Click Fraud – Definition

Cite this article as:"Click Fraud – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated January 26, 2020, last accessed October 28, 2020,


Click Fraud Definition

Click fraud is an illegal act where an individual, computer program or automated script click on paid search advertising without the intention of engaging the company or purchasing the product. Click fraud is rampant with pay-per-click (PPC) ads, it is the major problem that the industry is faced with. This type of fraud entails clicking on paid ads with no interest in the ad’s link.

In pay-per-click advertising, website owners post who ads earn an amount from the ads posted depending on the number of visitors that click on their ads and visit their websites. When individuals, computer programs or automated script clicks on an ad without, pretending to be a legitimate user without an intention to purchase a product, click fraud has occurred.

A Little More on What is Click Fraud

Click fraud is different from invalid clicks which are repeated clicks. While invalid clicks pose no threat to the result of an add, click fraud can manipulate an ad’s result. Click fraud involves illegally clicking on pay-per-click (PPC) ads to fraudulently increase the revenue generated by the ads.

There are two major reasons which make advertisers commit click fraud, one is to generate more revenue, another is to reduce advertising competition, while one increases revenue for a website, the other exhausts the budget of an advertiser. Regardless of the reason behind a click fraud, it is an illegal act. Click fraud is common in pay-per-click (PPC) ads and it is difficult to detect.

Click Fraud: Gaming Ad Revenue

Owners of websites or publishers often commit click fraud to generate more revenue through their ads. This fraud involves individuals, automated scripts of computer programs clicking on ads pretending to the real customers thereby generating revenue for the ad publisher. Click fraud can also occur in the gaming industry.

Essentially, for click fraud to be successful, three parties must be involved, these are, the ad publisher, the creator of the ad (advertiser) and the advertising platform that place the ad.

Click Fraud in Practice

There are several manners through which people commit click fraud, the simplest one is through the creation of a host website where ads can be placed and facilitating multiple clicks io the ads to generate revenue. An add can realize multiple clicks either from humans who are hired at a low cost or automated scripts that are used to click on ads. In other cases, computer programs are used to generate a large number of clicks.

Reference for “Click Fraud”

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