Web advertising is costing more and more in part, due to ‘pay to click’ scams. Companies offer people to click on ads and in return, pay between .0001 and .0050 cents per click. These companies offer ‘low’ payouts via Pay-Pal, with some offering payout at $3 to $5. Reading on the web about this, some people have admited to spending four to six hours per day, clicking ads that flood their inbox, all to earn $300 per year. At .0001 per click, it takes 100 clicks just to earn one cent. Even on the generous side, at half a cent per click, it would take a person 1,000 clicks to reach a $5 pay out. The 1,000 clicks take hours and days to reach. Most pay to click companies have designed emails so that not more than one can be opened and counted for at a time. In addition, the ‘clicker’ must remain on the page for a certain amount of time, anywhere from 10 seconds to one minute, before their account is credited.
At the front of the ‘pay to click’ and ‘pay to read’ controversy are internet leaders Yahoo and Google, each which claim innocence. The Washington Post reports, “Google, Yahoo and other providers of online ads said they are increasingly being targeted by online fraudsters, who exploit weaknesses in the Internet ad system to generate revenue or hurt their competitors. The Internet giants said they are working to combat the problem, but some advertisers accuse the companies of not moving aggressively enough because they also profit from the scams.” Jessie Strichola, a click fraud expert, claims, “”Google is notorious for just flat out ignoring advertisers”.

The advertisers are stuck paying the bill, sometimes paying $50,000 to $2 million in fraudulent clicks.A Cybercrimes unit composed of the FBI and the US Postal Service have now gotten involved to see if any laws have been broken. The attention to this crime came after the FBI noticed ‘clicker’s discussing the industry of click fraud in a chat room. All of the clicks have added up to big losss in revenue from advertising companies, massive monetary gains by Yahoo and Google and barely mentionable gains by those who are trapped into the pay to click (sometimes called ‘pay to read’) scams.

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