The major web search companies are joining together to help tackle the problem of click fraud in web advertising.
Internet advertisers usually pay search companies and others according to the number of clicks on the ads distributed on advertisers’ behalf.
Click fraud usually involves websites that host ads bumping up the clicks on ads to generate more business, or companies trying to deplete the ad budgets of rivals by generating multiple clicks on the ads.
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The US-based Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Media Rating Council are teaming up with Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Ask.com, LookSmart and others to form the Click Measurement Working Group. One notable absentee from the group is AOL.
The group will establish guidelines for identifying valid and invalid clicks on ads.
The guidelines will be used by the industry to help measure the actual problem of click fraud, as search companies increasingly find themselves in legal battles with advertisers over click charges.
Google recently settled a class action click fraud case with a £48m pay-out, although this settlement is being challenged by some of the plaintiffs.
The company also recently announced it would make public to advertisers for the first time its estimated click fraud figures on their ads.
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