Click Quality Council publishes click-fraud principles

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The Click Quality Council has published its list of principles for ensuring click quality industrywide.

The council spent six months developing the principles to identify the key characteristics needed to deliver adequate quality in pay-per-click campaigns.

"For anyone in the online marketing industry, click fraud is a problem, both in terms of it actually occurring and in terms of making your way through the maze of required documentation search engines like Google and Yahoo need to review before considering granting a refund for click fraud," wrote creativeliberty, a blogger at

And, according to pay-per-click fraud data from Click Forensics Inc., click fraud is on the rise.

The company's independent click-fraud reporting service, the Click Fraud Index, found that in the first quarter of this year the search industry's overall click-fraud rate was 14.8 percent, up from 14.2 percent for the fourth quarter of 2006 and 13.7 percent a year ago.

"Advertisers should pay close attention to the fact that the rate of click fraud continues to grow even though search engines have stepped up efforts to fight click fraud," said Tom Cuthbert, president/CEO of Click Forensics, Austin, TX.

Following are the CQC's cornerstone principles.

  • Advertisers should not be expected to pay for double clicks or repeat clicks from the same session.
  • Advertisers should never pay for traffic from bots.
  • Advertisers should have control over where, when and to whom ads are distributed.
  • Domain and IP exclusion lists from search providers should be easy to use and maintain.
  • Search providers should give advertisers detailed referrer information on all traffic that is billed.
  • Advertisers should never pay for traffic originating outside the specific geo-targeted settings.
  • Search engines should adopt third-party validation for click quality as other media companies have done for their audience validation.
  • Search providers should offer an easy mechanism to reconcile paid clicks on a monthly basis.

The CQC said it developed the principles because it wants search engines and industry groups working on the development of click-quality standards to know the key principles that advertisers believe should be part of any initiatives.

The council comprises 30 leading online advertisers, ad agencies and click-quality monitoring providers, including representatives from Avenue A/Razorfish, Visa, HomeGain, and


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