Ask.com now scoring ad clicks through third party

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Ask.com will now score all of its paid search clicks using Anchor Intelligence's ClearMark software. This is the first time Anchor has partnered with a major search engine. The move is part of an effort to keep Ask's advertisers from paying for fraudulent clicks.

“This is a big step for the industry because it gives Ask the opportunity to provide a secure ad inventory for its advertisers,” said Richard Sim, VP of product marketing and management at Anchor Intelligence. “It provides transparency to an environment that historically has been somewhat opaque.”

Sim compared the ClearMark system to a FICO credit score for clicks. The software scores traffic based on the likelihood that the click is fraudulent, illegitimate or unlikely to convert by using proprietary algorithms.

Other media have similar scoring systems, Sim said, giving examples of VeriSign and TRUSTe for ecommerce, Arbitron for radio and Neilsen for TV.

“When people see those logos it means they're participating in a secure transaction that's been vetted and certified,” he said, “I see the online ad space going toward that direction because in today's market every dollar is being scrutinized by the marketer.”

Last month, Anchor partnered with ad network LookSmart for a similar initiative.

Ask.com, an operating business of IAC, currently is the fourth largest search engine with 4% of the search market share, according to Hitwise.

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