Click fraud is a type of Internet scam that targets advertising companies rather than consumers. On pay-per-click advertising, a company publishes a small ad in front pages such as Google or Yahoo, which offer an ad service. The ad is displayed for everybody to see, but the company only pays for advertising if a prospective client clicks on the ad. When that happens, the company is billed and Google or Yahoo get a profit. The price is small, sometimes even one penny per click, but when millions of consumers click on the ad every month, the numbers add up.
Google’s AdWords/AdSense kind of programs share money with those websites owners hosting these ads based on number of CLICKS these ads got , called “charge per click” . Thus, click fraud happens 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 of the ad’s link. Most people committing click fraud are operating such a small con that it goes undetected by companies. Those who are truly trying to profit from click fraud may have complex software programs that trick the company into believing the clicks come from different computers or even different countries.
Other forms of click fraud are not directly related to profits. Individuals may use click fraud to cause monetary loses to a competing company or to help a friend who is operating as a middleman (website owner hosting these ads) to obtain more profits.