January 19, 2010, 12:00 AM

Click fraud rose slightly in Q4

Although click fraud saw a slight uptick in the Q4, the click fraud rate was the lowest Q4 rate in three years, says Click Forensics.

Although click fraud saw a slight uptick in the fourth quarter, the click fraud rate was the lowest fourth quarter rate in three years, says Click Forensics Inc., which audits traffic quality for online advertisers and networks. Click fraud generally rises in the fourth quarter due to increased search traffic from holiday shoppers.

15.3% of paid clicks on web ads were fraudulent in the fourth quarter, up from 14.1% in the third quarter, but down from the record 17.1% in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the Click Fraud Index from Click Forensics.

It is good news for the industry that the click fraud rate fell from the same period a year ago, wrote Steve O’Brien, Click Forensics vice president of sales and marketing, in the company’s blog. “Even as fraud schemes become increasingly sophisticated with the advent of spyware, malware, adware, and botnets, the industry’s efforts to thwart fraud and protect advertisers seem to be working.”

Here are the fourth quarter click fraud rates since 2006, when Click Forensics began publishing industry data:

  • 2006: 14.2%
  • 2007: 16.6%
  • 2008: 17.1%
  • 2009: 15.3%

 

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