Despite being a serious threat, click-fraud didn't really diminish the value in and growth of paid search marketing.
That's not to say that click fraud does not remain a major issue for advertisers, networks and publishers. Over time, what has happened is that technologies have surfaced which have worked to minimize the negative impact of fraudulent behavior.
Case in point is traffic quality solution provider Anchor Intelligence's announcement that it is launching the first-ever traffic quality alert capabilities as part of its ClearMark product suite.
ClearMark Alerts provide automated email alerts to customers when the invalid rate for the network or any traffic source reaches an "alarming" level. Not sure what qualifies as "alarming" but you get the idea. These alerts help customers immediately respond to instances of click fraud or other types of invalid traffic across their network.
ClearMark Alerts are sent when traffic quality for a network and/or one of the referrers within that network degrades significantly. Each alert conveys a range of information including the name of the account or referrer in question, the non-billable rates and overall traffic volumes for the period of alarm, as well as the average non-billable and overall traffic volumes for the preceding week as a point of comparison. As a result, customers can quickly understand why the alert was sent and respond accordingly.
“Throughout discussions with potential and current Anchor customers, the need for an alert system to notify customers of major changes in traffic quality became very clear,” said Ken Miller, CEO of Anchor Intelligence. “ClearMark Alerts, in combination with the real-time traffic scoring capabilities of the ClearMark system, gives ad network and search engine customers new means to fight click fraud before it impacts advertisers.”
Some big ad networks see the value and have already deployed ClearMark Alerts. "With billions of ad impressions in Technorati's self-serve ad network, it is important to ensure that our advertisers receive the highest quality traffic," said Shani Higgins, VP and GM of Media at Technorati, an early adopter of the alerts system. "Anchor's ClearMark Alerts help us to immediately determine whether incoming traffic is valid or invalid so we can meet our advertisers' needs." Anchor Intelligence provides their services to many well known advertising related companies in addition to Technorati, including AdEngage, LookSmart, Ask, and GenieKnows.