Categorized | tip sheet

If you’re thinking about advertising on Facebook . . .

Mouse click mouse style
Facebook has a slightly different definition of “mouse click” than the rest of us.

Think again.

TechCrunch is reporting massive click fraud on the Facebook site. As a result of these blogs, Facebook is admitting to the fraudulent clicks and claims to be working on a fix. However, their initial response to advertiser complaints was silence and form letters.

Money quote:

In this case advertisers are saying that Facebook is recording and charging for clicks that don’t exist at all, even from bots. Their tracking software (many use Prosper202, but others are using raw Apache logs) shows one set of numbers, which is 20% – 100% lower than what Facebook is recording.

One advertiser claimed a 10:1 discrepancy: 10 clicks recorded by Facebook for every 1 recorded by his site tracking tool. We’re talking literally thousands of dollars in non-existent clicks.

Now, I’m not a big fan of advertising on Facebook because the company you keep is, well, pretty scummy. Facebook advertisers are pretty much bottom-of-the-barrel scumbags selling “make money on Google for doing nothing” scams. When you mix your ads with the scumbaggiest online advertisers, well, some of that scum rubs off on you and the brand you’re pitching. (Unless, of course, you’re a scumbag advertising “make money quick” or “date any chick” crap, then feel free to use Facebook — you’ll be in good company).

(Now, here’s the real punch line — you know most of the ads on Facebook that promise you thousands of dollars of extra cash from Google each month? You know what they’re selling you? Click fraud. And these are the advertisers being click-frauded, intentionally or not, by Facebook. On the seventh day, as you know, God created irony. So he could have a good laugh.)

But this unfolding story about Facebook is just one more reminder to follow the advice we emphatically offer in our Shoestring Venture book: you always follow online ad campaigns with an independent tracking tool — never trust the numbers a publisher or affiliate ad network is giving you. And we’re talking about a Web tracking tool that gets data straight from your server logs rather than tracks pages remotely. Remote Web analytics tools may not expose the kind of discrepancies that have been plaguing advertisers on Facebook.

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One Response to “If you’re thinking about advertising on Facebook . . .”

  1. Kat says:

    I love that you cross-posted this to Facebook. Irony, indeed.

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