Saturday, May 22, 2004

ARTICLE: India's Secret Army of Ad Clickers - Rupees for Clicks

Posted: Fri May 21, 2004 12:14 pm Post subject: India's Secret Army of Ad Clickers - Rupees for Clicks
Tee hee... I hate to say ' I told you so... " ... but... well... I told you so...

Since the introduction of Google Ads and various other 'pay for click' advertising schemes, I have been saying that it was open to abuse and that advertisers that 'pay for clicks' are probably 'paying to support some family in India and not attracting real clients or potential customers...'.

Here is a nice little story out of The Times of India that helps explain why advertisers are getting RIPPED OFF by these ' pay for click schemes '.


India's Secret Army of Ad Clickers
The Times Of India:

With her baby on her lap, Maya Sharma (name changed) gets down to work every evening from her eighth-floor flat at Vasant Vihar. Maya's job is to click on online advertisements. She doesn't care about the ads, but diligently keeps count — it's $0.18 to $0.25 per click.

A growing number of housewives, college graduates, and even working professionals across metropolitan cities are rushing to click paid Internet ads to make $100 to $200 (up to Rs 9,000) per month.

"It's boring, but it is extra money for a couple of hours of clicking weblinks every day," says a resident of Delhi's Patparganj, who has kept a $300-target for the summer.

Traffic to click overseas Internet ads — from home loans to insurance — is spreading fast in India. "I have no interest in what appears when clicking an ad. I care only whether to pause 60 seconds or 90 seconds, as money is credited if you stay online for a fixed time," says another user.

Here's how it works: online advertisers in developed markets agree to pay hosting website each time an ad is clicked. With performance-based deals becoming dominant on the Internet, intermediaries have sprung up to "do the needful”.' Why, type in 'earn rupees clicking ads' in Google — you get 25,000 results.

If you advertise online, with Google Adwords or similar programs, be aware that scammy bizops like this may be driving your costs up

The reason I find this worth noting is that these 'pay for click' scams are hurting web sites that depend on regular channels of advertising.

Advertisers have been impressed by the high number of CLICKS they get when they post a banner ad through Google Ads. They compare the clicks they get for regular banner ads against the number of 'CLICK THROUGHS' they get with these 'pay for clicks' and the statistics show that 'pay for clicks' get more clicks.

Oddly enough no one has really taken the time to do two things :

a) compare how many of those 'pay for clicks' actually lead to closings or tangible sales...
b) take note of where all these 'pay for clicks' are originating from... After all, 2 million 'click throughs' that trace back to some slum in India is not exactly the focused or targeted market that the advertiser was hoping and paying to get their advertisement in front of.

Eventually the advertisers whose limited budgets are being syphoned off will do a Return on Investment study and figure out that they spent a lot of money and got nothing more in return then a huge traffic flow from countries where the average monthly household income is about $100 per month or less...

But as I noted... unfortunately these ' pay for click ' schemes of Google and others are bleeding limited advertising budgets from companies, while depriving legitimate advertising channels of potential revenues.

Now I wonder why the advertising companies are so quick to support and embellish these 'pay for click' scams. Possibly they have no idea about the level of subversion and misrepresentation their click through stats represent. Or possibly the advertising agencies are simply lazy and take the pay for click route in order to generate higher number of 'apparent' click throughs to their clients.

But in the end this magical bubble is going to burst.... and I would suggest that these ' pay for clicks ' will bring about the next collapse of Internet advertising.

The original Internet advertising broke and brought on the initial collapse of Internet advertsing when advertising firms placed banner ads without any focus on the intended targets or market for the product or service they were promoting.

My personal favorite example being the Oracle banner ads that were placed in the Yahoo Personal Dating area. I have never heard a reasonable explanation who Oracle ( or Oracles advertising agency ) thought they were going to sell a $100,000 database product to in an area inhabited by singles hoping to score a date...

Sadly a lot of security related web sites have fallen into the trap of believing that these 'pay for click' banner ads are their salvation to reaping some revenue to support their sites. In most cases these web sites are operating honestly and simply cross their fingers that enough of their legitimate users will click on the ads to generate some cash flow for their sites.

On the other hand, there are some 'scam' web sites, yes even in the Security scene, that are participating in these 'pay for click' schemes and are forcing clicks or creating armies of 'paid clickers' to click on these pay for click banners. After all... the web site can afford to split the profits they generate from these bogus clicks with their accomplices.

As I was looking around Google about more information on this topic, I came across this interesting discussion that appeared elsewhere.

So I can take some pleasure that I am not alone in the woods wondering about these pay for ad clicks...


This article is yet another one in the A-billion-plus-Indians-are-gonna-destroy-you genre that we’ve been seeing in recent times.

Not only is the reporter, N.Vidyasagar, trying to impart an India flavour to a topic(fraudulent banner/ad clicking) that has been around for almost as long as banner ads have been around, he is also guilty of giving false information to make his case appear stronger.

As proof of the Indian PPC racket Vidyasagar offers as proof the 25,000+ results on Google for the search phrase “earn rupees clicking ads”. I did run the query…and all I got was around 3,200+ results.

But if you do search for “earn dollars clicking ads”, the results are surprise, surprise…25,900!

I don’t expect much of integrity or objectivity from the Slimes publications, but is it too much to expect them to not fudge commonly available figures?!?

Posted by Jivha at May 4, 2004 01:47 AM | TrackBack

Oh! Further to what I mentioned below, Google only shows 20 of those 153 results, many of them being postings like these which question N.Vidyasagar's article.

Posted by: Premnath Kudva at May 10, 2004 04:34 PM | Permalink

Actually if you run that search in Google for the search phrase “earn rupees clicking ads” within quotes you will only get 153 results. Wonder how N.Vidyasagar got that 25,000 from.

Posted by: Premnath Kudva at May 10, 2004 04:31 PM | Permalink

I want to join you.

Posted by: Deepti aggarwal at May 8, 2004 07:06 PM | Permalink

TOI should come out with much better & sensible article.

Posted by: raghuram at May 5, 2004 06:55 PM | Permalink

The google search you did is neat. It's really not that hard to capture the IP of the box (or atleast the subnet address) from which click-throughs happen. In fact, I am quite sure it is done (I didn't check). I would (and know I can) do it if I count click throughs to pay dollars. That would pretty much eliminate any click-throughs that are geographically irrelevant. In fact, in the article, it says, "Clicks are bought to boost number of hits for web ads or online advertisers who are not tracking user location".

There may be some truth in the article. But, any decent online ad server can and will track user locations.

good day.

I found that the use of GOOGLE SEARCH to find all the scammers seeking to cheat Google Ads ( and similar Pay For Click companies ) to be kind of amusing and ironic...

It's odd that Google doesn't do anything to block out solicitations to conspire against Google 'Pay for Click' advertisers. But then again Google makes money everytime some housewife in India, or Pakistan, or Russia or Brazil clicks on one of their ads... And every bogus click helps bolster Googles stats on 'how effective' Google Clicks are for advertisers.

I know that Google takes the 'scammers' seriously and will attempt to ferret out the blatantly OBVIOUS ones... but they probably are only able to spot the .01% that are so stupidly obvious that they are literally begging to be caught...

I can't wait for the bubble to burst... as the burned advertisers retreat and start looking for more honest methods of bringing their products and services to the attention of potential customers.

Unfortunately in the meantime a good number of legitimate web sites will financially collapse waiting for the advertisers to wake up... A quick look around the security scene will show a number of quite respectable and well known web sites that are not generating any advertising revenue at all. Some of those web sites may not be with us by the Fall of 2004...

And the only sites that will be left to pick up the pieces will be the ones that were scamming the advertisers and falsely generating revenue through bogus clicks.

After all... in countries where the average monthly income is a few hundred dollars per month... you can see how the popularity of bogus ad clickers is growing expotentially.

But as the one chap wrote... the scammers who find ways to cheat the various 'pay for click' advertising schemes have existed from the start of the Internet and they will probably continue to exist years from now...

Well... that is my rant for today ahhahaha....

And as you surf the various web sites, not only the security ones, you can think of this little rant about those ' Google Ads ' that may appear in front of you. Give em a click... as the ones on the Security web sites are most likely not cheating and not getting paid for hosting those ads... It will drop a few coins into their pockets and it can't be any worst then some housewife in India doing it

Maybe this topic would be more openly discussed and investigated if they ever found out that the Al Qaeda were the ones profiting and behind the bogus 'pay for click' operations...

And oddly enough... SPAM gets all the real attention, because it clogs up people's email boxes... and yet seldom do people ever do stats that show how many of those SPAM's are somehow tied into some twirps efforts to force 'click throughs' to a specific web site to garner 'click through pay' for the spammer. Or in other cases, trojans are deployed on victim computers in order to generate a zombie army of 'click through' machines that can be commanded which links to click in order to generate pocket cash for some zombie master. Or worst yet... the number of web site operators that deploy various tricks on their web sites to trick people into clicking these 'pay for click' links.

Ah the seedy underbelly of the Internet... yah gotta love it...

Tee hee...


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