John Prescott has recently posted a comment on Twitter encouraging users to fraudulently click on Conservative Pay Per Click adverts.
If you have been living under a stone for the past few days, you may not know about the General election being called for May the 6th- this gives politicians 4 weeks to push forward with their political campaigns, and party promises in the hopes of securing more votes. Unfortunately many politicians are resorting to slagging off opposing parties.
The conservative party have set up a campaign based on ‘Labour have failed’ to help this campaign they are using Google adwords (PPC) to promote Google has failed when users search for the Labour Party. John Prescott updated his Twitter yesterday with the below statement:
John Prescott is encouraging people to go to the link, which clicks through to the below search results:
He then asks people to Click on the Tories PPC advert as it will cost them 50p per click! I am not getting into the politics of all this and who is actually footing the bill for this PPC campaign but from a PPC point of view this is click fraud.
Click fraud is a crime and is illeagal in the UK (under the computer misuse act 1990 ) it happens when either a user or a computer program clicks on a Pay Per Click (PPC) advert with no intention to buy or interest in the advert. This is done to use up a competitors advertising budget as each click through to the site from this ad will cost the advertiser money.
Click fraud is quite difficult to prove but in John Prescotts Twitter post it is clear his intention is to encourage people to use up the Tories advertising budget.
After a number of Internet marketing bloggers raised this Mr Prescotts son has responded “It was still really only a retweet, it doesn’t matter.”
In fairness the first post was a Retweet, but the second was Tweeted from him, as you can see above in the screen shot.
Google have played down the suggestion that the Conservatives could have been defrauded.
They have stated “We have every reason to provide outstanding returns for advertisers, and have for many years devoted significant resources to creating sophisticated ways to filter invalid clicks before advertisers are charged for them.”
If I were a business person who’s add had been under similar attach I would certainly use this as evidence for recouperation of funds spent, however click fraud has always been difficult to prove.
The main issue is how out of touch British politicians seem to be, that they do not understand the ramifications of their online activity. And this is the government that put through the digital election bill.