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Click Fraud Drops But New Malware Scheme Surfaces

Posted on 1.25.2011

The click fraud rate dropped in the fourth quarter of 2010 for the first time since the middle of 2009, according to a new report from Click Forensics.

The rate dipped from 22.3 percent in Q3 2010 to 19.1 percent in Q4, ending a string of five straight quarterly increases that began with the rate at 14.1 percent midway through 2009. Click Forensics uses traffic from more than 300 advertising networks to produce the data.

The news was not all favorable, however, as seen in some of the report's highlights below:

•    While the fourth quarter’s overall industry average click fraud rate of 19.1 percent was lower than the reported rate for Q3 2010, it was higher than the 15.3 rate reported for Q4 2009.

•    The Click Forensics Malware Lab identified a new malware scheme targeting display banner ads. The sophisticated program performs a pop-up or pop-under and rotates brand advertisers’ banner ads every 10 to 15 minutes in an effort to seemingly boost impression figures. Click Forensics researchers are working diligently to quantify the impact of this new scheme.

•    In Q4 2010, the countries outside North America producing the greatest volume of click fraud were Japan, The Netherlands, Philippines, Sweden and France, respectively.

“While the overall click fraud rate dropped last quarter for CPC advertising, we saw the emergence of new schemes focused on display advertisements,” said Paul Pellman, CEO of Click Forensics. “We are investigating the malware-driven attacks in more detail, but early evidence points to an impression inflation scheme. It’s something we will examine more closely and report on later this year.”

To see the entire report, visit Click Fraud Index.


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