Well, it seems that Google's CEO Eric Schmidt has gotten Mark Cuban fired up over comments Schmidt made on click fraud. Now, I've written numerous times on how to protect yourself versus click fraud by tracking your post click action and minimizing the use of content targeting where the real fraud occurs. So, when I read Cuban's post I was not too sympathetic, but through his ranting and raving he has a point.
Sure the examples he gives for Chevy and Disney are bad examples because those companies could care less about the fraud because they are not tracking through to a post-click action. They know there is fraud, but assume that it is the cheapest way to buy traffic, so the only thing finding fraud would do would be to stretch their ad dollars. However, when I stumbled across this post courtesy of John Battelle's blog, I have a slightly different view.
According to this ZDnet article called Google CEO on click fraud: let it happen, it seems that Google is going to rely on good old fashioned economics to filter out click fraud, assuming that a savvy advertisers will drop their bids down when they know they have a problem. Now, while this is essentially the strategy that I've been outlining, the big companies that Cuban mentioned will pay the click fraud and move on. Who benefits from this? Google and any other PPC advertiser in their revenue and stock price.
Now I always thought that Google would take this seriously, but according to the ZDNet post, Google engineers think it is "great fun to try and get ahead of click fraud." So, while my comments are still the same, I think Google should make fighting click fraud a priority and not something to play around with.
Google and Yahoo, up until recently, were the only companies I would run PPC advertising with. In the past, PPC resulted in a lot of clicks and no conversions as my experience with Gator showed. I usually avoided them. CPA won't fix this problem because you need a lot of "A" to make it work for both sides of the advertising equation. The only way to solve this is to put Google's Engineers on the job instead of trying to deploy another version of Microsoft Excel. Otherwise, Google will end up swallowed up by a click fraud Gator.