Spyware Scams Contribute to Rise in Fraudulent Pay Per Click

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February 8, 2010 – In yet another frustrating demonstration of how advertisers and marketers can be ripped-off by fraudulent Pay Per Click (PPC), experts are warning of a new threat to the authenticity of PPC campaigns.

The latest form of click fraud involves a type of spyware that uses of an intricate system of tracking a web user’s traffic patterns and their likely consumer habits to fraudulently charge advertisers for inauthentic clicks.

Ben Edelman, a professor at Harvard Business School, said the click fraud works by tracking a user’s likely purchasing habits with online retailers. It then fakes clicks on those advertisers’ Pay Per Click Google ads. The advertiser is charged for a click-or conversion-for a consumer that already was converted.

The assertion is that this new type of spyware-which generates the fake clicks-essentially negates the value of behavioral targeting for the advertisers that are victims of the scam. Though the circumstances are a bit different than the recent examples of Facebook click fraud, the bottom line remains the same; the marketer pays for a consumer that was not really delivered.

Edelman’s discovery is another reminder of the many inherent problems with Pay Per Click ad campaigns vs. using SEO web content that drives visitors to your site organically.

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