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Click Forensics Traffic Quality Management. Tom Cuthbert, President & Founder Tom Charvet, Vice President & Founder IEEE March 19, 2009. Agenda. About Company Background The Problem of Click Fraud Our Approach Technical Overview. Tom Cuthbert.

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click forensics traffic quality management

Click Forensics Traffic Quality Management

Tom Cuthbert, President & Founder

Tom Charvet, Vice President & Founder


March 19, 2009

  • About
  • Company Background
  • The Problem of Click Fraud
  • Our Approach
  • Technical Overview
tom cuthbert
Tom Cuthbert
· Attended M.I.T. 
· BSEE with Highest Honors, Georgia Tech
· MSEE, Southern Methodist University
· Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, S.M.U.
· Circuit Design Using Personal Computers
· Optimization Using Personal Computers Applications for Electrical Networks
· Broadband Direct-Coupled and Matching RF Networks
· Four articles, RF Design, 1994, 1997, 2000
· One article, IEEE Trans. Microwave Thy. Tech. Newsletter
· One article, Applied Microwave and Wireless· Paper and presentation, IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems
· Design &Synthesis of Electrical Filters &Impedance-Matching RF Networks
· Amplifier Design by Geometric Model and Mapping
· Electronic Circuits in Frequency Ranges from VLF through K Bands
· Optimization (Nonlinear Programming)
· Numerical Methods and Analysis
about the tom s
About the “Tom’s”
  • Tom Charvet
  • Tom Cuthbert
  • The company
  • How we got here…
click fraud is like spam
Click Fraud is like spam…
  • Spam was up 25% in 2008
  • When McColo went offline in November, the rate dropped 70%, it’s up 156% since
  • An unprotected user would have received 45,000 spam emails in 2008
  • Virus volume increased 6X in 2nd half ’08
  • Spammers have reinvested and are constantly evolving their efforts
how click fraud works
How Click Fraud Works
  • Methods
    • Individual
    • Click farms
    • Bot and botnet
  • Motivations
    • Competitive
    • Malicious
    • Financial
types of traffic quality
Types of Traffic Quality


Valid Traffic










Invalid Traffic


Invalid Click Detection

Valid Traffic

Invalid Traffic

q4 2008 quarterly stats

Q4 2008 Quarterly Stats

Click Fraud Index™

who we help
Who We Help
  • Buy Side - Advertisers
  • Sell Side – Search Engines, Publishers, and Ad Networks
invalid traffic is more than just click fraud
Invalid Traffic Is MoreThan Just Click Fraud

Types of Low Traffic Quality


  • Low conversion rates
  • CPA too high
  • Broad match conflict

Low Quality

  • Outside target service area
  • Competitor Clicks
  • Unacceptable type of site
  • (MFA, Adult, etc.)

Invalid Traffic

  • Malicious intent
  • Click Farms
  • Bots/Botnets

Click Fraud


five major threats to roas in cpc campaigns
Five Major Threats To ROAS In CPC Campaigns
  • Like spam, bots and botnets are becoming more sophisticated and difficult to catch
  • Over 70% of all sites in Google Adsense and the Yahoo Publisher Network are made for ad sites or parked domains
  • Over 22% of all invalid activity comes from outside the targeted geo area of advertisers
  • Competitor clicks deplete ad spend
  • Brand infringement violations use established brands to send customers to competitor’s sites
fully automated click tracking reconciliation
Fully Automated Click Tracking Reconciliation


  • FACTr completely automates the submission process of invalid campaign activity evidence
  • The evidence report is a verifiable third-party audit containing a click-for-click breakdown of invalid activity
  • Google, Yahoo, Looksmart and Miva are partners in this program with more to be announced soon


case study click forensics 6 month roi
Case Study:Click Forensics 6-Month ROI


  • 45% reduction in invalid clicks
    • Over $200k monthly savings
    • Eliminated very expensive, low-quality clicks
    • FACTr process produced credits for exceptions (>$100k/mo)
  • 7% increase in conversion rates

Traffic Segmentation



  • Route Traffic Most Effectively
  • Maximize Earnings Potential


Click Fraud

  • Traffic to Discard



Reading the Scoreboard

  • ClickScore - A three digit score that indicates whether a click is valid or invalid and serves as a predictor of conversion .
  • VisitorScore - A three digit score produced by each individual visitor. Represents the quality of visitor.
  • SiteScore™ - A three digit score that represents the traffic quality of an individual publisher or network.

 Click Forensics 2008


Primary goal is to supply high quality traffic to advertisers from publishers to maximize revenue

Ad Network

 Click Forensics 2008


Click Forensics measures the quality of traffic from publishers and report the results

Ad Network

 Click Forensics 2008


Click Forensics augments existing blocking mechanisms that eliminates the poor quality visitors from viewing ads

Ad Network

 Click Forensics 2008


The result is higher quality impressions and more valuable clicks delivered upstream




Ad Network

 Click Forensics 2008


Reporting Tools

  • View the SiteScores™ of the publishers in your network
  • Monitor the VisitorScores™ of your worst offenders
  • Gain insight into the geographic areas delivering high and low quality traffic
  • Analyze trends within your traffic
  • Export data into other applications for added analysis
  • Setup near real time email alerts to monitor spikes in unwanted traffic
  • Drill down for publisher and advertiser dispute resolution

 Click Forensics 2008


Data Flow Diagram

Raw click data – transmitted via scp, sftp, or ftps. This can be scheduled near real time.

Each click is rated and assigned a ClickScore™

Each visitor is rated and assigned a VisitorScore™

Each publisher is rated and assigned a SiteScore™

Ad Network

  • The Click Forensics API returns:
  • Valid and Invalid Clicks and their ClickScores™
  • High threat visitors and their VisitorScores™
  • Publisher quality index and their SiteScores™
  • Known Offender Lists

 Click Forensics 2008


Putting It All To Work

  • Blocking - Invalid traffic can be blocked before it ever reaches an advertiser
  • Routing - Ad networks can route traffic appropriately to maximize earnings
  • Intelligent Pricing – Traffic segmentation allows for quality-based pricing models
  • Publisher/Advertiser Review - Ad Assurance automates the process for detecting malware in ad creative and sites.
  • Reconciliation - Evidence of invalid traffic is recorded so that ad networks can reconcile payment with both publishers and advertisers