There is a certain segment of the online advertising community that is content to accept some amount of click fraud as normal. They also accept the promise that stopping click fraud is an impossible task. But here is why such thinking is dangerous: accepting any level of click fraud almost always leads to making it worse.
Accepting click fraud as normal and okay is no different than ignoring any other kind of problem. When problems are ignored rather than being rectified, they get worse. Ignore a crack in a dike and it will continue to grow until catastrophic failure is imminent. That is the way the world works.
Click Fraud Is a Costly Problem
It goes without saying that click fraud costs advertisers a ton of money. How much money? Some estimates suggest it adds up to billions of dollars annually. For individual advertisers, the financial losses come in the form of depleted marketing budgets and lower than expected ROIs.
The makers of the Fraud Blocker click fraud detection software explain it this way: click fraud wastes money by generating fake clicks designed only to increase advertising charges. Those clicks will never result in actual human beings visiting sites to purchase goods and services.
In essence, a company being victimized by click fraud is flushing money down the toilet. That money will never lead to higher conversion rates. It will never recruit new customers. It simply goes from the advertiser’s bank account to the scammer’s account.
Getting Worse Before Getting Better
Click fraud is already a big problem around the world. But it appears that things could get worse before they get better. A post published on the Ad Exchanger website in early February 2022 gives us a clue as to why. The post briefly discusses the concept of IP sharing.
There are companies that pay businesses and individuals for access to their IP addresses. The idea is to encourage these businesses and individuals to turn unused bandwidth into extra cash. But it turns out that most of the entities wanting access to this unused bandwidth are engaged in click fraud.
The smarter ones target residential consumers before businesses. They know that consumers tend to have tons of unused bandwidth, bandwidth that will never get used no matter how many videos are streamed. Fraudsters can group the IPs together to cloak their activities.
Removing IP Addresses from Analytics
The ability of click fraud perpetrators to cloak their activities by purchasing unused bandwidth will be made easier as more companies remove IP addresses from their analytics tools. Google and Apple have already taken steps to do just that.
Both companies have decided to stop tracking IP addresses for two reasons. First is an increasing demand for privacy among consumers. Second are the rules being put in place by many countries to prevent companies from taking sensitive data outside their borders for storage oversees.
At any rate, software packages like Fraud Blocker analyze IP addresses in order to identify instances of bot fraud and click farming. Take that tool away and the software becomes less effective. Fortunately, there are workarounds. It is just that the workarounds will require software modifications and strategy adjustments.
All of this points to the reality that ignoring click fraud will not stop it. It only encourages fraudsters to continue doing what they do. In the end, the problem only gets worse. So rather than simply accepting click fraud as normal and okay, online advertisers need to be proactive about stopping it. The harder they fight, the harder it is for scammers to succeed.