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Click Fraud, an Industry Crisis, or Blip on the Search Engine Marketing Landscape?

New York, NY, February 23, 2005 - The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) today weighed in on the subject of click fraud, a problem that potentially dilutes the value of search engine traffic. The non-profit professional association, which is working to increase awareness and promote the value of search engine marketing worldwide, presented additional findings about click fraud from its recent research paper, The State of Search Engine Marketing 2004.

"Search engine traffic is among the most valuable traffic to a web marketer due to the state of mind of a searcher. Click fraud, charging marketers for poor quality non-converting clicks, could poison the well," said Kevin Lee, a member of the SEMPO Board of Directors and Chair of the association's Research Committee. "During our recent research project, we got some great data on what marketers and agencies think about click fraud."

Marketers felt that organic SEO abuse or "search spam" was a bigger problem than click fraud. This is interesting given the high level of attention given to click fraud by the media. One explanation for the disparity between what marketers think and the media's heavy focus on the issue could be its potential impact on revenue from paid placement campaigns at publicly traded companies, such as Google, Yahoo, AskJeeves, InfoSpace, and FindWhat, among others.

When large marketers, smaller marketers and agencies were asked about click fraud, the results were enlightening: 10% of small advertisers thought click fraud was a significant problem that they had tracked, while none of the large advertisers agreed and 4% of agencies thought click fraud was a significant problem.

On average, across advertisers, 19% of advertisers believe that click fraud is a moderate problem and agencies agreed with 30% weighing in.

The full data on the question is as follows:

Q19: In your experience, how much of a problem is "click fraud" with regard to Paid Placement?

StatementAll AdvertisersAdvertisers of < 500 EmployeesAdvertisers of 500+ EmployeesAgencies
This is a significant problem we have tracked6%10%0%4%
It is a moderate problem we have tracked19%21%15%30%
We have not tracked it much, but we are worried about it45%36%58%43%
It is not a significant concern26%28%23%23%
Never heard of it before5%5%4%0%

The issue will be discussed on Wednesday, March 2, 2005, at the ClickFraud: A Legal Look session at the Search Engine Strategies 2005 Conference & Expo. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Hilton New York. The moderator of the session is Jeffrey K. Rohrs, President, Optiem LLC, and the speakers include: Ben Edelman, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Economics at Harvard University; Jessie Stricchiola, Founder, Alchemist Media Inc.; Danny Sullivan, Editor, SearchEngineWatch.com; and Lori Weiman, Director, KeywordMax.

The research, conducted by Executive Summary Consulting, Inc., is based on an extensive survey of 288 search engine advertisers and marketing agencies, executed via IntelliSurvey, Inc., as well as in-depth interviews with 30 leading industry experts. A full copy of the research is publicly available on SEMPO's web site.

About the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO)
SEMPO is a global non-profit organization serving the search engine marketing industry and marketing professionals engaged in it. Its purpose is to provide a foundation for industry growth through building stronger relationships, fostering awareness, providing education, promoting the industry, generating research and creating a better understanding of search and its role in marketing.

Representing thousands in 40 countries, SEMPO has more than 800 members. It represents the common interests of companies and consultants worldwide and provides them with a voice in the marketplace. SEMPO's education and outreach initiatives are funded in part by Yahoo!, Google, SMX, Search Engine Strategies, DoubleClick, Baidu, and MediaPost.

 

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