The Sausage Manifesto: An Open Letter on Click Fraud

Jeffrey Rohrs has posted an open letter to the PPC Networks calling for a fresh approach to tackling the click fraud issue. He’s named it the Sausage Manifesto. In it, he outlines 11 things he’d like to see the networks do:

  1. Talk, Don’t Lecture
  2. Appreciate Our Unique Circumstances
  3. Invest in Proportion to the Problem
  4. Acknowledge that Tracking Alone Is Not the Answer
  5. Improve Click Quality Customer Service
  6. Build a Click Quality Education Resource Center
  7. Light a Fire Under the IAB
  8. Play Nice with Others
  9. Put Somebody in Jail
  10. Create a Click Fraud Perp Registry
  11. Put Your Data Where Your PR Is

I agree with all Jeffrey’s points, but to varying degrees. I think some of them are probably not completely fair to Google and Yahoo, but they do sum up the level of frustration with advertisers, so they have to be addressed and taken seriously by the engines. If we use Shuman Ghosemajumder and his team at Google for an example, I think they’re working on points 1, 3, 4 and 7.  But most advertisers aren’t aware of the extent of the effort and that, combined with a natural skepticism about any messaging coming from the Networks, who have so much at stake, are impeding much needed communication.

For that reason, I absolutely think it’s time to knock down the walls. I agree completely with points 5, 6, 8, 10 and 11, especially 11. The whole problem here is the lack of reliable data. We’re trying to peer over the walls. Google and Yahoo in particular have to be more forth coming. Nothing solves a problem faster than exposing it to the light of day. Information is the answer here, and getting the information into as many hands as possible. I appreciate Google’s efforts to police the problem, but this can’t be a siloed effort, it has to be a collaborative one. Having wrestled with the issue through SEMPO, I’ve seen first hand how access to data to even judge the scope of the problem can be a tremendous challenge.

Thanks to Jeff Rohr for crystallizing the thoughts of a lot of advertisers. Hopefully it acts as a catalyst to push forward solutions.

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