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Is Facebook’s Ad Business A Scam?

Facebook’s chief source of revenue is the ads it features on its pages. Marketers are charged based on the clicks they get on the ads from Facebook users. However, a New York based startup, Limited Run, has come up with a very startling revelation that puts the social giants ad business in question. According to the startup, 80% of ad clicks on Facebook are bot generated. Sounds like a scam, right?


Limited Run posted a detailed message on their Facebook page which stated the issue. The New York based company was testing the Facebook ad system before adopting it in full-scale. It bought ad space in Facebook and started gathering the analytics about the campaign.

The first thing the team noticed was that they could verify only 20% of the clicks on their ads. This was rather strange because Facebook was charging them for every single click. So the company tried to dig deeper and found out more about the rest of the 80% clicks.

Once they dug deeper, they found out that JavaScript ( a prototype-based scripting language) was disabled on these 80% non-verifiable clicks. This was quite perplexing because normally, only 1 to 2% people have JavaScript disabled on their machines. The problem was, only such users who had JavaScript enabled on their devices could be verified. Without JavaScript, a click generated on an ad was simply unverifiable.

Once Limited Run team found this out, they tried different analytics software to see if the problem persists. All software displayed the same results. 80% ad clicks were being generated from unverifiable users.

Eventually, the developers at the company decided to build their own software to know what was going on. Once the results from this custom-built software came in, the team was pretty shocked. Results showed that 80% of the clicks generated on their ads were from bots.

However, Limited Run team did not accuse Facebook of running bots or a scam. But it pulled off its campaign.

If the stats revealed by Limited Run are true, then that could destroy the ad business of Facebook. This would also mean that the entire revenue structure of the social network has turned into a scam, unwillingly.

Courtesy: Naked Capitalism

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