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September 23, 2015

Google Charging Advertisers for Bot Views

Researchers Find YouTube Mechanisms Places 'Burden of Risk on Clients'

Marketers are paying for the actions of ‘bots’ when it comes to advertisements on Google’s YouTube.

OGB-INSIDER-BLOGS-GoogleLogox2-AnimatedA lengthy report detailing an experiment carried out by researchers at four institutions highlights the discovery outlining how Google has charged marketers for ad views even when it is detected that a viewer is not a human. The discovery means, perhaps, Google needs to step up its system qualifications to ensure advertisers aren’t paying for views which are not actually carried out by a human hand.

The Financial Post reported researchers experimented by sending bots to view two particular videos. Though the bots ‘watched’ the videos 150 times only 25 of the views were marked as authentic views. Yet, despite that count, Google’s AdWords service for advertisers charged the researchers for 91 of the visits.

“While YouTube is shown to strive to protect its users and clients, for example by reacting quickly when suspicious behavior is identified, we speculate that its setup seems to place an unnecessary burden of risk on clients. For example, fake views can be discounted equally for public and monetized counters, but they are not,” researchers explained in their lengthy paper.

The findings, apparently, piqued Google’s interest.

In a statement to Business Insider, Google said, “We’re contacting the researchers to discuss their findings further. We take invalid traffic very seriously and have invested significantly in the technology and team that keep this out of our systems. The vast majority of invalid traffic is filtered from our systems before advertisers are ever charged.”


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W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

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