Click fraud

Click fraud occurs for many different reasons. Sometimes, the defrauder is acting innocently enough – they have heard that a friend or family member is paid by their advertisers for each click on ads on their website or blog, so they visit advertised links to help out that friend or relative without any intent to patronize. Other times, motivations are far more malicious. Competitors of advertisers might try to drain their rivals’ advertising budgets by constantly clicking their ads.
Competitors of the websites publishing the pay per click ads may attempt to frame the webmaster (publisher) for the click fraud, causing the advertiser to pull their ads and the related revenue from the site because they think they are being defrauded by the webmaster. The most frequent perpetrators of click fraud, though, are publishers themselves, many of whom run successful pay per click scams.
Part of the problem is the format of pay per click advertising. Initially, pay per click advertising simply involved a webmaster publishing advertisement links on their websites in exchange for compensation for every click generated. Then the industry grew to support other networks of advertisers who became middlemen in the equation; they are often referred to as advertising programs, and include (but are definitely not limited to) Google and Yahoo! Search Marketing. Click fraud scammers are able to easily advantage of this system.
They simply sign up with these programs as advertisers, claiming that they will publish advertisements on their websites and increase the ad exposure. Many of these advertising networks do what they can to prevent click fraud, but it is extremely difficult to determine which clicks are legitimate and which are not. Also, unless the fraud is perpetrated by a “scammy” publisher, the affiliate networks have little recourse when click fraud is discovered, and they usually have to bite the bullet and issue refunds to advertisers for the fraudulent clicks.