ABCSearch, ClickShield and Daniel Yomtobian
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 issue proactively.
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 issues.
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."