Facebook faces ‘click fraud’ allegations over advertising
31 July 2012 | 0
Facebook said it has defenses in place to detect click fraud despite one company’s claim it detected suspicious clicks on its advertisements billed to it by the social networking site.
Limited Run, a company based in Manorville, New York, wrote on Monday that it was deleting its Facebook page within a couple of weeks after it determined 80% of the clicks may be fraudulent.
The accusation is problematic for Facebook, which is already coping with high expectations from Wall Street following its IPO over the potential revenue the site could generate from online advertising.
Limited Run, which provides a platform for selling digital music and physical items, wrote that it noticed only about 20% of the clicks it was paying for lead people to its website. The company said it tried several analytics services and still could not verify more than 15-20% of the clicks.
It concluded that the clicks were coming from bots or automated programs engineered to fraudulently click on ads, driving up the amount of money it had to pay Facebook for the advertisements. The company didn’t blame Facebook for intentionally trying to drive up advertising revenue and said it didn’t know the source of the bots.
"We tried contacting Facebook about this," Limited Run wrote. "Unfortunately, they wouldn’t reply. Do we know who the bots belong too? No. Are we accusing Facebook of using bots to drive up advertising revenue? No. Is it strange? Yes."
Facebook said in an e-mail it was investigating the claims and noted that it has defenses in place for such kind of fraud. A fake click, it said, would come from a fake account, which would be disabled immediately upon discovery.
The company said it has "systems in place that attempt to detect and filter certain click activity, including repetitive clicks from a single user, clicks that appear to be from an automated program or bot, or clicks that are otherwise abusive."
In a separate dispute, Limited Run said Facebook was not allowing the company to change its name on its page unless it paid money. Facebook attributed the issue to a miscommunication and said it was working to resolve it.
IDG News Service