Apologies for the apparent obsession with PPC click fraud in our news items recently, but it is an important issue and merits closer analysis.

An interesting report entitled ‘How Fictitious Clicks Occur in Third-Party Click Fraud Audit Reports’ has been published by Google’s click quality team. In essence, the report represents Google’s response to the accusations regarding the scale of the PPC click fraud issue.

The report is well worth a read and provides some interesting views on how the numerous reports issued by click fraud consultants over the past year are seriously flawed.

One of the key sources of ‘apparent’ click fraud is the use of the ‘back’ button in a browser, or other events which cause a page to reload. This often suggest multiple clicks but is a perfectly natural event (most web surfers use the ‘back’ button as a primary navigation device when browsing).

Google accuses the click fraud consultants of concentrating on page load statistics and not referring to the actual ad clicks, which for most cases are way below the exaggerated click fraud claims. As Google claim:

“One clear indication that the consultants’ results are flawed: they’re not even getting the total number of clicks correct. We have seen some instances of reports showing 1.5 times the number of clicks in our logs – for example, in one case 1,278 clicks were claimed as being “fraudulent” by the consultant while only 850 actually even appeared as clicks in Google’s logs.”

Another indication that the click fraud consultants’ work is perhaps not as thorough as one would hope is an example where the conversion rate for the supposedly fraudulent clicks is only fractionally less than the average for the site. Any level headed assessment would surely question why conversions were being recorded against fraudulent clicks?

Well worth a read and further evidence that the issue of PPC click fraud is perhaps not as critical as some people may claim.