I find that most search marketers don’t know what to make of click fraud. They’ve heard the stories, but they have no idea whether it’s happening to them. It’s human nature to put risks out of our minds when we don’t know how to respond to them. Is that a safe way to deal with click fraud?
Angie McCloskey makes a strong case in MediaPost’s Performance Insider on how “Affiliates Are Pilfering Your Brand” by grabbing branded search terms and then charging the merchant for the trouble. She points out that if your brand is what caused people to search, then by restricting your affiliates so that they can’t bid on those branded keywords you’d reap all the benefits of customers coming directly to you. Instead of paying affiliate fees for searchers using branded terms, you’d pay nothing to make the same sales. Although this sounds like common sense, I think it’s wrong.
I’m constantly asked which search engines a rookie paid search advertiser should work with. Obviously, everyone should take part in Google AdWords, because Google covers half or more of all searches. Most marketers should also look at Yahoo!, which handles about one-quarter of all searches—their Panama platform has made them an even more interesting choice for ad spending. But what about Microsoft? Or ask.com? Or MIVA? Every search marketer has a limited amount of time to spend managing campaigns, so what would cause you to look at them?