Internet Con-Artists Growing

Internet con-artists are growing and the search engine police are finally waking up

August 2, 2006

2 Min Read
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Because of click fraud, millions of search engine users are wasting time and effort, trying to find their way through irrelevant sites or scams that pull consumers into advertising traps. Advertisers and companies with high-quality relevant sites are losing the paid search rankings they deserve to these arguably fraudulent sites. Few consumers are aware of what constitutes click fraud, and before they can detect the scam, consumers have already wasted their valuable time and the advertiser's money looking for the relevant information they need.

Tim Daly, Senior Vice President of Marketing at SendTec(TM), Inc., a direct marketing services organization specializing in search engine marketing says, "Until recently, these internet con-artists have been able to manipulate not just consumers, but also search engines across the board.Click fraud has become so sophisticated that it has taken on other forms such as 'Click Pimping.' A negative version of 'Search Arbitrage,' click pimping is the latest and most subtle form of click fraud and leads unsuspecting web searchers to unexpected and undesired content."

Search arbitrage is a tactic that is gaining new attention on the web. It occurs when a host site makes money by spending less on search ads on onePay- per-Click(1) search engine to attract traffic than they earn from carrying nothing more than search ads from a competing Pay-per-Click search engine. Some host sites that engage in search arbitrage do provide objective content that is helpful for consumers, so it is not fair to place all in the same bucket. However, a new breed of internet con-artists have taken advantage of this practice by using advertisers to provide the sole content of their site and intentionally directing traffic against the advertiser's original plan.

These search arbitragers have recently been accepted into the distribution network of major pay-per-click search engine providers, making it less detectable. In click pimping, the phony sites "appear" to be acceptable web sites and partner themselves with search engines as distributors of Pay-per- Click ad listings rather than content listings. Unable to tell the difference, consumers are left confused and often misled when searching the web. Rather than finding the information they want on the first click, a consumer will have to click on the paid listing from the search arbitrager, referred to as double-click scenario, in order to get back on track with their search. And more often than not, the consumer is duped into clicking on an irrelevant link, as the arbitrager's goal is not relevancy, but redirection to a higher priced ad.

SendTec Inc.

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