Click farm
A click farm is a form of click fraud
Click fraud
Click fraud is a type of Internet crime that occurs in pay per click online advertising when a person, automated script or computer program imitates a legitimate user of a web browser clicking on an ad, for the purpose of generating a charge per click without having actual interest in the target...

, where a large group of low-paid workers is hired to click on paid advertising links for the click fraudster (click farm master or click farmer). The workers click the links, surf the target website for a period of time, and possibly sign up for newsletters prior to clicking another link. For many of these workers, clicking on enough ads per day may increase their revenue substantially and may also be an alternative to other type of works. It is extremely difficult for an automated filter to detect this simulated traffic as fake because the visitor behavior appears exactly the same as that of an actual legitimate visitor.


Pay per click
Pay per click
Pay per click is an Internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, where advertisers pay the publisher when the ad is clicked. With search engines, advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market...

 providers including as Google
Google Inc. is an American multinational public corporation invested in Internet search, cloud computing, and advertising technologies. Google hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products, and generates profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program...

, Yahoo!
Yahoo! Inc. is an American multinational internet corporation headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, United States. The company is perhaps best known for its web portal, search engine , Yahoo! Directory, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Groups, Yahoo! Answers, advertising, online mapping ,...

, and MSN
MSN is a collection of Internet sites and services provided by Microsoft. The Microsoft Network debuted as an online service and Internet service provider on August 24, 1995, to coincide with the release of the Windows 95 operating system.The range of services offered by MSN has changed since its...

 have made substantial efforts to combat click fraud. Automated filters remove most click fraud attempts at source. In effort to circumvent these filtering systems, click fraudsters have begun to use these click farms to simulate actual visitors.


The first method is by hiring competitor fraudsters to deplete the advertising budget of the competitor so that they will be able to have their ads shown in higher pay per click rankings at a lower cost. In this case, the competitor is weakened instead of being outbid in the pay per click bidding system. The investment on the click farm made by the fraudster is only a very small fraction of the amount lost by the competitor.

The second method is by hiring the click farm workers to click on the click farmer's own ads. This way, the money lost by the advertisers is gained by the click farmer rather than by the search engines and content networks like it is in the first method.
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