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Startup: 80 percent of our Facebook clicks are bots

updated 07:01 am EDT, Tue July 31, 2012

Fake agent likely intended to drive up ad costs

A startup called Limited Run will be deleting its Facebook page and will cease paying for ads, claiming that the majority of the clicks the company was receiving were driven not by real people but by automated programs. On its Facebook page, Limited Run says that it conducted extensive analytics on its traffic, finding that bots constituted the overwhelming majority of its traffic on the social network. Further, the company claims that Facebook has been difficult and not helpful, as the site's representatives continue to claim that Limited Run's analytics may be flawed in a way.

Limited Run's software allows musicians and labels to sell physical products such as vinyl records. When preparing to launch a new version of its site, the company began experimenting with Facebook ads. While Facebook charges for clicks on ads, Limited Run could only verify 20 percent of the ads they were charged for showing up on their site.

The company then built its own analytics service and took a look at its traffic. They found that 80 percent of clicks had JavaScript disabled, which they took as indicative of an automated visitor. They also measured traffic with several outside analytics services, including Click and Google Analytics. Results were roughly the same on those platforms as well.

Reaching out to Facebook, Limited Run says the social network told them that different analytics engines will return different results. In a statement to TechCrunch, Facebook maintained that the company was looking into Limited Run's claims.

Limited Run's complaints about the veracity of its Faceboko ad click throughs is in keeping with previous concerns raised by outside parties. Earlier this month, the BBC conducted an investigation finding that the social network was rife with automated accounts. These accounts follow and Like a vast number of real accounts and effectively function as a spam network. Facebook maintains that only about five or six percent of its user base consists of fake accounts, and the company is working to lower that number.



By Electronista Staff
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