Originally at https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/05/02/why-fighting-mobile-click-fraud-is-a-waste-of-time/

Fraud prevention is heating up in mobile. But trying to fight fraudulent clicks from mobile apps is a losing battle. Instead, try these three tips.

Every week, a new industry expert or solution enters the fray to solve the billion-dollar fraud market. That’s great. Collectively, we can only combat fraud if as many parts of the mobile marketing stack embrace the techniques and implementations available.

All the same, advertisers frequently want detection and reporting on fraudulent clicks.

We refuse.

Fighting clicks from mobile apps is not only foolish, but an utter waste of focus. Permanently out-fooling such fraud prevention filters is a trivial task for the average fraudster. At best, fraud detection for cost-per-click (CPC) campaigns would be a stopgap and an ersatz pacifier for concerned marketers. At worst, it’s counterproductive snake oil.

Here’s why.

The types of fraud occurring on websites only partially matches the types of fraud in apps. They work roughly the same: some software simulates the click and the conversion or install. However, on the web, this happens in a consistent environment where ad delivery is easily monitored inside the browser.

In fact, the whole journey from impression to conversion on the target website can be seen transparently and tracked with JavaScript and cookies. This allows you to check if a website is producing background clicks for cookie dropping. On the web, we have an array of tools for interacting deeper in the value chain.

In the app world, none of this works.

Cookies and JavaScript are extremely limited, if at all available. There are no insights into ad clicks beyond the pure HTTP requests and the data attached to them. Individual networks can perform spot checks, but the type of coverage required by effective fraud prevention cannot be achieved.

The reason HTTP requests and the data attached to them are completely unreliable i…

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