Bogus clicks continue to rise, says report

Swindlers have stepped up their effort to fleece millions of dollars from online advertisers who use lucrative marketing networks run by Google and Yahoo, an Associated Press report, said.
The report, quoting a study by Click Forensics, a San Antonio-based consulting service, said sales referrals generated by clicks on the brief advertising links popularized by the two Internet powerhouses were a sham 14.1% of the time, based on information collected from 1,300 online marketers.
This was up from a click fraud rate of 13.7% three months ago, according to the study.
The statistics agree with other data asserting advertisers were paying a significant sum to Google, Yahoo and their partner Web sites for phantom shoppers even as more resources are devoted to thwarting scammers, the report said.
A recently released survey of 407 online advertisers by market research firm Outsell estimated that click fraud cost advertisers $800 million last year.
The report said click fraud was a highly sensitive subject for Google and Yahoo because it raised doubts about the trustworthiness of the advertising model that drove their profits and stock prices.