Click fraud is the name given to the act of false interaction with PPC (pay-per-click) online adverts by scammers or bots trying to fool said adverts into believing that they’re interacting with organic traffic and users who are genuinely interested in the product being advertised by a site or app.
Is it illegal?
As its nomenclature includes the word “fraud”, you’d be forgiven for automatically assuming that click fraud was, and is, illegal. But that’s where things get a little murky and tricky, as different territories and countries view it and the laws governing what you and can’t do online very differently.
In other words, it’s not as illegal as you or anyone else might think it is, as the internet is still a relatively young digital frontier that isn’t governed by a single, global set of guidelines and rules.
The high cost of clicks
On average, click fraud costs online and digital businesses around $100 million a year, a figure that’s more than doubled in the last five years.
And one of the main problems, from a business point of view at least, with click fraud is that because a lot of PPC (pay-per-click) adverts are essentially virtual auctions (meaning, in this case at least, that the company responsible for creating the advert charges the advertiser every time said advert is “clicked”), if a competitor employs a bot to click on a business’s advert without actually arriving at the final stage and making a purchase, they can drain a business’s online advertising budget at an alarming rate.
And no budget means that the company can’t advertise, which leaves the field of opportunity wide open for their competition, which is why it’s used, but seldom talked about. There’s a fine digital line between natural and unorthodox competition; no one wants to admit they crossed it.
Taking a stand against click fraud
Advertising costs have gradually been increasing for the last decade, especially in the financial sector, which is why Protect Line has always employed vigorous click fraud protection software, as the company wants to ensure that it fulfils its core mission to help families secure their financial futures by making sure that its adverts reach the people who need their help the most.
But the times, as Bob Dylan once sang, are changing, and scammers, bots, and click farms that employ them are becoming more sophisticated daily. Their methodology is evolving to combat the traditional methods used to foil them. This is why, in the last week, Protect Line just unveiled their new defence against the click fraud dark arts.
What is their new secret weapon to fight online financial fraud? Chris Reed, Protect Line’s executive marketing director, was more than happy to talk about the line the company has drawn in the digital sand: “Old click fraud solutions relied on “rules-based” detection meaning a human had to enter what to allow and what not to allow.
As bots have become more advanced, it can be very easy to go too soft or too light when setting these rules up. It is for this reason that Protect Line now use a platform that uses AI to detect invalid traffic. The AI learns what suspicious behaviour is and uses this to help it combat fraud today and in the future.”
With a new click fraud defensive system, Protect Line can continue to do what they’ve always done. Help secure and protect families’ financial futures against life’s unexpected twists and turns.