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Positively click fraud

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Company: DoublePositive Marketing Group Location: Baltimore URL: www.doublepositive.com Challenge: DoublePositive Marketing Group, a lead provider to mortgage and lending industry professionals, is sold on paid search. “It’s a marketer’s dream,” said Chris Beauchamp, VP-marketing. “The most effective form of advertising we do is paid search.”

His company, which employs 25, sits in the sweet middleman spot, selling qualified mortgage leads to loan officers and mortgage companies. Beauchamp said paid search currently represents the bulk of DoublePositive’s leads, and business is booming.

So what’s the problem? “At $6 a click, it’s very prone to fraud,” he said.

To market to its clients, DoublePositive is buying keywords typically in the $5 to $8 range. “Anything mortgage-related is in that upper echelon of expensive keywords,” he said.

In that kind of environment, click fraud can be very costly, so DoublePositive needed to come up with a way to determine click fraud.

Solution: Enter ClickTracks Analytics, a Web analytics company and subsidiary of J.L. Halsey. “Our time is better spent creating PPC campaigns, not researching click fraud,” Beauchamp said

“I started looking for a click fraud-specific solution and found ClickTracks,” he added.

He said what attracted him to ClickTracks was its “superior analytics.” At the time, he was using WebTrends for Web analytics, but it didn’t provide the click fraud data he needed.

“We’re not a big enough company to have an enterprise analytic package like Overture or WebSideStory,” he said. “ClickTracks gives us both analytics and great click fraud protection.”

Using ClickTracks Pro’s Click Fraud report, DoublePositive focused first on two months’ worth of log file data: June and July 2006. They found click fraud was in fact occurring. The tip-off was that conversion rates were bottoming out even though ad spending was increasing. “Both numbers were going in the wrong direction,” Beauchamp said. In addition, clicks were coming from foreign countries even though the campaigns were solely U.S.-based.

“It confirmed our suspicions that we were the victim of click fraud,” he said.

While DoublePositive buys keywords across the top three engines—Google, MSN and Yahoo!—most of the volume for its site comes from Yahoo!, and that is where the click fraud occurred.

Beauchamp said that initial data were a baseline of what was occurring, and he continued to watch it for a couple more months. “We watched our numbers to further confirm our suspicion that that there was some click fraud going on.”

DoublePositive used the ClickTracks reporting tool to make its case to Yahoo!

“We wanted to let them know we preferred to keep doing business with them, but not with such obvious fraud,” Beauchamp said.

Results: Within two months, Yahoo! replied to DoublePositive, agreeing that click fraud had been perpetrated and issued the company a credit for $9,000.

Beauchamp said it is worth a company’s while to continue to monitor the possibility of click fraud, which he says he does on a quarterly basis.

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