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Fake eyeballs plague web ads

IN A recent article published in the Australian Financial Review entitled Trade in phony eyes doesn’t add up, journalist John Davidson unwraps the duplicitous nature of some Internet advertising behaviour.

Davidson reported an undercover investigation into search engines Excite, Lycos and Yahoo revealed they “have been trafficking in fake eyeballs to prop up plummeting advertising rates”.

Traditionally, the charge for advertising on high traffic websites was $110 per 1,000 impressions.

This means every time a web page with a particular banner advertisement was loaded onto a computer, this would count for one impression – and one set of eyeballs.

When considering how quickly a thousand are incurred by an Internet ad on a high traffic site and the unlikelihood – unless very well designed – of someone clicking on the ad, this becomes expensive advertising.

With this method of promoting business on the web, there appears to be much room for ‘fake eyeballs’, as one person could easily load a page several times simply by pushing the refresh button.

However, Internet advertising comes in many different forms with various programs and payment options, creating a veritable plethora of choices.

Perhaps one of the best options available is targeted banner advertising, where an ad appears after a keyword search and the potential customer is in pursuit of a particular item.

Although still open to ‘fake eyeballs’, with the right programming and payment options in place, this problem can be eliminated.

Other Internet advertising and promotion options include electronic newsletters, newsgroups, high search engine rankings and perhaps the more effective Associate or Affiliate programs used most famously by Internet book stores Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com.

The choice of Internet advertising must rely on a savvy marketing strategy to ascertain which options are best and most cost effective.

The rapid growth of the Internet advertising industry has caused its fair share of scams. It will take knowledgeable promoters to get their heads around some.

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