ABCSearch, ClickShield and Daniel Yomtobian
Posted on 11.09.2007
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Click fraud, the bane of the PPC advertising and affiliate business, gets a lot
of attention and for good reason. Nothing can empty an advertisers account
faster or destroy a PPC providers brand more quickly. I had the opportunity to speak with ABCSearch.com’s CEO and President
Daniel Yomtabian about the pervasive click fraud issue this afternoon and what
they're doing to tackle the problem. ABCSearch, much like its competitors can
lose advertisers if the problem gets out of hand and are forced to tackle the
ABCSearch has a patent-pending technology they've dubbed ClickShield which
identifies suspicious traffic. Whenever I speak with a PPC provider about their
click fraud identification technologies, few specific insights are shared but
for good reason. When you know the possible holes in a technology as important
as this, it is much easier to exploit it and equally much easier for these PPC
providers competitors to copy.
What Yomtobian did tell me was that ABCSearch uses a number of methods to
score quality, ie. conversion tracking, search activity, click paths, traffic
patterns, IP monitoring, etc. "We don't look primarily at individual clicks but
rather we profile affiliate ID's (and their affiliates) and rate them based on
the clicks that are coming in," said Yomtobian. The screening process of
affiliates is similar to other serious tier two PPC providers. When new
affiliates come on board they are presented with a number of questions including
how much traffic they currently have, how that traffic is obtained, and even the
percentage of U.S. versus international traffic. This gives ABCsearch an idea of
how well these affiliates will perform and minimized potential click fraud
When asked what he has learned from the click-fraud missteps of others
providers over the years, Yomtobian said "There are some companies that are more
interested in solving the problem than others. We're interested in protecting
the advertiser because it provides value to us as a company. There are many who
do not see the big picture." Some would argue (myself included) that advertisers
need to take some responsibility. Yomtobian disagrees. "Advertisers should focus
on their landing pages, their keyword ROI and managing their campaigns.
Advertisers should not have to focus on blocking click fraud and being concerned
with going through their logs. The burden should be on the pay per click network
not the advertiser." Well said.
ABCSearch.com's biggest challenge however is competing in a space
dominated by the big four (Google, Yahoo, Ask and Microsoft) and gaining market
share in that environment. That's no different that other tier two solutions but
clearly shows why ABCsearch needs to takes click fraud so seriously. Get a bad
wrap in an industry that competitive and you've essentially secured your spot in
the dead pool.
So what's next for ABC Search and Internext Media? "We are looking outside
of the box and diversifying our products outside of our network" said Yomtobian.
Internext Media is launching BidScience (along with a few others), an automated
SEM system in the coming months which monitors and optimizes the PPC campaigns
of advertisers. "We'd like to grow our business in verticals that are
complimentary to our business. We're excited about our business and are excited
about our growth."
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