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click fraud again

Click Defense recently sued Google (only) for
click fraud. There are a lot of articles and blogmentary (blog commentary -- can this be a
new word?) about it in the usual places. One comment I found interesting in gotads_feed under the heading "Making up Click Fraud stats" suggested that a study
on click fraud might be needed from someone in academia:

Google and Yahoo, of course haven't shared any significant statistics or proof on click
fraud either. So until they or some credible, non-conflicted 3rd party does (like a
university researcher), Google and Yahoo can't really complain about the hyped reports.


In general, I have wondered why no one from the academic community has made a study, or even
offered an opinion on click fraud. For my part, I've posted some comments and requests for
additional discussion on the TELECOM Digest, on a W3C general interest list, the
interesting-people list, and some others that academics frequent, but no one's taken any
interest. (I haven't brought up the issue on any IETF lists yet, in part because there
doesn't seem to be a WG that it falls under, but mostly because I don't think the IETF is
likely to take an interest, possibly because of its other problems that I discussed some
time ago.)

Some of this reminds me of a claim Google made many years ago that PageRank was invulnerable
to index spamming. They said that their anti-spam tools could detect link farms
specifically designed to artificially boost rankings, etc. When I heard about this, I
wondered why they believed this. It seemed they didn't take into account the economics of
the Internet -- how cheaply and easily web sites and links could be created. They also
didn't take into account how for some queries, a link farm might be the same size as an
"organically" created set of linked pages, so there would be no practical way to determine
fraudulent intent.

So, chalk this up to another "I don't get it. As talented as some of the Google folks are,
how do they miss stuff like this?" posts.

Edit: Maybe academics haven't gotten involved because they're not getting funded to do so.

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