View Full Version : Advertising Scams Phony Web Traffic

10-01-2013, 03:22 AM
Picked up on this article from the Wall Street Journal makes fascinating reading:

Anyone remember a certain famous social network that one advertiser proved most of its ads were mainly being visited by bots.

For those who don't want to plough through the article particularly found this bit interesting:

In some scenarios, legitimate websites inadvertently set themselves up for botnet invasions when they hire companies to help boost their traffic. That can involve building audiences through methods such as paid keyword-search advertising with search engines.

White Ops discovered that more than 30% of the visitors to the education portal Education.com were robots. In the past month the site received about four million unique views, according to Quantcast.

A spokesman for Education.com said it was aware of the bot-traffic and that it had likely come from an initiative in the summer to boost its audience numbers. Education.com had bought traffic from a variety of legitimate sources, including search engines, to lure in new subscribers, as well as users "who would perform well for advertisers."

"We shut down the program," the spokesman said.

Online measurement company comScore said well-known websites with heavy traffic can have single digit percentages of bad traffic while lesser-known sites might get 25% of their traffic from bots.

The losses to ad fraud are hard to nail down. Security company Solve Media Inc., for instance, estimates that up to 29% of display advertising traffic world-wide is driven by bot armies, and could cost advertisers roughly $10 billion dollars this year, the company said.

Supports what I have suspected about the majority of PPC traffic for years.
Zombie Armies guys Zombies ;)

10-01-2013, 08:00 AM
Not at all surprised, which is why we never launched a PPC campaign. I could never be satisfied it was valid traffic from interested consumers or contrived traffic from bots or some other disinterested mechanism. I know when I search for something, I rarely click on the display ad. Prefer scrolling through the search engine results...