Can Google Kill Click Fraud Once and for All?

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By Jacob Maslow

iStock_000002287210_SmallDespite all its high-and-mighty proclamations regarding future technology and its much-hyped technology investments, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is an advertising company. There are really no two ways around it. It’s an advertising platform with a search engine overlay. That’s the reality of Google. Its officers, its employees, and its founders know this.

As such, it has to justify its high stock market valuation. It can’t continue to turn in a lackluster or disappointing earnings or ad sales growth quarter after quarter and expect the market to just take it. Eventually, Google’s appeal will wear thin. This is why I’m raising the issue of Google click fraud in this post. If Google is serious about delivering on its sales growth and earning more money, one of the best and most effective ways that it can do that is to cut down on click fraud.

Can click fraud be destroyed once and for all? Unfortunately not. Human beings are just too creative, too skilled, and too greedy for that to happen. However, it can be realistically managed. Here are just some key technical fixes that Google can employ.

Better cookie tracking

Google is already using cookie-based tracking systems. However, cookies suffer from several fundamental problems: They tend to be static and can be fooled easily. It’s probably better for Google to step up its cookie-tracking game and adopt a more dynamic system that uses multiple tracking.

Multiple tracking involves paying attention to the IP address of the user, the MAC or local machine address of the user, and a cookie. The whole point of multiple tracking is not so much that one of this will provide the ultimate click fraud prevention. Instead, these factors would work together to provide enough cross-referencing that click fraud can be easier to detect. The weakness of most people who engage in click fraud is volume. Since, there are a lot of artificial clicks being generated, eventually they would slip up. The more tracking mechanisms you have in play, the higher the likelihood that you can see these weaknesses in fraudsters’ operations and hit them where it hurts.

Another area for improvement that Google should look at is big data. Google, and the whole technology field for that matter, is all gaga about big data. Well, Google should put its money where its mouth is and use big data tracking usage patterns to crack down on click fraud.

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