Click Fraud Hysteria

Ian Lurie

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I’m sure you’ve all heard of click fraud by now. In case you haven’t, here’s a quick primer: Click fraud occurs when someone clicks repeatedly on a pay per click advertisement (say, a Google Adwords ad) for the sole purpose of spending the advertiser’s money.

Click fraud has become a cottage industry. Folks worldwide get paid to do nothing but sit at their computers and click on paid ads. But is this the fall of pay per click advertising? I don’t think so.

I’ve been running pay per click campaigns for about seven years, give or take. I’ve never had a client seriously impacted by click fraud — by ‘seriously’ I mean they’ve lost more than about $10 to suspected click fraud in a single month.

The key is conducting smart campaigns. If you spend $10/click, then twenty fraudulent clicks costs you $200.00. You’re very, very vulnerable because every fraudulent click costs a fortune.

If, on the other hand, you spend $.20/click, then twenty fraudulent clicks costs only $4.00.
Remember, smart pay per click isn’t about the number one spot — it’s about bidding for keywords and positions that generate a return.

I’m not saying you should ignore click fraud — keep one eye on your web statistics. But if you really want to worry about something, focus on conversion rates — that, you can control. You can’t do much about someone in Lichtenstein getting paid $.01 per click to click on your ads.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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