Leslie Walker reported in the Washington Post last month:
Google has repeatedly pooh-poohed click fraud, contending that it is a minor annoyance that it has under control with automated detection technology. At a meeting with analysts two weeks ago, chief executive Eric Schmidt said click fraud “is not a material issue.” Co-founder Sergey Brin said such cases amount to “a small fraction” of Google’s ad clicks.
But six days later, Google surprised analysts when it agreed to settle an Arkansas class-action lawsuit by setting aside $90 million worth of ad credits to advertisers that can show invalid click charges dating to 2002.
The article is about Radiator.com whose click fraud auditor [quote] “ClickFacts Inc. estimated that 35 percent of the referrals that Radiator paid Google for stemmed from bogus traffic. Likewise, 17 percent of the leads that came from Yahoo search results were illegitimate.” [unquote]
As reported in previous posts, click fraud thrives, as seen in the projects commissioned at the freelance sites, and it was probably very easy to perpetrate back in 2002. I look forward to hearing more reports of how bad it is in 2006. Would any click fraudsters care to comment?