Today the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) released version 1.0 of the guidelines for measuring click fraud. The guidelines were created with the aid of Yahoo, Microsoft and Google in order to ensure that all major search engines would back the finalized guidelines. Here is a key snippet from the document’s Scope and Applicability section:
The recommendations established in these guidelines provide the detailed definition of a “click” and the standard by which clicks should be measured and counted, including the identification of invalid and/or fraudulent clicks. The guidelines are intended to cover on-line browser or browser-equivalent based Internet activity. Additionally, any emerging technology utilizing standard HTTP protocols will be covered by these guidelines.
I doubt these guidelines will do much to quell the current click fraud cases that are in dispute but at least it will provide a clearer picture for future cases by establishing what each search engine has agreed is click fraud.
This quote from A.R. Ammons on clarity frames the benefits of these guidelines well:
I must stress here the point that I appreciate clarity, order, meaning, structure, rationality: they are necessary to whatever provisional stability we have, and they can be the agents of gradual and successful change.