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SMEs launch legal battle against Google for ignoring ‘click fraud’

Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores
02 February 2021 1 minute readShare
Google

Australian small businesses have launched a legal battle against tech giant Google for turning a blind eye to “click fraud”. However, a fraud expert believes the stoush is not about fraud at all.

Small businesses are being crippled by “click fraud”, and have claimed that Google is turning a blind eye to the practice because it benefits financially from it, The Australian recently reported.

But according to TrafficGuard chief operating officer Luke Taylor, rather than it being about “click fraud”, the issue is technically about invalid traffic (IVT), which he defined as advertising engagement that is not out of genuine interest in the advertised offering.

“In Google Ads, that can be accidental clicks on ads; it can be competitors clicking on your ads, bots clicking on ads etc,” Mr Taylor said.

“Click fraud is IVT with malicious intention — i.e. it wants to take your advertising spend. IVT encompasses click fraud, as well as non-malicious types of advertising engagement like accidental clicks.”

Mr Taylor said IVT is a constantly moving target always evolving to evade detection.

He noted that while Google takes steps to prevent IVT, ultimately most businesses see that there is an inherent conflict of interest.

“The problem of IVT for small businesses seems to rest with Google because their Google Ads platform is the easiest and most appealing for small businesses, but make no mistake, this is a problem that spans the entire digital advertising ecosystem — not just traffic purchased through Google Ads,” Mr Taylor said.

Further, Mr Taylor said verification is key to helping businesses get the most accurate picture of traffic quality and genuine performance not inflated by invalid traffic.

“Google is not a fraud prevention specialist, and even if they were, it doesn’t negate the need for businesses to seek independent verification of traffic quality — which they can do by using fraud prevention across their Google Ads,” he explained.

“Even if you expect that Google is able to prevent IVT, businesses of all sizes and all levels of ad spend should be verifying their traffic and ensuring that they are getting what they pay for.

“This isn’t a Google Ads problem; it’s a digital advertising problem. The answer is verification.”

SMEs launch legal battle against Google for ignoring ‘click fraud’
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Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores

Adrian Flores is the deputy editor of MyBusiness. Before that, he was the deputy editor for SMSF Adviser as well as features editor for ifa (Independent Financial Adviser), InvestorDaily, Risk Adviser, Fintech Business and Adviser Innovation.

You can email Adrian at [email protected].

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