What would Google do if there were a national ad click day–where everyone everywhere clicked on as many online ads as they could that day? Heck, we could even have an international ad click day…that would really mess things up. In fact, why stop with just one day? Let’s make it an ad click week, or month. Would advertisers have to pay for all those clicks or would Google’s “technology” be able to decipher which ones were legit? What about people with Adsense on their blogs? Would those bloggers just get screwed out of those commissions?
I’ll be the first to admit Google has a great search tool. But am I alone in thinking that they have gotten too big for their britches? Think about it. If you have Adsense on your website, you cannot even encourage your visitors to patronize your sponsors. What other business in the world tells their customers NOT to visit or patronize their advertisers? Has Google ever unveiled or published the technology or algorithm they use to decipher legitimate from fraudulent clicks? Why isn’t it posted on their Adsense site? Who is Google to tell a user whether or not a visitor is legitimate or not? Does’t Google owe it to their advertisers on Adwords as well as their Adsense customers to communicate to them how they are getting paid? If I’m an advertiser, I want quality leads–but I also want as many leads or people looking at my product as possible. If there were more clicks on ads, the cost per click would go down and actually decrease advertising costs. Google doesn’t want costs to advertisers to decrease because then they can’t gouge them as much. Isn’t price gouging in some industries illegal??? Gasoline comes to mind.
Google’s response might be that by publishing their algorithm that determines click fraud, they would be helping their competitors. Actually, they would be helping the industry as a whole and Their Customers! Google doesn’t want to publish that information because then both advertisers and website publishers would see how royally they are getting ripped off.
Google’s real product is their search engine. I don’t have any problem with them not sharing that information. If they did share their search formulas, and perhaps they already have, most people wouldn’t understand it anyway. Besides, there are only a couple other players in the search market anyway. By not sharing how they determine click fraud, they continue to support their own wide profit margins at the expense of advertisers and website publishers. That makes perfect business sense, as long as you support the idea of price gouging. Maybe the government should look in to whether or not there is any anti-trust stuff going on here.
Fortunately, although a bit late, there are other competitors on the pay per click scene that are emerging. Just to name a few: Bidvertiser, advertising.com, blogads, Adbrite, and Videoegg. Unfortunately, many ad networks follow Google’s lead by not disclosing their margins. Let me be more precise here. I am not asking them to disclose margins–simply publish how click fraud is determined. A publisher can merely compare how much they get paid from one network vs. another. However that can be very time consuming, cumbersome, and expensive.
Google, if you want to do your fans and customers a favor, share with everyone how you determine click fraud. I, for one, would like to encourage my visitors to patronize my advertisers. In the meantime, hopefully some ad network will emerge with fairness and transparency–something that, in my opinion, Google has not done a good job of.
So what do you think? Should Google tell advertisers and publishers how they determine click fraud? What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so? Please leave your comments below…