On the Security of Pay-Per-Click
and Other Web Advertising Schemes
We present a hit inflation attack on pay-per-click Web advertising schemes. Our attack is virtually impossible for the program provider to detect conclusively, regardless of whether the provider is a third-party "ad network" or the target of the click itself. If practiced widely, this attack could accelerate a move away from pay-per-click programs and toward programs in which referrers are paid only if the referred user subsequently makes a purchase (pay-per-sale) or engages in other substantial activity at the target site (pay-per-lead). We also briefly discuss the lack of auditability inherent in these schemes.
Keywords: Electronic Commerce, Secure Systems, On-line Advertising, Pay-Per-Click.
- The hit inflation problem
- Undetectable hit inflation for click-through counts
- Pay-per-sale and pay-per-lead
- About this document ...