PPC click fraud is an Internet crime that involves a computer or computer program imitating a real person and clicking on paid inclusion links without actually having any interest in the topic of the links. The motive behind PPC click fraud can be malicious, or to try to cheat the system to build a false following. An example of this is an unscrupulous company driving its competitor’s overhead costs up or gaining click-through costs for a collaborating affiliate. PPC click fraud not only effects the company that is paying for the paid inclusion, but also effects the results of such a campaign, diluting the results until it is pointless to participate in the pay per click marketing.
These are secondary sources of PPC click fraud as well. These secondary sources are known as non-contracting parties or parties that participate in PPC click fraud without actually having a connection to the original advertiser. Secondary sources of PPC click fraud are important and harmful because they cannot be sued like competing companies that are traced back to the collaborating affiliate. Some of the non-contracting parties that have caused trouble in the past for advertisers include:
Friendly Clicks – Friendly clicks may be someone who knows the publisher of the pay per click link and feels that he or she is helping the publisher out by clicking on the link numerous times, which only gets the publisher in trouble for PPC click fraud.
Competing Advertisers – These are competitors who click on links to cost the competitor money. While this doesn’t do much harm, it can still raise the overhead.
Competing Publishers – Competing publishers can attempt to use PPC click fraud to frame competition so that they can draw more business to themselves.
Other Malicious Intent – Like crime in the real world, there are numberless motives as to why someone would participate in PPC click fraud, whether it is just a personal vendetta or motivated by something that only the violator can understand.
PPC click fraud harms publishers as well as advertisers, and there has been an enormous amount of collaboration to prevent this from happening between advertisers, publishers, and the court system.