Pay Per Click Advertising Doomed to be Abused by Paid for Clicking Services?

Many companies rely on Pay-Per-Click advertising services to advertise their website. Pay-per-click, also known as “PPC,” is a form of advertising which charges the client only if someone actually clicks on the ad and goes to the website. Therefore, beyond the initial setup costs, there is no charge to the persons who wishes to advertise unless people actually visit the website and see what is being offered. Additionally, because PPC is easy to run and easy to make widespread, most advertising services offer it for very low cost, as much as a penny or less per click.

There is one flaw in Pay Per Click, and that is what is known as a clicking service. Because the person who is hosting the ads receives a small sum of money each time someone clicks on an ad, it takes many thousands of clicks for them to earn even a little money. Unscrupulous persons may hire a clicking service or install clicking software which will then click on the ad over and over and over again. This fools the service offering the ad into thinking that someone is visiting the site paying for the ad many times, and it thus charges the person who owns the ad for all those thousands of clicks and gives the money to the unscrupulous host. These clicking services can thus cost an advertiser and their client thousands of dollars per month, and yet offer the client no additional page views or potential customers.

Most companies are working to combat this, but because of the relatively anonymous nature of web browsing, it is somewhat difficult. One way companies combat this is to only charge (and thus pay out) when a unique IP address clicks on the website. However, many persons contend that this unfairly deprives legitimate hosts of their profits, since if everyone in a single network (i.e. a single house or business) clicks on the same ad, it’s still only recorded as one click, even though multiple clicks are involved. Additionally, many advanced clicking services mask their true IPs and may make it appear as though every click is coming from a different location.

Another way companies work to defeat clicking services is by keeping track of websites and looking for sudden upsurges in clicks, which indicates a clicking service. Again, however, this may merely reflect a sudden upsurge in the popularity of the website, and so it has come under criticism. An advertising services last resort against clicking services is to hunt them down and take them to court, but this is often difficult or impossible because such services are often offered by persons in countries with little or no law enforcement.

Pay per click advertising is thus on the decline, with companies switching to flat-fee services or other alternatives instead. Still, many reputable hosts with a history of avoiding clicking services do go for pay per click ads as a way of offering cheap ad space on their site. It’s just important to check their reputation first.

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