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By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-03-04 Print this article Print

In all of the approaches, fraudsters can use a combination of automated software robots, called clickbots, to initiate clicks and people who physically hit clicks. While Google and Overture do proactively inform advertisers of the click fraud they detect, the majority of the burden for finding and proving click fraud has fallen to advertisers, panelists said.
"Search engines are profiting and have not published rules that speak to an investigation or give those harmed the information to get to the bottom of problem," said Ben Edelman, an Internet privacy research and Harvard University student.
Advertisers can analyze click patterns, visitor logs and other information, but Edelman said the search engines themselves should be able to access more detailed information that could help advertisers track down click fraud and even prove it in court. So far, click fraud has yet to be tested in court, but panelists and attendees largely agreed that they expect cases to emerge both against alleged fraudsters and possibly against the search engines. "While we know this is happening, there are no reported cases on this yet," said Peter Raymond, a partner at law firm Reed Smith LLP, in New York. "Obviously theres a real problem in gathering this proof to bring this kind of case." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on enterprise search technology.

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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