Facebook Thinks Marketers Should Pay for Fraudulent Clicks

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February 2, 2010 – Facebook is asking a Judge to dismiss several lawsuits from marketers suing the social media network for charging them for fraudulent clicks, not because the clicks were not fraudulent, but because Facebook says that the marketers agreed to pay for ALL clicks, whether they were actual clicks or not.

In yet another excellent example of the faults of Pay Per Click advertising, Facebook advertisers are now being told by the social network that they agreed to pay for any and all clicks regardless of whether those clicks came from an honest consumer or a robot designed to commit click fraud. This is the actual argument Facebook is using in court to defend their actions against several lawsuits (now consolidated into one case), from marketers who were charged outrageous fees for clicks that weren’t even real.

How is this possible? Facebook’s stance is that all the marketers checked a box in their contract that stated:

“I understand that third parties may generate impressions, clicks, or other actions affecting the cost of the advertising for fraudulent or improper purposes, and I accept the risk of any such impressions, clicks, or other actions.”

The marketers have since claimed that disclaimer wasn’t even in their contracts, and that the language used in the disclaimer was ambiguous at best, as well as inconsistent with the message above by including other statements like:

“We have a variety of measures in place to ensure that we only report and charge advertisers for legitimate clicks, and not clicks that come from automated programs, or clicks that may be repetitive, abusive, or otherwise inauthentic.”

The case is still pending.

The idea that companies should have to pay for click rates that were clearly generated through click fraud is just ridiculous. Before you begin another PPC campaign, perhaps it’s time to look into the benefits of SEO and generating leads to your site without having to pay for every visit!
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