Over the past several years, Google has encouraged academic research and participation in the area of click fraud detection. Our Ad Traffic Quality team is excited to continue this support and recently participated in the AdFraud 2007 workshop at Stanford University. The workshop was attended by more than one hundred participants from academia and industry, and provided an open forum for discussing the technical and social aspects of fighting click fraud.

Dr. Kourosh Gharachorloo, who leads Google's Ad Traffic Quality engineering team, presented the opening talk at the workshop. Kourosh's talk focused primarily on the economics of online advertising and click fraud. The talk presented two frameworks modeling advertiser spend against Google's incentives to help advertisers achieve better ROI. The first framework illustrates how Google's incentives are aligned with those of our advertisers - i.e. our click fraud detection techniques improve advertiser ROI, which then leads to increased advertiser success with AdWords. The second framework shows how low-quality sources of traffic in the Google Network directly reduce Google's revenue along with the revenue of our content partners. The combined frameworks demonstrate that Google has strong economic incentives to fight click fraud, in addition to the extremely important goal of earning and maintaining advertiser trust.

Kourosh's talk also included an overview of Google's approach to detecting invalid clicks. In addition, he described the limitations of the metrics used by the click fraud detection industry to evaluate the impact of click fraud. He concluded the talk by discussing the additional data that Google discloses to advertisers, which uniquely enables AdWords users to reconcile their web server logs with the statistics in their AdWords accounts.

The Ad Traffic Quality team will continue to collaborate with the academic community on research projects and events such as the Stanford AdFraud workshop. For the latest on what this team is up to, please visit the Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center where you'll find Kourosh's presentation [PDF] and a 70-minute video of his talk.