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FAQ

General Questions

What is Click Fraud?
Is Click Fraud a serious problem?
Can I get information on Click Fraud from the search engines?

Details about ClickProtector

What is ClickProtector?
Will ClickProtector work with all the search engines?
Will ClickProtector work with CPM ads as well?
How do I get a refund from the search engines?
Why do the ad networks/search engines report a different number of clicks than ClickProtector?
How many domains can I monitor?
How many URLs can I monitor?
How many keywords can I monitor?
Is it hard to setup ClickProtector?
What does ClickProtector cost?
Is ClickProtector worth it?
What data is collected from my users?
Are there any privacy issues?
Why does my Daily Email Report show a different number of fraudulent clicks than my online reports?
What is ClickShield™?
Is ClickShield™ customizable?
How long are archives kept?
Will ClickProtector interfere with anything else I'm doing, such as keyword/sid tracking?




What is Click Fraud?

Click Fraud is a relatively new term; it refers to the malicious use of online advertising in an attempt to cause financial harm to an advertiser. It costs money to run an ad on search engines - you incur a cost every time someone clicks your ad (referred to as Cost Per Click or PPC) - and there are people out there who will purposely click your ad, over and over, simply to cost you money.

Our mission is to help you deal with this Click Fraud. ClickProtector is a simple yet advanced tool that will allow you to see abusive patterns in your PPC advertising that the search engines don't tell you about.

You can customize on-demand reports that can be forwarded to your ad publishers along with a request for restitution. If you can prove you have been the victim of click fraud, you have every right to seek compensation from your publisher, whether it be Google, Yahoo Search Marketing (Overture), FindWhat, or anybody else. Your Web server logs are not enough, as they are not from a third party, and are easily edited - but our Official Fraud Report is available only as an uneditable PDF. Having the report come from an independent third party will lend even more credibility to your case, and should satisfy your advertiser.

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Is Click Fraud a serious problem?

Absolutely. While there is no accurate measurement of how much the world's PPC ad purchasers are wasting on fraudulently clicked advertisements (the search engines won't share that information as it would hurt their business), people are out there, clicking your ads on purpose, with no intention to buy your products or services. Competitors may try to make your costs so high that you stop advertising (thus leaving more room for themselves), while others, as bad as it sounds, just spend time each day clicking PPC ads because they want to cause you harm. This could be a disgruntled employee, or just a random teenage without any association to your business, but with too much time on his hands and a penchant for causing trouble.

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Can I get information on Click Fraud from the search engines?

No. The search engines aren't in the business of preventing fraud, because every clicked ad means revenue for them. They will, however, respond when you can prove that some of your clicks were fraudulent. To do this, you need to audit and monitor your PPC ad clicks with a product such as ClickProtector, an independent third party that provides detailed reports of when each instance of Click Fraud occurred and by whom.

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What is ClickProtector?

ClickProtector is a tool you can use to zero in on your site's malicious users. It tracks activity from the search engines to your Web site and applies an algorithm to the data it receives, marking certain activity as "potentially fraudulent." We mark activity as "potentially" fraudulent because while it is unlikely that one user legitimately clicks a PPC ad 10 times in a single day, it is conceivable. The final determination is up to you.

The data we collect is available to you with our real-time reporting, and you can even choose to be notified every time a case of potential fraud occurs. The algorithm we supply to determine fraudulent activity is configurable, so if you feel ClickProtector is too lax, you can tighten the noose even further.

Lastly, ClickProtector uses the ClickShield™ to deter fraudulent users from continuing their actions. You can read more about ClickShield™ below.

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Will ClickProtector work with all my search engines?

Yes. Google, Yahoo, MSNSearch, AOLSearch, Kanoodle, Ask.com, Business.com, FastSearch, FindWhat, AltaVista, Momma, etc. Foreign language engines as well.

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Will ClickProtector work with CPM ads as well?

Yes, simply tell your ad publisher to add the required ClickProtector information to your URLs.

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How do I get a refund from the search engines?

Every search engine company has a different policy, but the basic way it works is simple. Once you join ClickProtector, you will have access to a robust Reporting Center, where you will be able to run Fraud Reports. These reports will list of the potentially fraudulent clicks that have occurred on your site within a given time range. Simply forward this report on to your account representative at Google, Yahoo, or whichever search engine you are using, and ask for a refund.

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Why do the ad networks/search engines report a different number of clicks than ClickProtector?

Small differences in reporting between ClickProtector and the ad networks are not uncommon. Various tracking services and Web sites track clicks similiarly, but differently. It is an Internet-wide inconsistancy that has never been fixed - see http://www.slate.com/id/2136936 for a good explanation of the problem. There are other reasons as well. The user may be implementing a "cloaking" program that limits the information passed through the browser, such as Norton Internet Security. There could be a temporary reporting glitch. Your ad network may be filtering out certain clicks due to various reasons known only to them. If you find a large differential between what your ad network and ClickProtector report, talk to the ad network rep first, and ClickProtector second.

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How many domains can I monitor?

Paying members can audit unlimited domains. Users of our free service can only monitor a single domain.

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How many URLs can I monitor?

Unlimited. If you monitor the domain mycompany.com, this includes monitoring for mycompany.com/index.html as well as mycompany.com/e/f/t/4377843/shjsj.cfm?jjdsi=89.987%hjEeEj&jusjd=jiul&&jukEyF. You do not need to monitor individual URLs, just domains. Then you put our HTML tracking code on whatever page(s) you want ClickProtector to protect.

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How many keywords can I monitor?

Unlimited.

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Is it hard to setup ClickProtector?

Setup is simple. You add a single line of HTML code to the Web pages you want to monitor, and then add a few words to your PPC links. You'll be set up and running in just a few minutes. Complete step-by-step instructions are available in our members section.

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What does ClickProtector cost?

View our pricing.

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Is ClickProtector worth it?

We feel that it is, or we wouldn't be in this business. Knowing how many instances of Click Fraud your ads receive lets you better estimate your advertising budget. You can also seek compensation from your ad hoster (Google, Yahoo, etc.) for fraudulent clicks. Plus, if you use ClickShield™, a free, non-blockable pop-up warning seen by people committing Click Fraud, you'll deter new instances from ever happening. Use the Cost Calculator to determine how much Click Fraud is costing your business.

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What data is collected from my users?

Currently we collect the following information:

  • IP address (even dynamic addresses)
  • Reverse DNS info (host names)
  • User agent/Web browser
  • URL visited
  • Querystring
  • Time and Date of visit
  • Advertiser used (if available)
  • Ad clicked (if available)
  • Keyword clicked (if available)
We will soon be adding geographic data so you will know the location of your visitors.

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Are there any privacy issues?

No. We do not collect any sort of personal information on your users.

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Why does my Daily Email Report show a different number of fraudulent clicks than my online reports?

The Daily Email Summary is sent out around midnight PST, and takes into account fraudulent clicks over the past 24 hours. If a clicker clicks your ad once or twice at say, Tuesday 21:55, these clicks will not be marked as fraudulent when Wednesday's email report (which summarizes Tuesday's activity) is sent out. If, however, he then clicks your ads 20 more times at Wednesday 00:20, these clicks, along with Tuesday's 21:55 clicks, will be marked as fraudulent, resulting in 2 "lost" fraudulent clicks. However, your online reports will show all 22 such clicks.

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What is ClickShield™?

ClickShield™ is an unblockable popup window that, when enabled, will popup on the screen of potential fraudulent clickers to warn them that you are on to their activity, and have logged detailed information of their repeated visits to your site.

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Is ClickShield™ customizable?

Yes, very. You have three choices of ClickShield™. Depending on your choice, you can customize the text that is shown to the user, text color, background color, and size.

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How long are archives kept?

We keep data for six months. We also make it easy for you to download and store our reports on your own computer.

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Will ClickProtector interfere with anything else I'm doing, such as keyword/sid tracking?

No. The few things that need to be done to use ClickProtector are simple, text-based additions to your Web pages and PPC ads that are not visible to anybody (except ClickProtector). This means your Web pages and advertisments will look identical to your viewers after initiating ClickProtector monitoring as they did before.

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