Vendors Release Click-Fraud Detection Tools

More Web and search marketing companies are tackling click fraud with services to help advertisers discover and document fake clicks on search-based ads.

NEW YORK—As concerns over click fraud increase, vendors are beginning to launch new services and technology to detect and combat the practice of inflating clicks in search-based advertising.

This week at the Search Engine Strategies 2005 Conference & Expo here, exhibitors Clicklab LCC and Net Applications were among the companies releasing click-fraud services. They joined a growing number of search-engine marketers and optimizers that are providing services such as click auditing to advertisers worried about fraudulent clicks.

"Theres a cottage industry of tools to detect click fraud," said Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Watch, during the conference.

Clicklab, of McLean, Va., announced its Click Fraud Detection service, which is based on two years of research work on a statistical scoring algorithm for analyzing Web analytics data to detect and document suspicious clicks.

The service scores suspicious activity by giving weight to various behaviors and factors. For example, it would rank a site visit from an anonymous proxy server as a highly suspicious activity, according to Clicklab.

Once a threshold of suspicious activity is reached, the service flags it for analysis and action, Clicklab officials said. Users also can generate reports without manually compiling data.

Meanwhile, Net Applications added click-fraud reporting to its HitsLink Enterprise, its tools for Web site statistics and keyword analytics. The Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based company said the reporting capability is meant as "a line of defense" for pay-per-click advertisers.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about Google suing an ad partner over click fraud.

The capability is being added for free to HitsLink Enterprise. It reviews repeat visits from individual visitors from pay-per-click programs and provides such information as the number of clicks per IP address, the domain of the visitor, the number of pages per visitor search terms and campaign sources, according to Net Applications.

Users can also set up e-mail alerts and notifications for when thresholds of possible click fraud are reached.

A HitsLink Enterprise subscription starts at $14.95 per month, but the click-fraud detection capability is being added for free.

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