or the last 18 months, click fraud has been in the spotlight, but not under the microscope. For all the hype, we’ve seen little in the way of hard numbers. And as you'll see below, MarketingSherpa's own surveys showed marketers themselves weren't terribly concerned about fraud. "It may happen to some people, but not to us," sums up most marketers’ attitudes.

Then last week Google announced they were paying advertisers $90 million to compensate for click fraud … and hype promptly hit a high water mark.

However, we wondered, what's the real data on fraud? If Google's settlement size is any indication, click fraud on a huge scale still has *not* been proven.

You see, the $90 million dollars are in to be paid in the form of credits available to a broad pool of the innumerable marketers who ran ads that might have been affected by fraud over a period of four years. Although the total sounds substantial, it only represents 8/10ths of 1% of Google’s ad revenue over the same four year period covered by the settlement. Further, an unknown portion of the settlement goes towards the plaintiff’s legal fees, so the take for marketers is hardly a windfall.

Nonetheless, the settlement does establish that click fraud exists, and opens the door to future adjustments if click fraud is eventually proven to be a significant issue. But, do we really know more about the problem than we did before?

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