Click Fraud and the Downfall

of Google




Internet marketers facing higher advertising fees on search networks are becoming increasingly concerned about a form of online fraud that was thought to have been contained years ago.


The practice, known as “click fraud,”

began in the early days of the Internet’s mainstream popularity with programs that automatically surfed Web sites to increase traffic figures.


This led companies to develop policing technologies touted as antidotes to the problem.


But some marketing executives estimate that up to 50 percent of fees in certain advertising categories continue to be based on non-existent consumers in today’s search industry.




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Sam Fritsberg of states that the fraud has reached proportions that would shatter Googles stock in half, overnight, were they more widely known.


“We continue to detect click fraud,

especially with Google’s Adwords and Adsense programs, and the numbers grow each and every month.” says Sam. “I wouldn’t be suprised if many of the advertiser horror stories are in fact true


and there are people who make thousands a week commiting pay per click fraud by clicking on the ads served on their own website for commission.” adds Sam Fritsburg.


In one recent example

of the problem,

law enforcement officials say a California man created a software program that he claimed could let spammers bilk Google out of millions of dollars in fraudulent clicks



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Authorities said he was arrested while trying to blackmail Google for US$150,000 to hand over the program. He was indicted by a California jury in June.


Matt Parrella, chief of the San Jose branch of the US Attorney’s Office in Northern California, said that case was “not unique.” The problem “


is certainly not shrinking, and we’re ready to prosecute people,” said Parrella, whose office handled the Google case.


Click fraud is perpetrated in both automated and human ways.

The most common method is the use of online robots, or “bots,” programmed to click on advertisers’ links that are displayed on Web sites or listed in search queries.


A growing alternative employs low-cost workers who are hired in China,





India and other countries to click

on text links and other ads.

A third form of fraud takes place when employees of companies click on rivals’ ads to deplete their marketing budgets and skew search results. “

Click fraud not only is used to attack competition,but as a rip off by publishers who click on their own ads,


the ones being served up on their own websites, in an effort to steal advertising dollars by the click”, says Sam of “Our solution to this model is to offer webmasters free organic search engine optimization,


but in a way that helps the net rather than promoting the current fraud Google is making billions from.”


Although the extent of click fraud is impossible to measure with any certainty, its persistence has exposed a fundamental weakness in the promising business of Internet search marketing. Google is tight lipped and has declined to comment.





“It’s hard to tell how big

the problem is,

but people are looking at it closer and closer as the cost of search advertising goes up,” said John Squire, vice president of business development of Coremetrics,


a Web analytics firm. “Click fraud is a fin sticking out of the water: You’re not sure if it’s a great white shark or a dolphin.” Maybe ArticleDash is on to something here.


Maybe organic is the way

to go after all.

Unlike advertising in traditional media such as billboards and print publications, “cost per click” Internet ads displayed with specific keyword searches have been promoted as a definitive way for companies to gauge their exposure to potential customers. As a result,


US sales from advertiser-paid search results are expected to grow 25 percent this year to $3.2 billion, up from $2.5 billion in 2003, according to research firm eMarketer. From 2002 to 2003, the market rose by 175 percent.





“As more advertisers have competed for desirable keywords in their industries,

the cost for clicks has risen too.” Sam of continues, “On average, advertisers are paying 45 cents per click this year, according to financial analysts,


up from 40 cents in 2003 and 30 cents in the second quarter of 2002. In certain sectors, such as travel, legal advice and gaming, the cost can reach several dollars per click.”


The implications are indeed disturbing.

But marketing executives say click fraud is pervasive among affiliates of search leaders Google, Yahoo-owned Overture Services and In a typical affiliation,




any Web publisher can become a partner of these large networks by displaying their paid links on a Web page or within its own search results and then share in the profits with every click.


“A common practice is

the use of proxies,

where by tricking Google into thinking the click is originating from another computer, possibly in another country, and the click fraud artist…


more webmasters than you think.. walks away with a handsome undeserved profit.” says Sam.


“There’s a fatal flaw in

the cost-per-click

model because a ton of marketing dollars can be depleted in a fraction of a second,” said Jessie Stricchiola, president of Alchemist Media,


a search-engine marketing firm based in Los Angeles that specialises in fraud protection. “Technology is continuing to be developed that can exploit this pricing model at incredibly high volumes.”




Google’s Answer

Google declined an interview for this report, but the company said in a statement that it has been “the target of individuals and entities using some of the most advanced spam techniques for years.


We have applied what we have learned with search to the click fraud problem and employ a dedicated team and proprietary technology to analyse clicks.


” Many disagree, however, and claim that the pay per click indestry is doomed. Organic Optimization a la seems to be the next big thing,


and at least this time the risk is limited and the free upside results seems unlimited.





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Marketing your web

site – Part 2


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Marketing your web site – Part 2 – Using banners ad and classified ads

This is the second part of Marketing your web site. In the first part we covered using Articles, Affiliates, Auctions and Auto Responders. In this part we will look at using banner ads and classified ads, both on line and off line. As with the first article, we are looking for ways to market the web site with the minimum of cost.


Using Banners to market

your web site

Banner advertising is on just about every web site you visit today. Banners are a form of advertising. This advertising is used to help pay for the site and help make the owner money.


Regardless of the type of business or web site you have, you can use banners to help increase your income. The advertising revenue generated from banners falls into 3 groups: Pay Per Impression (PPI), Pay Per Click (PPC), and Pay Per Sale/Lead (PPS).


Pay Per Impression

Because  with PPI banner advertising you are paid each time your advertiser’s banner is shown on your web pages. A term CPM is often used with banner advertising. It means cost per thousand,


Basically means you will be paid $x.xx for every 1000 banners displayed to the visitors of your web site This is the easiest method to earn money with as every time someone visits your web site you get paid. However,


However   this  is not used very much and is very easily abused. If you have a 1000 visitors per day and are paid $5 per thousand then you make $150 per month.


As an advertiser you do NOT want to use PPI. It would be like paying the newspaper or phone company money every time they said someone opened the newspaper or phonebook.


Pay Per Click

With PPC banner, you are paid more than with PPI but only when the visitor actually clicks on the banner rather then just seeing it. With PPI you many be paid $5.00 CPM (per thousand) and with PPC you could be paid $5 per click. However,


not as many will click on the banner. Banner design has a lot to do with what we call the conversion rate. That is basically how effective is the banner.




Conversion rates for banners is usually less than 1%. A very good banner may have a 5% conversion rate. Remember that is a passive income stream. It is working around the clock and requires no work on your part.


Therefore, if you have 1000 people a day coming to your web site and you have a 1% conversion rate with a payment of 50 cents per click, you could be earning $150 a month just for having the banner there.


Also  As an advertiser this is a little better than PPI. At least now the visitor is on your web site and you have a chance to gather information about them and possibly sell them your product or service.


Laura Geller


Pay Per Sale/Lead

PPS banner advertising using pays the highest dollars of these three methods, but only generates income when the advertiser makes a sale to someone visiting from your web site It will have the lowest conversion rate of the three.


For example  

PPS banners only work well for the web site owner if the advertiser does a good job with the banner design (creating a desire to click), selling (presenting information), and closing (getting the sale).


However  none of these do you control directly. Selecting PPS advertisers for your site should be well thought out. As an advertiser, this is the preferred type of banner advertising.

Where to find advertisers

I think the best place to find people that want to place banner ads on your site will be the affiliate programs. This is also a good place for you to advertise that you would like to place banners on others sites as well.


Read the pages carefully. Banners can be expensive if you don’t generate any sales.

If you have friends or business associates that you do business with you can ask them if they would like to place a banner on your site or if you could place a banner on theirs. These exchanges become more and more popular as your site becomes more popular as well.


For instance  a new source for banner ads are from the major search engines. Google Adwords are probably the best known new source for advertising on a pay per basis.


For example  this works both ways.

You can pay to have your ad/banner placed on others sites as well as have other web site ads placed on your site. When your ad is displayed and someone clicks on it they will visit your site and you pay Google for the visit.


When you allow Google to place ads on your site and someone clicks the ad, you get paid.In the resource section of you will find more information on using banners to market your website.


Using Classified Ads to market your web site

Classified ads are just like in the newspaper. They are small detailed ads that offer your product or services and provides a contact (your email or web site).


A quick search on Yahoo for classified ads will find over 58,000,000 entries for sites and people who will either sell or place your classified ads on their web sites.


Classified ad sites fall into two categories: Free and Paid.


Free sites should be avoided.

BE CAREFUL… most free classified ad web sites. are farming your email address to sell to others. You will find you email box loaded with tons of offers and once it starts it will never stop.

Paid classified web sites,

however, can be like having a store in the world’s largest shopping mall for pennies a day in rent.One of the largest classified ads web sites is…eBay.


Think about this. For about 30 cents an ad (item to sell) you get listed for one week where over 1 million people a day come to shop. I have more information on eBay and other auction sites under Web Basics.


There are other forms of advertising as well.

One of which we discussed before was newsletters. Others include, your email signature, banner ads, ebooks and affiliates. Each are discussed here. Click on the Marketing Resources to review each form of advertising.


Because this is part one of a multi-part series of Marketing your web site.


for the rest of the series.

In the next section we will cover marketing you web site using email, e-books, letterhead and magazines. More information on marketing, website design and other areas of Internet Business can be found at in our resources area.


Read more  marketing your web site part 4

Read more  marketing your web site part 3

Read more  marketing your web site part 2

Read more  marketing your web site part 1



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What Should You Know

About Search Engines

and Pay-Per-Click?







Here’s a fact for you, 85 to 95% of

websites are found through

a search engine.

You may have the most incredible website on the Internet, but it will receive little or no traffic without search engine visibility and ranking. Can you imagine a billboard in the Sahara desert? Who sees it?


So, how will searchers find your

website? What types of

search engines

could they use?

Search engines fall into two categories. The first is referred to as natural, organic or standard. The second is called pay-per-click, paid inclusion or paid placement.


Natural, organic and standard are interchangeable terms describing a search engine that bases its search rankings on a ranking algorithm. The algorithms involve a number of criteria and parameters, all relating to the content of the website,


the website’s size, the number of incoming links to the website, and the content’s relevancy. You will hear terms such as keyword relevancy and keyword density to describe various components of the algorithms.


For the standard search engines,

you, your webmaster or hired search engine optimization specialist could spend considerable time optimizing your website to achieve top rankings. The goal is for your website to appear on the first or second page of the search engines’ results when your target user searches keywords or keyword phrases.




The good news is rankings on standard search engines are free.

The downside is the tremendous amount of time and effort required to achieve exceptional search engine rankings. Let’s confess to each other that top rankings on standard search engines can be tough and timely to achieve!


The interchangeable terms pay-per-click,

paid inclusion or paid placement describe a search engine that bases its search rankings on a “bid for position” basis. Simply stated, you “bid” a price to be in a specific position of the search rankings for a particular search keyword or keyword phrase.


For example, the #1 position on the search phrase “pay per click” recently required a bid of $3.55 per click, whereas the 15th position required only a bid of 55 cents. As a result, your differential website advertising costs between position #1 and #15 can be considerable.


With pay-per-click search engines,

your ability to bid high can dramatically impact your website’s search engine ranking when the search results display website domain names or URL’s for the search keyword or keyword phrase.


The benefit is your website gains visibility with the searcher, but you are not charged the pay-per-click “bid” until a searcher actually clicks on your website domain name or URL displayed in the search engine results. The selection of your website in the search engine results is called a click-through.



In general, click-through rates range from 1% to 5% of the number of impressions. What is all of this?

A click is when a searcher selects or “clicks” your pay-per-click ad. An impression is one display of your pay-per-click ad on the search engine results. So, the click-through rate is a measure of the total number of ad clicks versus the total number of impressions in a period of time:



Click-Through Rate % =

Total Number of Ad Clicks /

Total Number of Ad Impressions * 100

Let’s do the math for our #1 position bid of $3.55 per click. In September, 2004 there were 21,535 searches for “pay per click.” First, let’s assume a 1% click-through rate.


The top bidder spent $764.49 (21,535 * 1% * $3.55). Now, at a 5% click-through rate the top bidder spent $3,822.45 (21,535 * 5% * $3.55).


Budgeting and controlling marketing expenses with such a broad range of potential costs could be tough. Plus, such costs could be the tip of the iceberg. We still must consider derivatives of the keyword or keyword phrase.


So, was being #1 worthwhile? That depends on your website’s cost per visitor, conversion rate and profit margin of your product or service.


From what we’ve covered so far, you should realize you can achieve a top or high ranking through the pay-per-click search engine. But, a high ranking will cost money and these costs can be volatile. Meanwhile, the standard search engine remains free.


However, pay-per-click offers one significant advantage.

It enables you to achieve website visibility with a high ranking instantaneously or overnight. If you want to draw traffic to your website fast for any reason, pay-per-click can make that happen. Remember, maximizing the standard search engine process takes time!


Let’s summarize the pros and cons of pay-per-click marketing:





* Determines the ability of your web site to convert visitors to a call to  action or make a purchase promptly.

* Identifies which keyword phrases will provide the best conversion rate rapidly.

* Provides complete control of the search engine campaign, both position and cost. ,,,  Cons

* Tests the marketability of your product or service swiftly.

* Improves your website’s ranking and traffic quickly.

* Cost


Many individuals criticize pay-per-click because of the costs involved.

But, have you really thought about the cost issue? Unless you or someone in your organization has expertise in search engine optimization,


you’ll probably pay several thousand dollars in fees to a search engine optimization specialist to improve and optimize your website to achieve higher rankings in the standard search engines.



So, my question to you is  Are the

standard search engine rankings

really free?

At the end of the standard versus pay-per-click search engine debate, it’s like the old saying, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Or, it’s like the old commercial, “You can pay me now or you can pay me later.”


The reality of the debate is you must evaluate your specific website situation and utilize the search engine approach that maximizes your website promotion goals and investment.




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What Is Pay Per Click Marketing And How Can It Benefit My Business?




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This article explains the basics of ppc marketing and features techniques that increase ppc traffic while keeping costs low. Marketers looking to increase targeted traffic without spending a lot of money,



will benefit the most from this article.

I could write a lot of pages, maybe even a book explaining what pay per click marketing is and what it can do for your business, but I will keep this short and to the point.


Pay per click (ppc) marketing is an advertising platform in which you bid an amount of money that you are willing to pay for a click.



When a searcher does a search at Google all of the ads on the right side of the screen are ppc ads. Google calls them sponsored listings. When a surfer types in a keyword,


the advertisers who have bid on that keyword have their ads displayed.    


When one of the ads is clicked by the surfer they are taken to the advertiser’s website. The advertiser is charged at maximum, the amount they’ve bid. Most of the time they are charged less than what they have bid.




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But they are never charged more than their maximum bid.


The bids can start at 1 cent and depending on the market and the ppc search engine, go up to $50 or more per click. When starting off I suggest bidding very low. Ten to fifteen cents per click or lower is a good start.



The higher you bid the higher in the rankings your ad is shown therefore increasing your ad’s visibility and your potential visitors. The downside is bidding high can cost you a lot of money and in some cases bring you way over budget.


Be very careful when bidding.

Bidding low might not get you as much traffic as bidding high but it will bring you traffic for much cheaper thus increasing your return of investment (ROI).


One way to increase the amount of times your ad is shown (visibility) while bidding low, is to bid on a high volume of keywords. Some marketers bid on hundreds and up to hundreds of thousands of keywords.



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This met hod will take some time. Putting together hundreds or thousands of keywords can be time consuming, but it is an effective strategy for getting quality traffic, without paying a lot of money.


The more you work with the ppcs the faster you will get at putting together lists of keywords.


In case you’re not sure how to generate that many keywords there are many tools on the net that will help. Some are free and some charge money. One of the best free tools is offered by a company formerly named Overture,



which has been bought out by Yahoo! This tool can be found here. 


What can ppc marketing do for your business? Depending on your market, ppc marketing can be a great way to get quality traffic inexpensively, increasing your ROI and profit.


It is also a great method for testing products because your ad can “go live” in as little as 15 minutes and up to 5 business days. Depending on which ppc search engine you use.


Advertising your business at free search engines a.k.a organic search engines can take weeks or even months for your website to be indexed in their directory.


It can take a lot longer than that to get a decent ranking on your search terms. The more competitive the keywords you are trying to get listed, the harder it is to obtain a decent ranking.


This is one reason why ppc search engines have a huge advantage over organic search engines.


I, as well as thousands of other marketers think the best two ppc search engines are Google Adwords and Yahoo! Search Marketing (formerly Overture).




Google claims your ad can “go live” in 15 minutes but it usually takes a couple of hours. This is really fast. Yahoo! Usually takes a couple of days.


There are thousands of smaller ppc search engines. Some of them are good and some are not. Some will take your money but will not have many searchers.


Google and Yahoo have hundreds of millions of searchers every day.


If you think about using a smaller ppc do some research and find out what experiences other marketers have had. There are thousands of forums,


newsletters, ezines and info sites dedicated to educating people about ppc marketing. You can learn a lot about Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and a lot of the smaller (2nd tier) ppc search engines at these places.



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5 reason Why Online Businesses Fail in South Africa




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It is estimated that over 90% of new websites fail within the first year of existence. Interestingly enough, the same can be said for the restaurant industry, as only 1 out of each 10 new restaurants experience real rewards.


With such negative odds it seems that many are taking a foolish gamble for a shot at success. Yet, there are certain individuals who are able to launch successful restaurants and online businesses time and time again with amazing success rates.


Why is this?

Almost all of these entrepreneurs failed many times before they succeeded, but, the key to their success is a winning formula derived from trial and error.


The Internet is no different.

Through the Dot-Bomb era, millions of websites failed and through this collective information, it was possible to develop a successful formula. A formula used by R.O.I Media to ensure the success of their websites and their clients’ websites.


Highlighted below are some of the modern principles for online success. It is guaranteed that if businesses actually adhered to these principles, 90% of them would be smiling rather than crying.


Stacy Adams



1. The 5 P’s (Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance)

The key to launching a successful online business is down to proper planning. Before launching any online business you need identify your potential target market and demand.


Online Businesses have distinct advantage over traditional brick and mortar businesses due to the fact that we can identify demand for any industry based on the daily demand indicated in search volume.


For instance, the keyword “cape town accommodation” is searched for ± 350 times a day. Therefore it’s feasible to launch a site that offers bookings for accommodation in Cape Town. The demand is visible in the searches done by users.


2. Competitor Analysis

It’s surprising how many new online businesses launch and when asked the question, ‘name your top 5 competitors?’ few can give you a direct answer.

By identifying your competitors, you gain valuable competitor intelligence which can help mould your business model. It’s important to see:


How much competition is in your industry?

More competition makes it harder to compete. Sometimes the better angle is to target segments with less competitor saturation.


Price Comparison

Customers in this day and age are becoming more and more price sensitive. With the internet, customers are able to shop around for the lowest price within minutes and most of the time they are drawn by a low price. It’s sometimes better to make less profit as opposed to no profit.


Don’t be caught off guard. Identify all your competitors’ prices and position yourself to be competitive and make sure you are able to make enough profit to sustain your business expenses, including marketing.



Stacy Adams



USP – Unique Selling Proposition

This is a vital question that few business owners can answer. What is your unique selling proposition? Simply put, what do you offer that your competitors don’t offer or what do you do better than your competitors.

By launching a product range that is not unique in any way, will not give you a distinct advantage in the marketplace and will set you up for failure.


3. Build it and they will come (Traffic)

Many new websites spend far too much time and money on launching a website. Once the site is launched, they do far too little to promote the website and as a result few people come to the website.

Being out there is not enough; you need to actively promote your website online in order to get traffic to the website. Traffic can be generated through SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay per Click services).



88% of all internet users use search engines to find what they are looking for. In February 2008, there were nearly 10 billion core searches done in the US alone.



Search Engine Optimisation is the process of bringing a website to as high a position as possible in the search results when a user types in a search term in the search engine.


In Layman’s terms,

you go to Google and type in “Blue Widgets”, and a website comes up number 1 selling blue widgets, this is due to an effective SEO strategy.


4. Leading the Horse to water (Conversion)

You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. The same can be said online. All the traffic in the world will not guarantee sales. More traffic does not always correlate to more sales.


Website effectiveness is measured using a simple metric called Conversion or a website Conversion Rate. To work out your site’s conversion rate, you divide the total amount of unique visitors (NOT hits) by the total amount of sales.


For Example:

100 unique people visit your site, 2 people buy out of that 100, you have a 2% conversion rate.
Conversion Rate = Desired Action/Total Number of Unique Visitors
The average global conversion rate is 2.4%.


The average South African website conversion rate is under 1%.

What does this mean? If you are spending an average of R10 per Click (PPC), driving 100 people to your site will cost you R1000. If only 1 in 100 purchase, that sale (cost per acquisition) has cost you R1000.


Let’s hope that you made more than R1000 profit or you will generate no return whatsoever. The reality is that most websites suffer from terrible conversion rates. Usually, their sites generate zero returns and actually lose money as their advertising costs exceed their profits.



Stacy Adams



Did you know that 75% of browsers back out of a shopping cart?

It’s even got its own term, called “shopping cart abandonment”. People enter the shopping cart, and something freaks them out to the point that 3 out of 4 run away. Was your delivery cost too high?


Did they think your site was a fly by night? Was the return policy not clear? Were they worried about submitting their credit card details? These are some of the reasons that can lead to this.


5. A website is a website, or is it?

The first step before spending vast amounts on marketing is to refine your site’s conversion ratio.
There are websites and then there are online selling machines. The difference is linked to the conversion ratio, one sells and makes money, and one does not.


By effectively increasing a website’s conversion rate, you generate more sales, and more profit without spending more on marketing.


By following these key guidelines and contacting an expert company with a great track record, online success should not be contributed to luck. Proper planning and execution will ensure long term sustainable success.




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Article Marketing



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A Newbies Guide To Article Marketing


Article marketing is one of the absolute basics of Internet marketing. Having articles all over the Internet is a marketing method which enables you to invest some time and effort right now and reap the benefits for years to come.


This article will explore some of the advantages of article marketing and its subtleties in order to help Internet marketers  to use it to their best advantage.


Anyone who’s been doing Internet marketing for a while knows that writing articles is imperative to the success of one’s on-line campaigns.


Having articles in various article directories is a great way of providing links back to your site, thus building your site’s popularity.




When a page has many links back to it it helps to attain good positioning in the search engines.


An article directory which has a high page rank is the best place to submit articles to as this helps to boost your page’s rank.Bear in mind that people take articles they enjoy and publish them in their ezines and on their websites, further providing you,


the author, with more back links and publicity.


When you have articles of your own posted in article directories you can slowly establish your name as an expert in your niche. People will be more apt to trust your recommendations.


Although it may be tempting to write a bunch of articles in one day and submit them to a few directories, exercise caution with this.


Why is that? Because Google is quite sensitive about a sudden surge in traffic to a link. Although we would all love a sudden surge in traffic,may cause Google to de-index your site in order to look in to the reason for the sudden popularity of your site.




It’s better to submit articles every couple of days.


In the process of article marketing, don’t submit an article that is already on your own website. It may be considered duplicate content and you don’t want that!


Google would consider the site which is higher ranking to be the originator of the article (the article directory) and your site’s page rank may suffer.


Don’t submit PLR articles without making changes!!


There is so much PLR available today (free and otherwise) and it is very tempting to just grab it and use it. Don’t do it. The purpose of these articles is to provide you with a basis for an article. Read it and rewrite it in your own words. Duplicate articles could be rejected by the article directories and the directories may just decide to ban your account.


Try to use good keywords in your article’s title and also in the beginning of the first paragraph. Sprinkle your chosen keyword all over the article as well.


Most article directories allow you to use hyperlinks.


For sophisticated and efficient article marketing try to use anchor text that relates to the keywords you are targeting. This will help you attain a better position in the SERP’s (search engine result pages).


If you are targeting the word “gardening tips” make sure to hyperlink to your website from each mention of the term in your article. This will help your gardening site be higher in the search results for the term “gardening tips”.


Try to remember that people will be reading your article.


Make it readable for them and don’t just concentrate on the density of your keywords. If people don’t enjoy reading the article, they won’t bother reaching the end of it,





which is where you will lead them to your site from the ever- important resource box! In summary, article marketing is a very important, even critical, element of Internet marketing.


Every Internet marketer should be making the effort to become proficient in article marketing and learning how to write decent quality articles in as little time as possible. It will bring in terrific long term results.

Happy writing!




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