The Blog of Kendall

Observations and Interests of Kendall Schoenrock – Web 2.0, Startups, Technology, & Other Fun Stuff

December 18, 2006

Is the new Digg design helping to commit click fraud?

Written by
Kendall Schoenrock

As a fan of digg, I was excited for today’s release of new features. There has been much positive feedback about the new navigation and the ability to span a wide screen monitor and I agree, these are some nice improvements. On further review something caught my attention about the top navigation bar. Previously, I found the advertisements on digg to be very non-intrusive. But now, anytime I want to change the topic now in the navigation bar, I have to fight with a large google banner hugging the top of their real estate. Couple that with the mis-clicks and mysterious extension of the ad (more on google’s part than diggs) and I think you have a serious case to claim this new layout will help users inadvertently click on advertisements.

Why does this ad box extend all the way beneath the navigation bar? Shouldn’t it be limited just to the text of the ad? I’m not a professional PPC optimizer, but this new redesign makes me question if the most important, yet not highlighted point about the new redesign, is the increased mouse traffic over ads.

Digg's Ad's Click Area

Click fraud, as defined by wikipedia:

Click fraud 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 of the ad’s link.

With this re-design, I believe there will be higher click through rates on the top google banners, and I’m not sure if we will ever know if the person who followed that ad was truly interested in its output. I know the one time I moved from the technology tab to the apple tab to quickly, I was shown an advertisement that I had zero interest in seeing.

Digg is stuck. They obviously have a right to make money and they way they do this is to show us ads. I would like to believe that this is just an oversight, but the business side of me thinks it is a well executed way to increase click-through-rates. What are your thoughts on this subject?

3 comments for this post.

  1. Trackback from Anonymous on December 20th, 2006 :

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  2. Comment from Anita on December 23rd, 2006 :

    Was this a scheme by Digg to promote click fraud? Almost certainly not. Will there be invalid clicks as a result of its placement? Absolutely (I’ve already clicked on it accidentally myself).

    Digg isn’t violating any TOS by the box’s placement, but it will certainly take some time before Digg users stop accidentally clicking.

  3. Comment from Divya Uttam on January 10th, 2007 :

    I think social bookmarking sites are lacking a good core business ideas and are always in look for generating revenue. Clickfraud is really an important issue to and shouldnot be prompted by such reputated site and actually effect the advertisers ROI and mess up his complete advertising program.
    Lack of quality revenue generation is the weakest point in these social bookmarking business model and is the major reason of selling of MyBlogLog to Yahoo, which is good in making Business Sense.

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