After recently expanding its staff to patrol click fraud, Google broke up a scheme that had generated several thousand bogus transactions, Chief Financial Officer George Reyes told analysts earlier this week.
Yahoo! also has been shoring up click-fraud protections, said Patrick Giordiani, a senior manager for the company’s advertising subsidiary, Overture Services.
Such reassurances from search-engine executives aren’t surprising, given how much they stand to lose if advertisers curtail spending, said Jessie Stricchiola, president of Alchemist Media, which helps businesses detect problems and negotiate refunds.
The cost of prized search terms runs much higher. For instance, the top price for “mesothelioma,” a cancer that spurred scores of lawsuits linking the illness to asbestos exposure, recently stood at $51 per click, Fathom said.
Higher prices have turned click fraud into a cottage industry.