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Spamhaus-style service aims to curb click fraud

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A UK-based service aims to emulate Spamhaus' success in helping organisations block spam by tackling web advertising fraud.

As much as 70 per cent of annual online advertising spend is wasted because of click fraud, according to Clickhaus, a not-for-profit project that aims to help combat the loss of revenue caused by click fraud. Online advertisers stand to lose $1.6bn in wasted ad expenditure by 2008 because of the problem.

Clickhaus aims to help online advertisers clamp down on abuse by compiling a database of IP addresses associated with click fraud in much the same way Spamhaus compiles a list of addresses associated with spam and spam-related botnet activity.

Corrupt affiliates of ad networks such as Google and Yahoo! are reckoned to account for 85 per cent of all click fraud.

Clickhaus will provide a service allowing IT pros, advertisers, and search engines the ability to report instances of click fraud. This data will then be published in a database, currently in beta.

"We got the idea of Clickhaus from Spamhaus because we were impressed with the way that they have helped reduce spam by sharing the IP addresses of known spammers," explained Robert Snell, director of search engine marketing firm Brain Talent, the founding sponsor of Clickhaus.

Some organisations already maintain private databases of IP addresses associated with click fraud. The Clickhaus project aims to encourage the sharing of this data among partners in the online advertising community in order to reduce losses.

Clickhaus is realistic enough to recognise that click fraud, much like spam, is a problem that's not going to go away anytime soon. "Clickhaus will not end the problem of click fraud, but it's a step in the right direction," Snell said. ®

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