One of the notable aspects of the rise of the internet has been the new, alternative ways of advertising that have developed as a result. Google, arguably the most successful of all internet companies makes a vast proportion of its revenue from what is know as cost per click (CPC) advertising. CPC advertising is when the advertiser is only charged when the advertisement is clicked on, general this are text based, classified adverts, like the sponsored searches that you see on Google.
This has proved to be a very attractive and effective way of advertising. This is appealing to the advertiser, as they will only to pay if their advert has actually generated an activity (i.e. someone clicking through.) This means that an ad can be displayed in theory an indefinite number of times, before achieving a result. As the potential customer has chosen to click on this advertisement, it is also likely that they will have a genuine interest in the product.
The success of this medium can be shown by the amount of sites that are now littered with Google adwords or similar, in fact we here at Net Communities run our own, vastly more targeted and superior CPC service in ITadCLICKS Of course something this useful and successful is bound then to attract the wrong sort of attention.
As CPC advertising has proved its worth, it has taken for some companies an increasingly large proportion of their marketing budget. Rivals looking to do their competitors down have therefore sought to exhaust this budget by generating spurious clicks, i.e. click fraud. This can have grace consequences for the company on the receiving end of the dodgy dealing, with them either spending their entire budget for no appreciable result or ending up with a much larger bill than they were ever expecting to receive.
Click Fraud is to me a bit like spam mail, an unforeseen development that tarnishes an extremely useful solution. Perhaps it should have been obvious what was going to happen, but did Alexander Graham Bell predict the rise of the tele-canvasser, probably not, otherwise he might have buried the invention of the telephone for the greater good of mankind