Google went on the offensive today against critics who argue that Google's advertising system is inherently vulnerable to fraudulent clicks. Those critics argue click fraud can account for 15-30% of all clicks on advertisements. But representatives from the search giant say reports released by third-parties are flawed because they count clicks never made on Google's AdWords system.
Google says clicks may appear to be fraudulent even though they are not. For example, some Web users may navigate into a particular web site then back up with the browser's back button, reload the page, or open up an entirely new window.
Google also criticized reports for using small sample sizes in their testing, and criticized third-party firms for hyping those test results in order to portray click fraud as a bigger problem than it is.
The "he said, she said" argument can frustrate observers, who are stymied by Google's reticence to release their click fraud-estimation methodology.
"We're reluctant to share more about our technology and methods," said Shuman Ghosemajumder, Google's business product manager for trust & safety in a blog post, "because doing so would make it easier for fraudsters to try to defeat our systems.