Monday, June 22, 2009

Facebook Click Fraud Enraging Advertisers

Facebook has a big revenue target this year - $550 million, according
to investors who were pitched in the last round of funding. That's
nearly twice 2008 revenues of $280 million.

A big part of that revenue comes from cost-per-click advertising from
small self serve advertisers. And right now those advertisers aren't
very happy. They've been complaining about click fraud of up to 100%
for weeks, and the situation doesn't seem to be getting any better.

Scores of complaints can be found at WickedFire, where advertisers are
complaining of massive click fraud and an indifferent Facebook. A few
of the recent posts (excuse the language):

Tracking 202 is telling me 11 clicks….Facebook is telling me 145.
That's way off the 15-20%, is there a different margin for tracking
202 than there is prosper 202 or did I suffer from one of those click

Sucks how high the numbers are today. Its clear the problem is
getting worse daily. I've moved most of my shit off facebook for the
time being and magically my shit is all positive again. Crazy how that
works. There are lots of places to buy traffic, some that will even
actually give you the traffic you are paying for. Facebook is never
going to admit to whats going on. I can almost guarantee you that.

Facebook is still reporting 20% more clicks than I actually get.
This is bullshit. If I were at least getting bot traffic or something
that would be one thing, but right now Facebook is simply stealing 20%
of clicks that I paid for, which adds up to thousands of dollars.
Someone should threaten legal action, this is straight up fraud on
Facebook's part.

FB click fraud update: ratio is now EXACTLY 10:1. 10 clicks
reported on FB, 1 click on prosper. No, this wasnt on a small scale
either. Were talking 1000's of clicks. Have fun facebook. Im checking
out till you can fix this shit.

I'm targeting small, specific demos, Facebook reports exactly
twice as many clicks as hit my LP. Facebook is stealing our money,
fuck this shit.

This is experienced by not just those that use 202. When in doubt,
look at your raw apache logs - which I did. The result: 15% - 20%
clicks never make it to my LP. Clearly a case of click-fraud going on.
Tested on 3 different servers at 3 different DCs (not a network

These aren't the standard click fraud complaints that advertisers have
leveled against search engines for years. In those cases, bots are
racking up the fake clicks, which obviously never convert to any sort
of purchase or other action. But at least the advertisers see the

In this case advertisers are saying that Facebook is recording and
charging for clicks that don't exist at all, even from bots. Their
tracking software (many use Prosper202, but others are using raw
Apache logs) shows one set of numbers, which is 20% - 100% lower than
what Facebook is recording.

According to the WickedFire posts Facebook isn't officially
acknowledging the problem or giving any refunds so far. But they are
asking some advertisers to send in logs to show the discrepancy. So
far, advertisers who go to the trouble to do this aren't getting the
response they wanted: "I was asked to send in my logs so I spent over
an hour compiling logs over the time period in question, and they
replied with their fucking scripted bullshit. I was sooo fucking
pissed, since I took the time to do that and they churn out a 2 second

We have an email in to Facebook for comment. Image is from a 2006
BusinessWeek report on click fraud.

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