Marc Cuban, Click Fraud Analyst

markcuban.gifMark Cuban, he of the Dallas Mavs and long ago broadcast.com, makes a persuasive — if very unscientific and not completely founded — argument for why click fraud is increasing. “Click fraud” is a mechanism for using fakery to increase the money a website gets from its ads. It works like this: The more clicks the ads get, the more money goes to the website displaying them, and therefore the bigger the incentive to have people, or automated “bots,” fraudulently click on the ads just to jack up the fee. The system’s supposed to work that an advertiser pays for clicks because, presumably, people who’ve clicked on the ad are truly interested in the advertised product or service.

Cuban writes anecdotally, putting himself inside the mind of the criminal, noting the “black hats” are very clever, and that they should be able to figure this stuff out, that “they look a lot more legit getting checks from google [which pays for these per-click ads] than trying to wash 10k dollars in cash delivered in a bag.”


It’s not scientific, as we said, and the comments on Cuban’s blog have a lot of good back and forth on how he is- isn’t- is- isn’t- right. But it’s impressive to see a gazillionaire we know mainly from looking nerdy at courtside during the playoffs making cogent arguments in a blog.

Certainly, if we were selling magazine or TV ad space, we’d sure as heck be trying to spread these arguments. The Internet is getting such great press and the dollars are swarming in even as they drain from conventional media. And a huge portion of those dollars being drained are going to the search engines. So, any doubt you can put in a client’s mind works to your benefit, if you’re selling ad space that’s not on the Internet.

We’d say Cuban was doing all this just because he’s an investor in 2929 Entertainment and HD Net and other TV-type ventures, but he’s also an investor in pure Web 2.0 stuff like IceRocket. So maybe he’s just expressing an actual opinion.