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Google Announces Invalid Domain Through Blacklisting

Click fraud is a big deal (Google claims it’s as low as a few percent but other leading industry experts disagree and put it much higher). I was actually fairly impressed that Google not only acknowledged the problem but is actually taking steps to prevent it that are visible to the consumer. Google announced a blacklist for domains that advertisers feel are highly likely to commit fraud. I kinda like this concept but like everything the devil is in the details.

Firstly, is an advertiser going to be able to block specific URLs, specific domains, specific URLs with keywords, or is going to be ultra high level like a “by category” type system. And how will the bad guys subvert that? I think we all know how poor blacklisting works even with something as fine grained as HTML, let alone entire classes of sites of the Internet. Also, what will happen with an advertiser who blacklists a domain while other people are visiting that exact domain? Will the banner magically disappear? I think not, so what happens if someone clicks on that link? Has the website taken a risk that the advertiser can turn off the link at will and refuse to pay (allowing for advertising fraud), or will Google force them to pay regardless?

Ultimately, I don’t think the solution to Google’s click fraud numbers has anything to do with blacklisting. It’s a neat consumer feature, and may give them some small clout with advertisers who ask for this sort of thing all the time, but really, it’ll make next to no dent in the overall fraud numbers that Google sees (at least that’s my prediction).

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