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Glossary of terms related with online frauds

TrafficWatchdog team

08.09.2020 r.

online, frauds, glossary, Internet, lead, click, bot, DDoS, fingerprint

Glossary of terms related with online frauds

source: own elaboration

Internet fraud - is a type of fraud that is carried out via the Internet and is related to cybercrime. Most often, this type of fraud involves trading data of persons without obtaining their consent, providing incorrect information and artificial manifestations of activity (such as leads, clicks, downloads or views) in order to deceive advertisers and obtain an unfair payment from them.

Click fraud, click spamming - this is an internet fraud most often associated with paid forms of online advertising, such as Google Ads, consisting in the deliberate generation of a large number of incorrect clicks, i.e. clicks that were sent consciously, but weren’t intended to familiarize themselves with the landing page (which the click leads to) or the content published on it. This type of fraud is most often committed by unfair competition in order to generate significant costs for the advertiser and (or) to exhaust the daily limit of the Google Ads advertising campaign (if provided by the advertiser).

Fraud clicks - we deal with a fraud click if the clicker isn't really interested in the advertiser's offer or the content published on a given page, and yet performs the click (or programs a suitable program for this, e.g. BOT).

Lead - is the data of a person or company, entered on the website, provided in the form of a completed contact form or otherwise reported or provided to the advertiser so that he can contact the person interested in his offer. Leads should always be sent by the data subject or with his active consent to the transfer of his data and to contact from the company to which the data will go. If leads, i.e. information about potential customers, along with consent to contact, are provided to the advertiser by external Partners in return for financial benefits - we are dealing with the CPL (Cost per Lead) billing model, so the remuneration is charged for each acquired lead, which meets the conditions specified by the advertiser.

Fake lead, Fraud Lead - this is the contact information of a given person or company provided to the Advertiser without the appropriate consent from data subjects, incorrectly sent or containing errors or false information. In practice, a false lead is when the advertiser can’t use the data it contains to contact a potential customer and conduct a proper sales conversation. We most often deal with the delivery of large amounts of fraud leads during affiliate campaigns, when the settlement takes place in the already mentioned CPL model.

Affiliate publishers - intermediaries promoting advertiser’s offers on their websites, by sending advertisements to their databases or providing data of potential customers to advertisers in exchange for a commission as part of a specific affiliate program.

Fraudulent publishers, Fraud publishers - affiliate publishers acting to the disadvantage of the advertiser, and thus wishing to deceive him by providing incorrect data or fabricating artificial manifestations of activity for which a remuneration is provided. An example of unfair practices of such fraudulent publishers may be: clicking on ads placed on their sites, generate artificial leads and clicks, inflate the number of ad views, etc. Dishonest publishers most often act for their own material benefit, tricking advertisers they work for.

BOT, also known as a web robot - is an application or software that runs automatic scripts during Internet activities. BOTs were created to improve human work, but very quickly evolved in many directions. We can distinguish good BOTs, such as indexing robots, chatbots or chatterbots, but also malicious, bad BOTs (spam BOTs, registration BOTs, Scrapers, Zombie BOTs or fraud BOTs).

Fraud BOT - is an application or program created to intentionally inflate reports provided to advertisers by dishonest partners. They generate artificial manifestations of a given activity, on which the fraudulent publisher earns money, such as false clicks, registrations, completed contact forms, etc.

BOTnet - this is a group of computers infected by malicious BOTs that can be used in a way that is undetectable to the user. The creators of the BOTs used to create the BOTnet therefore have remote control over all devices within a given BOTnet and thanks to it they can send spam and carry out attacks, such as DDoS attacks.

DDoS attack - an attack carried out simultaneously from many computers (most often forming BOTnet) on a computer system or network service, which is to prevent its operation by seizing all free resources.

Click farm - also known as click farms, is a form of online fraud that generates artificial clicks and sometimes likes. They are most often created in poorer countries and consist of a few or a dozen low-paid employees who click on ads, posts, fan pages, tweets or do other forms of online activity. The main area of their activity is social media (farms dealing with acquiring likes on social media and building a sharing network) but they can also act as a fraud tool in affiliate marketing (farms dealing with obtaining clicks on websites belonging to the farm owner) and Google Ads ads (farms generating clicks on ads belonging to competitors of their clients).

BOT Farm - this is a specific form of a Click Farm. The task of such a farm is creation of BOTs and spreading them on a massive scale.

Digital fingerprint of a device - a virtual fingerprint of a given device, is a set of data characteristic for a given device that can help identify the user when re-active on a given website. It is an advanced technology based on algorithms created by specialists. Such programs ask the device questions and collect information from the browser, operating system, and even individual applications. The responses obtained this way are large sets of data that are converted into much shorter sequences of bits, which are the digital fingerprint of a given device. Techniques of this type are based on the assumption of virtual uniqueness, so they assume that the probability that an algorithm creates the same fingerprint for another data set must be minimal.

Artificial intelligence - the abbreviation AI, is a department of computer science dealing with the creation of models of intelligent behavior as well as programs and systems simulating them. The key adjective here is artificial, so such intelligence must arise in the engineering process. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define AI as “system’s ability to correctly interpret external data, to learn from such data, and to use those learnings to achieve specific goals and tasks through flexible adaptation”.

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