Battling an invisible enemy

From the Globe and Mail:

In the back offices of the software firm Mailworkz, programmers are hard at work developing technology to battle the fraudsters that plague Internet advertising.

The invisible enemy is known as “click fraud,” where a malicious competitor or a bogus website operator is clicking on “pay-per-click” advertisements and listings without any intention to buy or browse, costing the advertisers money without generating results.

Mailworkz, a small firm with five employees, wrote its first software for e-mail marketing campaigns more than five years ago, but found its customers started to ask for monitoring of clicks of the website links they were buying from search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN Sympatico.

“People realized they are spending all this money on pay-per-click advertisements and it looks like I’m getting suspicious activity, and how do I know that legitimate people are clicking on my ad?” says sales manager Lesley Fegerty…

Similar efforts to carefully monitor the use of Internet advertising are under way at companies across the country.

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