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Adwords and Adsense Fraudulent Clicks
Adwords and Adsense Fraudulent Clicks

 4:10 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am thinking of becoming an AdWords subscriber but I have a question I would like to ask you folks first since most of you are experienced with this. Is the new Google Adsense hurting or helping you? My concern with Adsense is the guys out there who are changing their IP addresses and clicking on ads to boost their Adsense revenue. This of course, will inflate my advertising costs to the AdWords program. How does Google work around this? Does Google have the technology to find a fraudulent click coming from different IP adresses? And if they do, how does that work with Adwords on the fraudulent click. Google does not pass on the click cost to the advertiser do they?

Thank you in advance,



 5:49 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

You have a few potential responses to this potential fraud:

(1) Become an AdWords advertiser and turn content-targeting off.

(2) Monitor your sales conversions with software that can tell the difference. Poor quality traffic can still be profitable on the whole - it depends on the CPC.

(3) Contact Google in cases where you suspect fraud.

It's not in Google's interest to stay partnered with publishers which send poor-quality traffic. With their undisclosed revshare % and their new "enhanced smart pricing" which prices AdSense clicks based on an undisclosed formula, they can whack the low-quality publishers' revenues way down without even having to cut them off.

By and large though we as advertisers would rather have much more control over the process.

It all starts with improved post-click tracking.


 5:51 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

aaandrew basically summed it up nicely.

the crucial thing here is that Google does not want to associate itself with dodgy publishers.

with ROI tracking, its quite easy to work out whats taking place.



 6:10 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would keep my eye carefully on the cost and conversion rate of adsense placement. I have yet to meet anyone (except adsense publishers) that think those clicks are as valuable as search clicks.

It is possible to bid separately and lower for adsense ads. I tried to find a thread which discusssed it because I don't have time at the moment to say it all again.

Oddly, I could not find a single thread with the technique maybe someone else has saved the url.


 6:11 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thank You andrewg. I appreciate your comments.


 7:56 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

And you ain't seen nothin' yet!

It's not just the greedy Adsense publishers and devious competitors that will click on your ad. Maybe even Google employees, trying to increase corporate profits, their bonuses etc.

Just wait till Google becomes a public company (ie their stock is traded in the stock exchange). Then all the 100.000s of new stock-holders will start clicking on the sponsored links, trying to boost Google's profits (and their stock price).

Sorry, I couldn't help it.

Seriously now, I have been monitoring Adsense clicks for a couple of days and Google seems to be doing a good job not counting the double-triple clicks (ie when a user clicks several times on the same ad)

I think Adwords customers should ask Google to get rid of the HUGE image at the conversion tracking pages and then make sure implement conversion tracking asap, so that G can track performance OBJECTIVELY.


 8:05 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think Adwords customers should ask Google to get rid of the HUGE image at the conversion tracking pages and then make sure implement conversion tracking asap, so that G can track performance OBJECTIVELY.

our sales convert 100% offline, so will we get adwords free?


 8:19 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

our sales convert 100% offline, so will we get adwords free?

I was thinking along the lines of pages-per-visitor > X, time spent on your site etc, not necessarily measure conversion by completing the sale online.

Also it'd be comparative, ie if clicks from different Adsense sites to the SAME advertiser result in very different behaviour, the one providing "better" leads should be rewarded more.

I think letting the market's supply/demand take care of the rest is best.

And allowing the Adsense publisher specify a minimum EPC, e.g. no clicks under $0.10 in this "channel" etc

Btw this will make things a bit more "fair" in terms of the "branding" benefit of publishers due to all this exposure, which isn't going to be paid, as the system for publishers is ALREADY pay-for-performance, at least in THEORY.


 1:34 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

The thread about setting a seperate campaign for content ads is here:


particularly message #5


 1:55 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)


the problem with that is each advertiser would have to define their own benchmark for success. That would be good (for us) but I think it might be very difficult to engineer protection against self-serving (so to speak) 'definitions' only aimed at reducing CPC (and therefore EPC for Adsense Pub's or G).

Sort of the opposite of what is going on in adsense these days where some 'publishers' are simply generating low quality pages 'optimized' with expensive keyword triggers.

I would like to see the Bid system stay as it is but be able to use my criteria (average page views) as an 'excluding' factor to determine in which situations my ad will be displayed.

For example, I'd like to be able to say "don't display my ad on adsense publisher sites which don't generate at least x% of conversions" I would still bid and pay as usual (by the click) I would just have more control (setting my priorities) about *where* my ad is placed.

"smart pricing" sorta does this in a way, but I would rather define the 'success' criteria.

[edited by: nyet at 1:58 pm (utc) on April 28, 2004]


 1:56 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)


thanks! : )

( i looked and looked and could not find that....now bookmarked.)


 7:30 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)


The fact is that AdWords ranks according to CPC*CTR (It's all about Results (TM))

If your self defined 'conversion' process is not resulting in a high CPC then you will not get ranked and you will not get any traffic/impressions.

Pay By Conversion is not going to let advertisers define themselves a way to lower CPC.

In fact it is likely that Google will continue to let people continue to bid with the old CPC method as well and if people go the conversion route and aren't paying enough per conversion that lets them compete with the people who are going straight CPC then they won't get ranked, period.

Nothing is changing here (in fact the old system will be retained) except that Google will have a more granular understanding of when and why keywords are valuable to advertisers and when and why they are not.

This will let them hunt down fraud that much more voraciously.

Personally, as Dhatz brilliantly said (it's like he's reading my mind! note, I am *not* posting under two different user acounts..) it all starts with Google getting rid of that freaking conversion image.


 7:54 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

I guess i missunderstand your proposal, but if it is going to pay by conversion, there won't be CPC right?


 9:01 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

pay per click(PPC) (what I have been calling CPC) and pay per aquitision(PPA) (what I have been calling pay by conversion) can (and should) co-exist.

Not everyone will have the technical expertise, resources, or desire to set up PPA, and therefore should be able to be allowed to continue doing PPC.

I think this is how most affiliate management programs work as well.


 9:15 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's none of Google's business what percentage of website visitors turn into customers. I don't want them knowing that or they might look for ways to raise my costs.

Besides, in my industries, the sales cycle is so long that precisely measuring conversion rate would be impractical. Someone might visit through an AdWord, and then come back next week just by typing in the URL. At best, they would call or e-mail us the first time they visit (the sites don't sell anything; they provide sales leads.)

I suspect this is true for a good fraction of AdWords advertisers.


 9:32 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Customer aquisition can be as simple as viewing more than 2 pages on your website.

Anyways, beren, you can stay with PPC.

However, if google could optimize on an exact keyword phrase basis against CPA I would be there so very very very fast.

For example, let's say I had a campaign with 1 broadmatch with a 10 cent PPC:

blue widgets

And then every time someone went to "high quality blue widgets" I aquired them as a customer 10% of the time.

If we had a PPA system, Google should see that I am aquiring "high quality blue widgets" keyword customers 10% of the time, and that I will pay google 5$ per customer aquisition and therefore, they should figure out that my respective PPC is 50 cents for "high quality blue widgets".

Over a couple weeks they should be able to go through ALL 300 phrases that broad match to "blue widgets" and assign a PPC for each phrase based on my PPA, get the CTR for each phrase, and then rank me accordingly.

And what did I do? I just typed in "blue widgets"

This is not engineering rocket science. Google is 9/10s of the way there.

It would be kinda cool if Google could dynamically add the high converting phrases automatically to my campaign as well so I can see what I am converting so well on.

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