Interactive Advertising Bureau releases first click measurement guidelines

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The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has released its first official click measurement guidelines, which are meant to help combat click fraud. Key industry leaders agreed upon the guidelines to help ensure that advertisers only pay for legitimate clicks. 

"The interactive industry has been talking about the question of clicks for a long time," said Joe Laszlo, director of research at the IAB. "It took time to build a consensus." 

Click Forensics, a third-party click auditor, was part of the working group of 32 companies that created the guidelines, including search giants Google and Yahoo.

Tom Cuthbert, president and CEO of Click Forensics, said he believes the guidelines are a "good start" for the industry: "Our hope is that the entire advertising community will embrace them - the more that commit to them, the better quality traffic advertisers will have available to them to buy." 

Laszlo pointed out that more advertisers have become aware of the questions surrounding the reliability of click counts and those buyers of click-based advertising have exerted increased demand as they become savvy about the market. "The industry has reached the point in its process of maturation for these sorts of guidelines to set a baseline for everyone and to give buyers greater assurance that they get what they paid for," he said. 

The guidelines, he explained, set up an industry standard so vendors and advertisers will use the same terminology to talk about different stages in the lifecycle of a click: "There are also a very specific set of rules about how you filter the clicks you're counting and how those processes should work." 

Click Forensics admitted that it believes there are still things missing from the guidelines that might evolve in the future. "A natural evolution might be a click ID, a unique identifier that passes between the seller and the buyer to make sure they are talking about the same click," Laszlo said. l

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