For as long as online ads have been common, there have been people looking to defraud advertisers and the websites they publish their ads on. Bot farms have enabled individuals and small operations to turbocharge their click fraud and ad fraud. Every website owner should be aware of click fraud and the steps they can take to prevent it.
What Are Bot Farms?
Bots are automated scripts written to browse the internet and interact with websites in the same ways that human users do. By some estimates, bots account for more than half of all internet traffic. Most bots are legitimate bots like the crawling bots search engines use to index websites.
However, bot farms utilise networks of computers, often without their owners’ knowledge. The operators of these farms can use the devices on their network to run scripts and emulate the actions of real people.
How Are They Used in Click Fraud?
Bot farms are set up to use a large number of devices to perform the same online actions that a user would. This activity can be relatively simple or complex; you can program a bot to do just about anything that a human user can.
PPC bots are generally quite simple in nature. However, they have become much more sophisticated in recent years. Professional bot farm operators will be able to disguise their activity and are harder to detect, albeit not impossible.
How Can They Damage Businesses?
Click fraud driven by bot farms can cause significant damage to businesses by decimating their budgets. Bot farms often work for the highest bidder. That bidder is often a business or individual looking to harm their competitors. With sufficient motivation, anyone can turn a bot farm against their rivals. All they have to do is find an appropriate dark net link, which can be found on the clear net relatively easily.
Not only does click fraud harm businesses financially, but it also hurts their long-term health and visibility. Losing out on bidding for key search terms for even a little while can cause damage that takes significant time to recover from. Losing ground to competitors is never a good thing, and that’s what click fraud ultimately leads to.
Mitigating the Threat
Click fraud is an issue that affects everyone who runs ads on their website. The growing size and sophistication of bot farms present serious challenges for ad fraud detection businesses. If you want to protect your budget and reduce or eliminate ad fraud on your website, you need to pay attention to bot farms. Businesses like ClickGUARD provide automated ad fraud detection and prevention services. They also provide click quality optimisation and PPC click forensics.
Bot farms are nothing new. As long as the internet has been around, people have been looking for ways of automating online activity. However, the ways that bot farms operate have changed significantly. Bot farms are essential tools for ad fraud professionals looking to maximise the rate of their activities.