WebmasterRadio.FM investigative journalist Jim Hedger hosts this exclusive WebmasterRadio.FM series on the implications of click fraud on the industry and on national and global security. WebmasterRadio.FM is initiating an industry wide initiative to further examine and confirm issues raised by this series.
The series starts with an interview with Clarence Briggs, CEO of hosting firm AIT.com. Mr. Briggs was a lead proponent in one of the class action lawsuits Google settled in the spring of 2006. Because the case was settled out of court, Google was never forced to show how they charge for some clicks and dismiss others as invalid. Mr. Briggs maintains Google is doing business as usual, just as they did before the class actions were initiated.
During the interview, Mr. Briggs noted the use of click fraud by criminal and terrorist organizations. Our investigation has found several incidents of this type of activity. We have also found evidence of bot-nets used to facilitate click fraud, primarily against Google advertisers.
This series has been in research and production for over three months. In that time, Jim Hedger and a number of well-known search marketing experts and analysts have studied log files supplied by AIT. Each of the search marketing experts and analysts worked in exclusion of each other, without a lot of background information, in order to ensure non-biased examination of the data. As the analysis has come in, each has told a similar version of the same story.
Starting today, WebmasterRadio.FM is telling the story. Due to the large number of angles associated with the story, we will be releasing the numerous parts of this story in a series format.
We appreciate Google’s Cooperation with this industry inititive to help advertisers, ad buyers, investors have a better understanding of the questions posed by Mr. Briggs and many others who’ve had similiar issues.
Your feedback and input on this story is welcome and encouraged…feel free to email: daron at webmasterradio.fm or jim at webmasterradio.fm
The real story here is that click fraud is still an issue. We doubt seriously that Google is intentionally funding terrorists, although it is conceivable that terrorist organizations could benefit from click fraud, or from legitimate PPC campaigns for that matter, just as they could benefit from donations from legitimate retail store owners. The people click fraud injures the most are PPC advertisers. There should be more information on this unethical behavior and measures taken to put a stop to it.