I was reading this article about web companies debating "when a click is a click" and I wondered why no one ever mentions reverse click fraud. What do I mean by that? I think there are advertisers that benefit from online ads that don't have to pay. Let me give you two examples.
First of all, I often search for something and I notice that the top ad is the same as one of the top 3-4 search results. I click on the search result, not the ad. Secondly, in the rare case that I see an ad that captures my attention, I don't click on it. I either type the URL in directly, or I go to a search engine and search for the company. Why? Because in my experience, clicking on ads often takes you to special pages, and I like to start at the homepage. I don't want to be taken to a specific product page. I like to see everything a company makes. I like to poke around and see what else I can find that might be more interesting. The point though, is that in both cases the advertiser benefited from the ad without paying for that benefit – because I didn't click.
Now, maybe I'm just a weirdo, but I think there are probably some other people out there that do this too. Granted, it probably doesn't cancel out the click fraud that supposedly exists in large numbers, but it still is something to consider, and I don't ever read anything about it. Perhaps it is more common than I think, and Google is missing out on lots of money as a result. So I'm curious, does anyone else engage in "reverse click fraud" by acting on ads without clicking on them?