Google came out with a post the other day clarifying different types of clicks they don’t charge advertisers for, when detected. They break down into two categories: fraudulent clicks and invalid ones. Frauduent clicks are generally defined as those there someone is motivated to click for financial gain while invalid ones are double clicks and other things of little value to the advertiser.
Below is Google’s examples of fraudulent clicks (emphasis mine).
Click fraud is a subset of invalid clicks that are generated with malicious or fraudulent intent — in other words, clicks that are intended to drive up advertiser cost or publisher revenue artificially. Sources for these clicks include, but are not limited to:
– A publisher clicking on his own ads, or encouraging clicks on his ads
-Users or family members clicking to support the site / publisher
– Third-party programs with user incentives, such as paid-to-click services and click-exchanges
– Automated clicking tools, robots, or other deceptive software
What blows my mind is that Google – to this day – does not offer a way for publishers to identify themselves to Google in a way that would allow them to click on ads on their own site without being considered a fraud. For example, I write articles on this site, and I spend a decent amount of time looking at the site in order to view comments, so I see the ads from Google that I’ve embedded in the site. Since Google’s ads are specifically targeted to the content I wrote, they often appear relevant to my interests. Yet clicking on them would be considered fraudulent by Google’s definition.
What I’d like to see is a way to let Google know that I’d like to click on ads on my own site that appear relevant to me. Don’t pay me for clicking on the ad. Decide for yourself my clicks are valuable enough to still charge the advertiser for a portion of the click. But don’t criminalize my behavior.