Brief: Google Report Criticizes Click-Fraud Audits - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Business & Finance
12:00 PM
Connect Directly

Brief: Google Report Criticizes Click-Fraud Audits

The report contends auditors inflate the size of the problem. But Google shows it's taking the issue seriously.

Google says click-fraud auditing firms can't count.

The company put out a report last week, available on its Web site, claiming third-party auditing companies report fictitious clicks--clicks it says were never made on Google AdWords ads--in their audits, inflating estimates of click fraud's cost to advertisers.

Click fraud--phony clicks to drive up a site's revenue, rather than to look for a product--has become a serious issue for ad-driven Web sites, despite past efforts to downplay it. Internet companies are trying to get ahead of the problem.

One way is to address it head-on. The Internet Advertising Bureau last week said it's forming a Click Measurement Working Group to set guidelines for measuring clicks on Web ads. Participants include, Google, LookSmart, Microsoft, and Yahoo. A week earlier, Google introduced an "invalid clicks" reporting tool to give advertisers better data.

The industry also is trying to minimize the perceived size of the problem. "We've seen media reports and data from consultants that didn't make any sense," says Shuman Ghosemajumder, Google's business product manager for trust and safety. Google wants auditors to change their accounting and advertisers to know they may get "distorted data." The Google report doesn't accuse click fraud auditors of deliberate wrongdoing but says auditors didn't do basic checking that would've revealed discrepancies.

Click Forensics, one of the firms singled out, has said roughly 14% of clicks overall are fraudulent, and CEO Tom Cuthbert stands by his firm's numbers. Google says that's inflated, but Ghosemajumder declines to provide a more accurate figure.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
10 Ways to Transition Traditional IT Talent to Cloud Talent
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  11/23/2020
What Comes Next for the COVID-19 Computing Consortium
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/24/2020
Top 10 Data and Analytics Trends for 2021
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/13/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Why Chatbots Are So Popular Right Now
In this IT Trend Report, you will learn more about why chatbots are gaining traction within businesses, particularly while a pandemic is impacting the world.
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll