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Google wins support over click fraud

An independent expert has backed Google’s efforts to combat “click fraud” in a report commissioned as part of a $90m (£48.5m) settlement of a lawsuit filed against the search engine giant by advertiser Lane's Gifts.

Google, which makes the bulk of its $2.46bn revenues from pay-per-click advertising, was challenged by Lane Gifts in the US courts. The advertiser claimed that Google was driving up advertising costs by failing to take reasonable steps to combat  “click fraud” – where website visitors click on paid advertising or affiliate links without any intention of purchasing.

As part of an agreed settlement, the two sides commissioned New York University professor of information systems Alexander Tuzhilin to independently assess Google’s filtering measures against click fraud.

In his report, filed with the courts, Tuzhilin says, “Based on my evaluation, I conclude that Google's efforts to combat click fraud are reasonable.”

“The current set of Google filters is fairly stable and only requires periodic 'tuning' and ‘maintenance’ rather than a radical re-engineering, even when major fraudulent attacks are launched against the Google Network,” the report says.

It highlights a policy change by Google last year, when the search giant stopped billing advertisers where website visitors clicked twice on the same advert. But Tuzhilin also criticises Google because it took two years to make the change.


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