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We are the first company to offer proprietary ROI-based click scoring and patent pending click fraud detection technology. Our Principal Statistician has more than 12 years of experience, including credit card fraud detection with Visa and click scoring with two major Internet companies, and post-doctorate at Cambridge University (England).

Click Fraud

The companies most vulnerable to the kind of attacks described in the next section are those that meet both of the following criteria:
  • the revenue is generated by a large number of small competing clients
  • the fees are based on traffic numbers derived from the logfiles
Per-pay-click search engines are most at risk. Fortunately, we have designed sophisticated weapons to prevent such attacks.

We have expertise in web robot technology. We can audit your pay-per click program, using our own robot. The robot can be programmed to simulate human activity. We can help you design an efficient robot filter - one that detects illegitimate clicks without filtering out legitimate activity, to optimize your revenue.

We also use various state-of-the-art proprietary techniques to trap all kinds of robot activity. Even better, we can propose slight modifications of your business model that will make your search engine untouchable from malicious robot or human activity and will drastically reduce the costs of managing your pay-per-click program. We also provide ad-hoc strategies for the following types of businesses:

  • Pay-per-click search engines
  • Pay-per-impression search engines
  • Internet companies offering pay-per-lead programs
  • Internet companies offering banner advertising
  • Online advertising brokers, e.g. Doubleclick
  • Internet companies offering affiliate programs

Pay-Per-Click Advertising: Doomsday Scenario

Different types of undetectable attacks can be carried out against internet companies that bill advertising clients using logfile statistics. These attacks usually rely on IP masking, IP masquerading and fake referrals. IP masking is accomplished by having a web robot accessing web pages through several hundreds of anonymous proxy servers.

In another scenario, trojans are uploaded on popular shareware sites. Once downloaded by a user, these trojans perform the useful tasks they are supposed to do (e.g. hard drive cleaning, virus scanning etc.) but in addition, they randomly "click" on target links, writing fake information in target logfiles using web robot technology.

Competing advertisers, affiliates or partners in a pay-per-click program might want to kill each other to gain market share, using click spam. Target links could consist of paid links associated with selected advertising clients (e.g. perpetrator's competitors) or expensive paid keywords (e.g. "bulk Email" or "online casino") on pay-per-click search engines. Another version of this attack could rely on a virus with an embedded web robot instead of a trojan. The resulting fake information in the target logfiles can not be distinguished from legitimate clicks from real users. The fake clicks have a 0% click-to-sale ratio, driving the advertiser's ROI into negative territory. We have computed that it is possible to generate $200 million in illegitimate charges with a click spam program running non-stop over a 12 month time period on one server.

More recent cases involve ad relevancy fraud. It is possible to eradicate advertisers on AdSense for popular keywords, with a combination of bogus impressions and self-clicks, without using fraudulent clicks.

Click Protection - Click Validation

We offer the following products and services:
  • Click scoring technology based on state-of-the-art pattern recognition techniques.
  • Proprietrary IP blacklists.
  • Seminars on click protection, featuring discussions of real fraud cases. Our seminars also focus on best practices, internal versus external fraud (through distribution partners), horizontal and vertical fraud, entrapment techniques and web robot software to test your own billing or click fraud detection system.
  • Click audit.
Contact us if you want to request consulting services on click security, or wish to obtain our white paper on click fraud detection. Our clients include high dollar PPC advertisers and top Internet companies.

Data Shaping Solutions, LLC
Seattle - San Francisco - London - Brussels
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