.6% in the previous quarter. Fraudulent clicks across content networks like Google AdSense were also down--from 28.3% in the fourth quarter of 2007, to 27.8% most recently.


"Our Q1 2008 data bears out what industry analysts have suspected for several months--Yahoo and Google seem to be finally filtering out more of the click fraud and non-converting traffic they used to let through," said Tom Cuthbert, president of Click Forensics.

In mid-November, Google reduced the clickable area of its content network ads, aiming to "decrease accidental clicks" and better align "user behavior with their intent." While advertisers (and Wall Street analysts) were concerned about what the changes would do to click-through rates (CTRs) and Google's bottom line, the search giant maintained that the decision was in the best interest of all parties involved.

Earlier in 2007, Yahoo hired Reggie Davis as vice president of marketplace quality. As the Web giant's "click fraud czar," Davis was tasked with getting Yahoo's click quality monitoring and reporting process up to speed. Then in March 2008, Yahoo announced that it would be partnering directly with Click Forensics to help combat click fraud.

Meanwhile, both Yahoo and Google have taken steps to eliminate spammy publishers from their content networks.

"Removing some of these higher-profile abusers appears to be having an effect on lowering the click-fraud rates," Cuthbert said. "If advertisers, publishers and ad networks continue to take proactive steps to filter out this lower-quality traffic, the click-fraud rate could trend downward even further, and that's good news for the entire industry."

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