Reality of Pay Per Clicks
So, what is click fraud and how does it occur?

Click fraud occurs in pay per click online advertising when a person, automated script, or computer program imitates a legitimate user of a web browser clicking on an ad, for the purpose of generating an improper charge per click. Click fraud is a crime, plain and simple.

Advertisers are being cheated and the search engines appear to be sitting on the sidelines, leaving much of the responsibility for detecting click fraud with advertisers, the majority of whom lack the tools and knowledge to detect it.

Click fraud is also the single biggest threat to companies like Google and Yahoo, whose digital empires are largely dependent on their advertising revenues. Google's $6 billion-a-year advertising business is especially at risk. Despite the threat, or maybe because of it, Google is saying little about click fraud and the pay-per-click concept as a whole. In fact, click fraud losses have surpassed the total loss attributed to credit card fraud in the U.S.

Do the current click fraud problems have the power to slow the growth of pay-per-click search advertising or even bring it to a screeching halt?

Well, that's hard to say, but the industry as a whole is certainly being crippled by this problem. Pay-per-click may not be the future. Many advertisers are now starting to look at advertising options that offer an uncorrupted alternative. Flat-fee advertising, pay-per-percentage, and pay-per-action are all possibilities.

Pay-per-click advertising is expensive. There are a number of companies who spend $5,000 to $10,000 per month on paid search marketing. Competition is fierce with many keywords costing $5 per click or more.

The problem is then compounded when you consider that 20 to 35 percent of those advertising dollars are wasted on fraudulent clicks. Just imagine. If you are paying $1,000 dollars per month to advertise on Google, $200 - $350 of those dollars are wasted on click fraud.

The rules in search engine advertising are shifting and the winners are adapting. As for Google, Yahoo, and MSN, you can definitely expect to see some changes being made with their paid search programs in the near future. Cyber crime is still a crime and law enforcers are finally starting to take these problems seriously.

Meanwhile, start working with an established firm that understands search engine optimization and can prove it. The proof is the client list. Their list should show at least one hundred clients who rank on the first page of Google, Yahoo, and MSN. These clients should rank on the first page in at least 2 or 3 categories. This verifies that the search engines are seeing your entire site.