Click Fraud?

Seth Godin has stirred up a minor kerfuffle by suggesting that the way to say thank you for good blog content is to click on an ad.  According to Seth, people who brag that they never click on an ad are actually starving good content.  He’s right.  I don’t have ads here, but if I did I would expect that at least some of you click on an ad once in a while.

For example, let’s say that I did have ads.  There might be an ad on the page for something that interests you.  Suppose you saw the ad and thought to yourself, “I ought to check that out.”  If checking it out means going directly to the site later in the day, rather than clicking on my link, you’d be costing me money.  It wouldn’t be a lot of money and I’d never know about it.  But multiply that by thousands of readers (I wish) and you’re talking about some serious money.

I don’t think that Seth’s suggesting anything immoral or unethical.  It’s certainly not “click fraud”.  Advertisers are expecting bloggers to send them viewers.  If the ad doesn’t create the desired action, shame on them.  I did my part by getting them the chance to tell their story.

If I say to you,  “our advertisers support this blog so please check them out”, there’s nothing wrong with that.  It happens all the time.  Suggesting that you click on an add ten times, well that’s another story.  Fair minded people know how this thing called the Internet works.  Advertisers often pay the bills and no one wants to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.  Truly “fraudulent clicks” will do just that.  But bragging that “I never click on ads” certainly doesn’t help the goose either.