Marketers in the U.S. may wonder what in the world bauxite mining efforts in Vietnam have to do with their online efforts. Plenty, according to a new click fraud report from Mountain View, Calif.-based Anchor Intelligence. The click fraud and traffic quality solutions provider says "invalid traffic" reached a historic high worldwide during the first quarter of 2010, thanks in part to alleged efforts to squelch political dissenters opposing proposed bauxite mining in Vietnam. (Malware aimed at Vietnamese-language speakers compromises their machines, making the computers vulnerable to cybercriminals who then perpetrate denial of service attacks, spam campaigns and click fraud, according to Anchor.)
From January through March 2010, attempted click fraud reached 29 percent across Anchor's network of search engine, ad network and advertiser customers, according to the Anchor Intelligence Traffic Quality Report: Q1 2010. Innocuous invalid traffic, which can include consumers double-clicking on ads, totaled 7 percent. The resulting 36 percent "is the highest invalid rate recorded by Anchor Intelligence since the company began publishing traffic quality across its network last year."
U.S. customers saw an attempted click fraud rate of 35 percent and innocuous invalids were 5.6 percent; Canada's rates reached 30.4 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.
Anchor found the main sources of the attempted click fraud: New customers entered the network with higher-than-average attempted click fraud rates; and the scale and volume of botnets increased.
Anchor notes that machines compromised by malware that is designed for denial of service attacks "are also commonly used in other nefarious online activity, such as committing click fraud and distributing e-mail spam."
The study concludes: "Until the international community steps up its efforts to counter the proliferation of malware, click fraud and botnets will remain a threat to global advertisers."