Facebook Finds No Evidence Of Limited Run Click Bot
August 4, 2012

Facebook Says They Can’t Find Limited Run’s Click Bot Evidence

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

Earlier this week, the story of a startup company who discovered the majority of their ad clicks on Facebook came from bots made big news on the web. In fact, the story even took on a bit of a life of its own, something that Limited Run´s co-founder Tim Mango told us he wasn´t too keen on.

After the story broke, Facebook investigators began to look into the matter to see if they could confirm Limited Run´s claims. Now, the social networking company is telling Wired that they´ve been unable to find any proof or receive any evidence of the excessive bot clicks.

Limited Run has since deleted their Facebook page in protest, not in response to the bot clicks, but in response to another issue about a name change, but more on that later.

In their first blog post about the issue, Limited Run said they noticed something was amiss very soon after they launched their new site with Facebook ads.

“A couple months ago, when we were preparing to launch the new Limited Run, we started to experiment with Facebook ads. Unfortunately, while testing their ad system, we noticed some very strange things. Facebook was charging us for clicks, yet we could only verify about 20% of them actually showing up on our site,” writes the Limited Run team on their blog.

At first, the team assumed there was a problem with the analytics program they were running, not Facebook. They switched their analytics programs a few times, but continued to notice the same problem: only 15% to 20% of their clicks came from actual human beings.

They then created their own analytics program to watch the site and saw no changes in the amount of legitimate clicks. To corroborate their own findings, they then created a page logger. Same results.

The team was able to estimate the number of bots by watching the JavaScript. Most users have JavaScript enabled by default and never turn it off, as many users have no reasons to turn it off. However, a browser visit without JavaScript is often indicative of a bot, therefore, the team concluded nearly 80% of the ad clicks they had paid for were actually bots.

In a statement to Wired, Facebook has said they´ve yet to be able to prove these claims.

“We´re trying to work with Limited Run to investigate these claims,” a spokesperson said, “but we haven´t received any data yet to support these claims.”

Limited Run has confirmed they´ve been talking with Facebook, but isn´t saying much more.

“We have been in contact with a number of people at Facebook since this started,” said Mango. “They are researching the issues we had. This is all I can say.”

Mango told redOrbit the reason they decided to cancel their Facebook ads and remove themselves from the social network was due to the way they were treated when they tried to change their name. In the beginning, Limited Run was known as Limited Press. Though they changed their business name elsewhere, Facebook wouldn´t let them change it on their page.

“There were issues with our ad campaigns that we ran over the course of about a month, yes, but our biggest gripes were the lack of customer support from Facebook about those issues and when an employee told us we could only have our page´s name changed if we committed $2000+ a month to advertising,” Mango told us.

In the end, it seems Limited Run only wants to put this matter behind them. “We don´t want to be known for this,” Mango told Wired.