Management & Finance

Click Fraud: What To Do When You’ve Been Cheated

So you think you’re a victim of click fraud, and the question is now what? Well, it’s time to play “cyber detective” and get refunds from pay-per-click (PPC) engines for the wasted dollars. But keep in mind, because click fraud eats away search engine revenue in the form of reimbursed clicks, the burden of proof lies entirely on you.

In order to rectify the situation, the first step is to gather all the information about fraud occurrences you feel may have occurred. You will need campaign and adgroup names, IP addresses, referring pages, geographic origin of the clicks in question, keywords that were searched for, the number and time range of the clicks and any other relevant data required by your search engine to process a claim. All of that information can easily be obtained from most third-party web analytics tools or from your server logs.

The second step is to write a paragraph or two describing the abnormality in your PPC account, any click trends you may have noticed and what makes you feel it was in fact click fraud.

The third step is to compile an easy-to-understand email with all the data you gathered along with your comments from step two. The email(s) are then sent to the search engine or entity from which you purchased the PPC ad. Make sure you objectively approach this issue and have valid data to back up your claim. Feel free to use general support emails or contact forms to send out all the information.

In a day or so, you will most likely get a response with either an acknowledgment of click fraud in your account, including relevant refund information; a standard response about further investigation; or a refusal of your click fraud claim.

Unfortunately, the last scenario is typically the most common one, however, never take the first “no” for a final answer. Be sure to inquire further about their decision and always ask for clarification as to why they feel they’re right and you’re wrong. Most importantly, don’t forget to follow up on your claims. Generally, it takes a couple of emails and/or phone calls to receive a sound response.

Finally, keep this in mind: If you feel you’re a victim of click fraud there is no reason why your ad dollars should be wasted, no matter what your budget is. Be patient, but persistent and get the reimbursements you deserve.

Greg Laptevsky

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