Click fraud dropped in fourth quarter

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Austin, Texas—The pay-per-click fraud rate for the fourth quarter of 2009 was 15.3%, down from the record 17.1% in the same period a year earlier, according to online traffic quality company Click Forensics.

The decline—to the lowest level in four years—was attributed by the company to greater diligence by ad networks, publishers and search engines in catching the click-fraud spikes common during busy search marketing seasons.

Click fraud is a form of theft, as perpetrators register common misspellings to attract unwitting users. When a display ad is clicked to the real, intended Web site, the perpetrator gains a commission.

Click Forensics' quarterly index is a compilation of reports from its customers using software that analyzes such click characteristics as frequency, regularity, keyword price and countries of origin.

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