I had a click report from My Deco sent to me by a client on Friday, asking for my comments. MyDeco is a comparison shopping engine in the home interiors vertical market; they work on a combination of affiliate comission (CPA) and pay per click (CPC) to generate their revenue, so retailers pay for clicks through to their website and a percentage commission if a sale is made.

This particular client has been very disappointed by MyDeco’s performance, with no sales being generated and a very small number of visitor referrals. So it was something of a surprise to see the click report claiming hundreds of visits with a resultant bill of three figures, when Google Analytics reported visits barely into double figures from MyDeco in the same period.

The accompanying email from MyDeco claimed “We have excluded Google, Yahoo and other known bots in line with industry standards, as well as repeat/multiple clicks from the same IP (double clicks)… We would also like to point out that some CPC retailers have experienced differences between their Google analytics reports and the volume of clicks in the attached reports.  This is due to the inherent limitations of Google analytics software, to identify trends rather than 100% accurate datasets.” Well, I think Google might have something to say about that, but it becomes pretty clear why they’re making excuses when you open the report.

Inherent “limitations” of Analytics accetped, do you really think that it is so limited that it would fail to report 97% of all visitors from MyDeco!? Seriously, you think Analytics is likely to be that wrong? I can’t see it.

But then we come to the real crux of the matter. The report provided, by default, opens to show clicks listed per day for the period. If you expand each day, it tells you the time of each click and the product that was clicked on. I found several instances where there were five clicks from the same product within a minute of each other. The charge was 36p per click every time. What do you think the chances of five different people clicking on exactly the same product within the space of a minute are, taking into account that we are talking about a three month period with less than 300 clicks in total? They must be the same person each time. So what happened to excluding “repeat/multiple clicks from the same IP”?

This kind of rubbish is disgraceful and gives CPC a bad name. How many retailers would just open the report, look at the number of clicks and pay the invoice? If you’re a MyDeco retailer, I urge you to examine your click reports in detail and see if it tallies with your Analytics and log files. In this case, the discrepancy is huge and the cause is quite clear – complete failure of the MyDeco click cleaning software to do its job, very much in MyDeco’s favour.

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