Google has unveiled a Web site resource center focused on the issue of click fraud, which many consider a potential threat to the company's main source of revenue: pay-per-click advertising.
Google developed the new Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center to give its advertisers a single place to find Google's information about click fraud, said Shuman Ghosemajumder, business product manager for trust and safety at Google, on Friday.
In the pay-per-click format, advertisers pay every time someone clicks on their ads, which are linked to a Web page. Click fraud happens when companies click on competitors' ads to drive up their ad spending. Another common click-fraud practice is for Web publishers to click on their sites' ads to increase their commissions.
With some organizations estimating click-fraud incidents at more than 30%, Google has gone on the offensive in researching the issue and stating publicly what it is doing and the extent of the problem in its own ad network.
For example, Google proactively monitors its network for what it calls invalid clicks, which include not only malicious clicks but also innocent practices that may look like click fraud, such as clicking on an ad twice.
It has concluded that less than 10% of clicks on Google ads are invalid, and that only 0.02% are declared invalid as a result of advertisers' complaints.
Click fraud has led advertisers to sue Google, Yahoo Inc. and other providers of pay per click ads. Google reached a landmark settlement of a click-fraud class-action lawsuit last year which many described as a big victory for the company. A loss could have likely cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars, but Google managed to settle the case for $90 million.