Click fraud is one of the hidden ways to destroy your competitors in the field of e-commerce. Using a flurry of clicks on advertisements, you can ruin the owners of the company because of too expensive ads and distort the real indicators of current and future profits. To combat this phenomenon, you need to be […]
The variety of click fraud: know your web enemy
Click fraud is one of the hidden ways to destroy your competitors in the field of e-commerce. Using a flurry of clicks on advertisements, you can ruin the owners of the company because of too expensive ads and distort the real indicators of current and future profits. To combat this phenomenon, you need to be aware of the latest changes in this area, as well as know the main types of such malicious ads.
Some attackers have learned how to create whole bot systems in order to inflict massive click attacks. The architecture of bot systems implies building interaction between several computers. The peculiarity of such fraud is that the programs work autonomously. Hackers only introduce malicious software, and then robots initiate showing of ads.
The main danger of this method is that the real IP of the client can enter the system. He usually doesn’t even suspect the existence of such an issue. At the same time, botnets sometimes total to millions of pieces of equipment. This method is the most destructive for business, as the site may stop showing in search results.
The technique of displaying ads using redirection is called hit inflation attack. The essence of the method is to display the ad very quickly. A real visitor opens a browser page, but at some point its loading slows down, and in the address bar you can notice the flashing of extraneous web addresses. In a split second, the user doesn’t have time to see the ad, but the metrics reflect the traffic, and the malicious link is considered viewed. Thus, scammers take advantage of the time of active Internet users and imperceptibly redirect their Internet traffic in their favor. When using this method, fraudulent schemes no longer look suspicious.
Tip. To avoid redirects, use ad blockers. They allow you to configure filters, so you can also get rid of pop-ups. At the same time, some closed ecosystems and platforms are designed in such a way that redirection links are simply blocked or don’t open on devices.
The whole world
Sometimes, site owners resort to a tricky technique to collect clicks. Next to the content, they can place small inserts-requests for project support. Such a move is called crowdsourcing and involves attracting many people to develop the project. In this case, users act voluntarily, as they wish to participate in a good deed.
Therefore, such activity is not recognized by the system as fraudulent. However, many advertising platforms impose bans on such strategies. There are also advertisers who don’t have strict regulation of such behavior.
Secrets of click farms
Some fraudulent webmasters believe that it’s possible to make a click fraud attack most effective with the help of real people. To do this, they post simple tasks on job search sites, and users get paid for it. So, the system recognizes such views as real, which will avoid the application of sanctions to the brand in the future. In addition to clicks, people can subscribe to advertising newsletters or register fake accounts for regular viewing of ads. Employees, in this case, get extremely low pay.
Attention! Fraud click farms are much easier to detect. Due to low wages, developing countries and poor regions are most often involved in such campaigns. Therefore, if your metric reflects such regions, and they are not typical for your target audience, you should be wary.
The essence of the following click-technique boils down to playing on human weaknesses. The user sees a banner with a tempting offer. He needs to view the ad in exchange for receiving bonuses, for example, promo codes, discounts or the opportunity to win a prize. Most typically, discounts are far-fetched, and there can be no winners in the game, since it’s artificial. That’s why such schemes are called incentivized fraud.
So, customers click on such ads only because they are interested in receiving gifts. They are not interested in the product at all. At the same time, users can be gently forced to subscribe to mailing or push notifications. For example, they may indicate that such promotions increase your chances of receiving certain preferences for the service. Affiliate links can also be attributed to this type of fraudulent clicks.
The essence of the following trick is the introduction of advertising in a mobile application. When downloading the software, a pop-up ad appears, and the user doesn’t even notice it. It’s not difficult to check such an app: the battery of your smartphone is quickly discharged, and the device case sometimes starts to get very warm.
As you know, most click fraud farms are launched from regions with low incomes of the population. But some attackers take the opposite advantage of filtering regions. They set up targeting in such a way that all advertising is shown only in “expensive” countries. Moreover, they don’t have to create farms for this – fake IP addresses will be enough. As a result, business owners pay fabulous sums for displaying ads.
The most interesting schemes apply fake links, more precisely, sites. The user visits the company’s page, considering it official. At the same time, the site may be similar to a web resource of a real brand. Anyway, money goes to scammers.
An even more unusual option: competitors’ ads may appear on the brand’s website. This is done by embedding it in the page code, and, of course, such advertising is detected instantly. So, your business’s website can work for your rivals directly.
Displaying ads on the web is a complex process. It involves three elements:
- Advertising platform;
- Ad networks (more complex systems).
To understand the reasons for click attacks, use specialized tools and services to check the site’s performance. The main thing is that the purpose of such ads is not always to make money. Instead, your business may be simply destroyed by competitors, as the ad platform will stop to show your web-resource.