click fraud bots
click fraud bot

What is click fraud and how click fraud bots work

Click fraud is a common occurrence that negatively affects many websites on the internet today. Since it can so easily be automated, click fraud can be especially harmful to ad budgets and website analytics. With that said, in this article we will look into what click fraud is and how click fraud bots work. 


Click fraud is when either a person or programmed bot clicks on one or more links multiple times on a website. It is usually done with the intention of tricking the website into thinking it is an actual user and its perpetrators may have different motivations for doing so. In some cases, click fraud may occur by competing ad companies who want to use up the pay per click ad budget of their competitors. In other cases, malicious websites may use click fraud to appear higher in the rankings or make a website seem more popular than it is. According to an article on The Verge, click fraud bots exclusively visit about 20% of websites online with the intent of ad-fraud. In addition, the influx of traffic from these fraudulent visitors often affects website analytics as they create inaccurate data and can prevent a company from being able to tell how engaged their audience is. 


So how does click fraud bots work? As mentioned above, click fraud bots are usually programmed to click on the website’s links. While some click fraud bots may be quite simple, others can be very complex with the goal of hoping to pass as a human user. These bots may use different IP addresses, take pauses as they navigate the page, and include mouse movements all with the hopes of making it seem as if they are each a different user. These networks that try to mimic being different users are called botnets and can sometimes be running on a person’s device as a result of a virus or malware. While click fraud botnets that use a single IP address may be easier to identify and shut down, individual bots themselves with multiple IP addresses are much harder to uncover. In some cases, it is possible that human beings and not programmed bots are responsible for click fraud. Usually human users that participate in click fraud do so with the intent of their activity passing as that of a more legitimate user yet, this is not very common given that it is not as efficient to scammers. Although click fraud and click fraud bots can be quite frustrating, organizations such as Google have been able to fight these click fraud perpetrators in recent years. Thanks to software that uses machine learning, click fraudsters are a lot easier to identify and be shut down before it affects the website too much.