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A rarity: Click fraud declines

A study finds that click fraud rates for online advertising dropped slightly from the last quarter of 2007 to the first of 2008.

Click fraud decreased in the first quarter of 2008, in part because of measures Yahoo and Google took to counteract the bogus clicks on online advertisements that can waste advertisers' dollars, according to a new study.

Overall click fraud dropped to 16.3 percent of clicks in the quarter compared with 16.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007, said Click Forensics, a company that monitors the phenomenon and is in the business of helping clients prevent it. It was only the second time the rate dropped since Click Forensics started studying it, the company said.

"Yahoo and Google seem to be finally filtering out more of the click fraud and non-converting traffic they used to let through," Tom Cuthbert, president of Click Forensics, said in a statement.

The company also said that click fraud from botnets--groups of computers that have been taken over remotely that can be used to perpetrate click fraud--increased 8 percent from the last quarter of 2007.