Click fraud is getting more attention and media coverage lately. And now there's a cottage industry emerging around the perceived problem.
My question is: Will this motivate or accelerate a move to an alternative model (e.g., cost per lead/action) that is perceived to be closer to a conversion?
Search engine Snap.com and vertical directories Knowledge Storm and ServiceMagic, among others, are promoting different models (cost per action/lead) than "traditional" pay per click. Pay-per-call is a kind of cost per lead model too (making the assumption that a call is a bona fide lead).
With Snap, the "action" can be a site registration, a conversion, a verified contact with a business — it depends on the context. In the case of Knowledge Storm, the would-be buyer/prospect has to fill out a bunch of fields that generate information to the seller/vendor. Service Magic puts its users through a relatively rigoruous "diagnostic" interview process so that the eventual lead delivered to the contractor is highly qualified.
Pay per call offers a cost-per-lead model (putting aside wrong numbers and telemarketers) by virtue of the fact that there's a warm body on the phone and merchants (esp. service SMEs) perceive a higher degree of credibility with calls vs. clicks.
It remains to be seen how big the click fraud PR problem becomes and whether sites such as Snap move to exploit it and/or whether there's a grass roots advertiser demand for a cost-per-lead/action model as a result.