The real extent of Google content ad click fraud

Google has recently claimed a ridiculous number of 0.02% as the amount of what they euphemistically call "invalid clicks" that gets charged to advertisers on Google AdWords.

In my experience as an advertiser, Google's claims are bollocks.

One weekend this February, our website got a huge spike of worthless, blank-referrer, Google content ad clicks. This caused me to turn off content ads entirely and spend several following days analyzing content ad data. My conclusions are that about 50% (fifty percent) of Google content ad clicks we got from December to February were fraudulent, while during the final spike the proportion of fraudulent clicks was 2/3. Most of the fraudulent clicks had a blank referrer and they were coming from all kinds of IP addresses, indicating that fraudsters are using large networks of zombie machines, or equivalent.

I have complained to Google and lodged a request for an invalid clicks investigation, which they say should get a response within 3-5 days. It's been 9 days and I still haven't heard back from them. They haven't even requested any of our logs, which I think would be a necessary precursor to an investigation.

At this point it seems likely that we'll have to pay for all of the fraud if we want to continue our Google search advertising.

Even supposing that Google makes an effort at investigation, how objective is this really likely to be when the investigators work for a company that would highly prefer that the investigation finds mostly nothing?


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