Note: I do not condone or encourage cheating on Google AdSense or any advertiser network. This article is indeed written to show why you should NOT use clickbot. If you want to increase your earning, there are legal and easier ways. Read 100 Google AdSense Tips.
Apparently, for some reason, it is not easy to find information about clickbots from the Internet. I need to dig a bit into Google cache to get some decent information. At the time I’m writing this, even Wikipedia does not have an entry specially for “clickbot” yet. The nearest term from Wikipedia is “Internet Bot”.
A bot is common parlance on the Internet for a software program that is a software agent. A Bot interacts with other network services intended for people as if it were a real person. One typical use of bots is to gather information. The term is derived from the word “robot,” reflecting the autonomous character in the “virtual robot”-ness of the concept.
Put simply, clickbot is a specialized bot made to simulate clicking. Initially popular for gaming cheat, now clickbot has taken the highlight in pay-per-click advertisement business. In 2004, a California man created a clickbot that he claimed cannot be detected by Google. Failed to make good money selling the program, he tried to blackmail Google for $150,000 to hand over the program. He was arrested, nonetheless.
For computer savvy users, creating a clickbot is very simple and straight forward. You just need a macro to record your activities. While the macro is recoding, you visit your own site and click on the ads. Save the macro, and then let it run. Of course, you will also need a list of proxies to cover your track.
Fortunately for advertisers and honest publishers, Google is not stupid. With the huge amount of data that it has, Google can easily compile the most comprehensive proxy list on earth. In the AdSense report, clicks from proxies will add up to the number of clicks, but no money is credited to the earning. As you guess, when the proxy clicks exceed a certain number, your AdSense account is disabled.
Organised crimes handle this by having the clickbot software on many computers around the world, each with their own Internet Service Provider. Some of these software may be installed without the computer owners’ permissions or knowledge, via trojans and viruses. Or it might be installed voluntarily by the click-network members.
Beginning of this year, Greg Boser from WebGuerilla did an experiment to test the extent of click-fraud by using clickbot, with no conclusive answer. Some experts claims that click fraud accounts for up to 20% of the clicks, generating more than $1 billion in a year.
Whether or not the estimation is correct, one thing is sure. Google, Yahoo and other big players in the PPC advertising business takes click-fraud very seriously, and it will be just a matter of time when fraudsters are caught.