A new type of Internet fraud is costing some merchants big bucks.
What´s being called “click-fraud” victimizes retailers when people who have no intention of buying a product repeatedly click on a Web link. Since the merchants are billed for every click, they end up paying something for nothing. Estimates vary widely on how much click fraud is going on.
But some experts believe as much as 10-20 % of the nearly $4 billion search engine advertising market could come from bogus clicks. After recently expanding its staff to watch for click fraud, Google says it broke up a scheme that had generated several thousand bogus transactions. Officials at Yahoo say they´re also shoring up their protections against click fraud.