What Is Pay Per Click Fraud and How Does It Work?
Pay per click is a tool that Internet marketers use for driving immediate traffic to a website. Pay per click ads are the ads that appear in the right hand column of the search engine when it displays the results for the searches you type in. When a person clicks through the ad, the website owner pays a small fee for the click through to the website. The ads are based on keywords that you use in your organic searches.
What is Pay Per Click Fraud?
Pay per click fraud is an unscrupulous type of Internet fraud that online criminals use to inflate the budget of online advertisers, knock out competitors, and drive up the cost of popular keywords in a pay per click advertising program.
How Pay Per Click Fraud Works
When you set up a pay per click advertising account the PPC search engine keeps track of the clicks to your website and then they charge you a fee for each visitor. This also works in reverse in the case of Google Adsense. With Google Adsense Google will pay you a commission for each click on an ad that is placed on your website. With that said, here are some of the ways that pay per click fraud works.
- PPC Ad Placement: If you own a website or blog, you can participate in advertising programs such as Google Adsense to add an extra stream of revenue to your site. When you create an account with Google Adsense, they place ads on your website or blog that are relevant to the content of your site. When your visitors click through the ad, you get paid a commission regardless of whether or not they purchase anything. Some online criminals that want to inflate their commission find fraudulent ways to produce extra clicks on the ads.
- Artificial Clicks: Artificial clicks are produced by human organizations for the purpose of generating artificial clicks to competing websites in an effort to drive up the advertising costs. Additionally, PPC search engines such as Google track clicks through IP address identification and will shut down your campaign if they suspect fraudulent practices.
- Splogging: Splogging occurs when the criminal sets up bogus blogs that have duplicate content from other blogs that use popular keywords. They use fraudulent software to link the splog to a high traffic blog that is legitimate. This provides the splog with a higher search engine ranking which results in high traffic clicks to the pay per click ads on the splog site.
- Hitbots: A hitbot is a piece of software that is designed specifically for automated clicking on pay per click ads. The software contains a way for the clicks to bypass the monitors used by pay per click search engines. The software is used to deplete the advertising budget of competitors which forces them to withdraw from the PPC campaign.
If you use pay per click advertising make sure you monitor your campaign closely for any unusual activity. If you can prove the pay per click fraud has been committed you can receive a refund for the added clicks from your pay per click search engine provider.