Click Fraud Vindication — Sort Of

CNET reporter Elinor Mills posts about a new Click Fraud Index, which reflects relatively low rates of CF on the major engines ("Tier 2" is a different matter):

The Click Fraud Index shows that the overall, industry-wide average click fraud rate is 13.7 percent. The click fraud rate at top-tier search engines such as Google and Yahoo is even less, at 12.1 percent, the data show. The rate rises to 21.3 percent at so-called Tier 2 search providers and 29.8 percent at Tier 3 search companies, according to the Index.

On one level this is a smart marketing strategy by CF detection firm Click Forensics for its own products. But the establishment of such a third-party index is a good thing for the industry because it will make the CF issue more "transparent" and should instill greater confidence in search-engine marketing overall.

However, the exposure of this data and the contrast between so-called Tier 1 and Tier 2/3 will have an uncertain impact on marketers. Logic might suggest an exodus from Tier 2/3. But while Tier 1 delivers more quality and less CF it costs more too.

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Related: A San Jose Mercury News piece about click-fraud: it seems to be unaware of the index and has a more dire tone. 

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