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The? average click-fraud rate for Q3 2008 held steady overall at 16%, but a 10% rise in botnet activity – and a 28% overall click-fraud rate from botnets – is potentially undermining ad-industry efforts to combat click fraud, according to figures from Click Forensics‘ Click Fraud Index.

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Key Q3 findings:

  • The overall industry average click-fraud rate was 16% for Q3 2008, down only slightly from the 16.2% rate reported for both Q2 2008 and Q3 2007.
  • Traffic from botnets was responsible for 27.6% of all click fraud traffic in Q3 2008, up from 25.2% for Q2 2008.
  • The average click-fraud rate of PPC advertisements appearing on search-engine content networks, including Google AdSense and the Yahoo Publisher Network, was 27.1%. This is down from 27.6% reported for Q2 2008 and 28.1% reported for Q3 2007.

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  • In Q3 2008, the greatest percentage of click fraud originating from countries outside North America came from Russia (4.9%), France (4.8%) and the UK (3.5%).

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“For the past two quarters the industry average click fraud rates seems to be hovering around the 16% level,” said Tom Cuthbert, president of Click Forensics. “Gains are being made by advertisers taking more action to proactively filter out fraud before it affects online campaigns. However, the growth in click fraud traffic from botnets continues to rise and it should be one of the top areas advertisers and the industry should monitor closely.”

About the research: The Click Fraud Index, now in its third year, monitors and reports on data gathered from the Click Fraud Network, an independent third-party click-fraud detection service. The Click Fraud Network provides statistically significant industry PPC data collected from online advertising campaigns for both large and small companies across all leading search engines. It monitors online campaigns for click fraud by correlating data collected from search provider campaigns and the advertisers’ own web sites.

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