Bill Hartzer

Bill Hartzer


If you're an online advertiser who uses Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising to drive visitors to your website, you are probably aware of click fraud.

According to Wikipedia (, "Click Fraud is a scam involving setting up a website affiliated with a major search engine, displaying pay-per-click advertising from the search engine and then using various methods to fraudulently increase the number of clicks to the advertiser from the affiliate website. The affiliate website receives a portion of the money generated by the click throughs even though the clicks were not generated by genuine customers." This is actually one form of click fraud. Another form of click fraud involves one competitor constantly clicking on their advertisers' PPC ads in order to cost their competitors more money.

Dallas, Texas attorneys Joel Fineberg, Dean Gresham and Stephen Malouf have recently launched a website called Lost Clicks ( in order to find potential click fraud victims.

According to a recent ClickZ article (, "The attorneys have a pending class action suit in the circuit court of Miller County, Arkansas. Plaintiffs in the case are Lane's Gifts and Collectibles and Caulfield Investigations, while the named defendants include Google, Yahoo!, Lycos, AskJeeves,, Buena Vista Internet Group, LookSmart, America Online, Netscape and Time Warner. Two other plaintiffs that had originally been part of the case, U.S. Citizens for Fair Credit Card Terms and Savings 4 Merchants, have apparently dropped out..." Furthermore, "the lawsuit accuses the defendants of overcharging advertisers for pay-per-click advertising and concealing the overcharges." The lawsuit alleges many of those clicks are fraudulent, caused by competitor businesses attempting to increase an advertiser's bill, or some other misuse. The suit also says the Internet companies selling the ads do a poor job of policing the fraud.

"What we'd like is for to become an electronic meeting place for advertisers and individuals who are concerned about pay-per-click (PPC) fraud," says attorney Joel Fineberg of Dallas, who represents online advertisers in the class action lawsuit. "It's very important that all of us share information because we're dealing with a new technology and a new challenge. The more people who visit the site, the more knowledge we can all gain."

The website includes information about the legal team, a click fraud library, frequently asked questions, and links to more information about click fraud. In the future, they hope to include an online forum where members can talk about click fraud.

"We're hoping that can serve as something of an educational tool," Mr. Fineberg says, "one that can help online advertisers better understand what's happening. And ultimately, we think it can play a role in resolving the problem."

On June 20, 2005, the Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association ( will be hosting a evening discussion with Mr. Stephen Malouf ( who will speak about the Click Fraud problem and Lost Clicks.

For more information, see the Lost Clicks website at

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
May 27, 2005

Bill Hartzer currently runs a Strategic Online Marketing Consultancy that includes services such as search engine optimization, social media marketing, and online reputation management.

Bill Hartzer formerly managed the Search Engine Marketing division of Vizion Interactive and MarketNet, leading interactive marketing and website design firms in the Dallas, Texas area.

Hartzer is a successful writer, blogger, search engine marketing, and social media marketing expert. During the past fifteen years, some of his many accomplishments include: Search Engine Marketing Manager, Vizion Interactive, Search Engine Marketing Manager, MarketNet, Search Engine Optimization Strategist, Intec Telecom Systems PLC, Webmaster, Intec Telecom Systems PLC, Founder, Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association, Owner/Author, Corporate Web Site Marketing, Administrator, Search Engine Forums, Frequent Speaker, Search Engine Strategies Conferences, Frequent Speaker, WebmasterWorld's PubCon Search Engine and Internet Marketing Conference.

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