17.1% of all clickthroughs on web advertising are the result of click fraud – the act of clicking on a web ad to artificially increase its click-through rate – according to the latest report from Click Forensics, a company that specializes in monitoring and preventing internet crime. The level of clickfraud is the highest the company has seen since it started monitoring for it in 2006, dashing our hopes that it might hold steady in 2008. The company recorded a rate of 16.3% in Q1 2008.
Also alarming is the fact that over 30% of click fraud is now coming from automated bots – a 14% increase from last quarter and the highest rate Click Forensics has seen since it started collecting data. Click fraud for ads on content networks like Google AdSense and Yahoo Publisher Network was up to 28.2% from 27.1% last quarter, though that figure has decreased since Q4 2007, when it was at 28.3%. Outside of the US, Click Forensics reports that the most click fraud came from Canada (which contributed 7.4%), Germany (3%), and China (2.3%).
Click Forensics also notes that it has seen a reemergence with some old-hat tricks, like link farms. The company speculates that the increase may be tied to the poor economy, which has spurred a rise in activity like phishing and other cybercrime.