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Sunday, 24th September 2006

Search Briefs: Click Fraud Investigation is BusinessWeek's Cover Story

No doubt that thousands of articles in both the mainstream press and business press have been published about click fraud. This week, BusinessWeek makes the topic its cover story in an investigation by Brian Grow and Ben Elgin. Along with the article you'll find numerous sidebars, graphics (the differences between click fraud 1.0 and 2.0), and slide shows.

Title:
Click Fraud: The dark side of online advertising

+ Opens with the story of Mark Fleischmann, an Atlanta businessman (owns a company called MostChoice.com) who says click fraud, "cost his business more than $100,000 since 2003."

From the article:

"A BusinessWeek investigation has revealed a thriving click-fraud underground populated by swarms of small-time players, making detection difficult. "Paid to read" rings with hundreds or thousands of members each, all of them pressing PC mice over and over in living rooms and dens around the world. In some cases, "clickbot" software generates page hits automatically and anonymously."

From the article:

BusinessWeek's independent analysis of the MostChoice records turned up additional indications of click fraud. Over the past six months, the company received 139 visitors through an advertisement on the parked site healthinsurancebids.com, which offers only ads supplied by Yahoo. Most of these visitors were located in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Egypt, and Ukraine. Their average stay on MostChoice.com was only six seconds, and none of them became a customer.

The story includes several sidebars and a podcast.
+ Podcast

+ Graphic: Evolution of a Scam
Click Fraud 1.0 and 2.0

+ Rogues Glossary (terms liked Parked Web Site and Paid to Read)

+ Advertisers In China Are Getting Burned, Too

+ Click Fraud Slide Show: Follow the Money

+ Graphic: Other Media Scandals

+ Taking The Search Engines To Court

+ Doing Business With A Controversial Partner

Online Extras
+ Click Fraud's Next Frontier
From the article,
"Search engines, marketers, and law-enforcement agencies are increasingly worried about networks of automated miscreants called "botnets." These are groups of computers that have been infected by malicious software that allows the fraudsters to seize control."

+ Slide Show: The Botnet Threat

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