Click Fraud: Six Things You Should Be Aware Of Before You Buy “Guaranteed Traffic”
Bill was getting frustrated and more than a little desperate. He’d being trying to promote his website for months with little or no success.
Adwords didn’t seem to be working. He’d devised the most fiendish ads he could think of and set them up on Google only to find that nobody clicked on them.
He had written several articles and, using an automatic article submitter, had placed them on hundreds of Article Barns across the web. There had been an increase in his Alexa Ratings, but that was it. Maybe there was a slight flurry of hits when he first placed the article, then nothing.
He’d set up a blog, made a press release announcement, and done everything except don an Shaman costume and dance around his computer.
He’d purchased ebooks on increasing his traffic, and tried every idea he ran across. His budget was beginning to show the effects, and he had the chilling realization that if he didn’t come across something that worked, he was simply going to run out of money and go bankrupt.
In other words, he was about to become one of the 90 per cent of Informational Marketers on the web who fail.
That was when he ran across a site that guaranteed traffic. Little did Bill know he was about to become a victim of click fraud.
CLICK FRAUD AND BIG BUSINESS
Click fraud has been discussed in a recent issue of Newsweek (Oct 6, 2006) and across the web as one of the most serious issues that faces online advertising. It has cast doubt on at least some of the efficacy of services such as Google Adwords to bring actual paying customers to a business website.
It began with the monitoring of clicks that appeared to be coming from outlying countries such as Botswana and Syria, and grew into the discovery of a scourge that threatens to undo the very concept of paying for clicks as a way of obtaining legitimate customers.
Whole cultures were discovered that sustained themselves by clicking on ads – “paid to read” rings consisting of hundreds of thousands of people who do nothing but click on sites.
Newsweek reports that Yahoo and Google claim they “filter out” clicks of dubious origin, but the credibility of pay for click advertising is beginning to be undermined. It’s estimated that 10% to 15% of all clicks are fake. 300 to 500 million dollars of advertising revenue are being funneled into the click fraud industry.
THE “VISITORS” COME FLOWING IN
Bill was seriously considering paying for “guaranteed targeted visitors”. For as little as $100 he could get this kind of traffic directed to his site. After months of frustration in building his customer base he pulled out his credit card.
And the clicks began. They started slowly and then gradually mounted. By the time they reached a thousand, Bill knew there was something wrong.
He was getting a lot of clicks, all right, but he was getting no sales. Bill knew from his experiments with Adwords that his site had a 1% “conversion rate”. That is, for every 100 clicks he sold one ebook.
If he were truly getting paying customers he should be selling books, and he wasn’t.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A “GUARANTEED CLICK” SERVICE
So the question is, are all “guaranteed click” services fraudulent?
If you’re down to the point of paying for a service that will send you customers, you should take a hard look at a few things:
1. How do they get their customers? They should have some reasonable explanation for how they entice 10,000 or so customers to click on your ad.
2. Do they allow sites with pop ups? If not, why not? Could it be their automatic click machine doesn’t work on sites that have pop-ups?
3. Do you have the software necessary to monitor your site to determine if the clicks are coming from unique visitors? If you don’t, you have no way of knowing whether or not you have 10,000 unique potential customers or 1 machine clicking your site 10,000 times.
4. Do you know what the historical conversion rate of your site is? If sales aren’t tracking that conversion rate, why not?
5. Are there any complaints listed with the Better Business Bureau? (Or, if you want a report for consumers by consumers, check the Rip Off Report, http://ripoffreport.com/).
6. Finally, if you suspect fraud or feel you have been badly treated, email the company in question and demand your money back. If you don’t get it, post to the BBB, or better yet, the Rip Off Report. Sites like this one will put some of these guys out of business.
THE MORE DESPERATE YOU GET…
As your business progresses and you are discovering that you aren’t getting the traffic you need to truly “make a go of it”, you become more likely to search out quickie solutions such as “paid for traffic.”
• Thoroughly consider the credibility of claims and offers. Sleep on it before you jump in with your credit card.
• Recognize that you need an overall “system” for developing site traffic, not a “band aid” approach. Band aid approaches usually don’t work.
• Visit marketing forums and talk with people about what works and what doesn’t. Get recommendations from reliable sources.
• Remember, every testimonial on a sales page is ecstatic, and the entire page is psychologically designed to sell you the product.
TAKE STOCK OF YOURSELF
In short, as time progresses and you aren’t experiencing success, you become more vulnerable to fraud. You must take stock of yourself and what you are willing to consider.
And be a lot more careful.
Copyright 2006 John Young
John Young is a writer with a scientific and programming background living in Southern California with his wife and cat “Bear”. He is recommending an advertising monitoring software, Adminder. Please check this out at http://www.ebook-marketing-software.com/Adminder.html For a guide through the Informational Marketing Swamp, check the parent site http://www.ebook-marketing-software.com
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