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Who's clicking twice in 10 seconds
Hissingsid




msg:1150839
 8:20 am on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I've just subscribed to "Who's clicking Who" in order to satisfy myself that we are not being ripped off on Adwords (and Yahoo ads for that matter).

I've been paying particular attention to the reports (new toy ;) ) and notice that occassionally I'm seeing a double entry within 10 seconds of each other.

Has anyone here noticed this and investigated and found an answer to where the problem lies?

I guess that I have three hypotheses for this:

1. It may be a problem with "Who's clicking Who"

2. It may be a problem with Adwords but I'm not being charged for it.

2. It may be a problem with Adwords but I am being charged double for a single visit.

Any help or advice would be very appreciated.

Reagrds

Sid

 

bostonseo




msg:1150840
 1:02 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sid,

I believe it's competitor click fraud. I've asked my account manager to explain how they detect authentic double clicks in a short span of time from competitors just clicking on my ads - not surprisingly, I've not heard back from Google on this question.

Click fraud on Google is on the rise - don't think for a second it is not. When CPC prices continue to rise dramatically, some advertisers resort to unethical tactics. People are clicking on your ads to try and 'run you out of town - run you out of Adwords'.

I have exactly the same ad positions I had 6 months ago, but not I have about 50% less conversion. What would account for that? Click fraud. Not 100% of it, but I'd say the majority of the decline. My product/offering is FREE - there is really no other explanation for my conversion decline.

jimbeetle




msg:1150841
 1:20 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think that unless you really have enough volume to discern recurring patterns it would be difficult to pin down.

I know from my own user behaviour when I shop Adwords I sometimes inadvertently reclick an ad I had just visited. I don't know how G handles this, but I can't be the only one who occasionally does it.

bostonseo




msg:1150842
 1:35 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

It just seems kind of 'cheap' to charge for 2 clicks in say the same minute. It's like going to a decent restaurant that doesn't offer free refills on say soda.

When I am paying $6 per click and I see someone click 2 times in 1 minute and then again once an hour later - well let's just say I am not happy. AND not unconvinced it's not competitor click fraud.

poster_boy




msg:1150843
 4:50 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

AND not unconvinced it's not competitor click fraud.

...trying to wrap my head around this triple negative. ;)

bostonseo




msg:1150844
 5:07 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

poster_boy,

I've found you have to be creative with your language on this board lately or you risk getting deleted :)

Hissingsid




msg:1150845
 5:20 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I wrote and asked them giving a specific example naively thinking they might just take a look and see if they had charged me twice. I just got a boiler plate reply giving all sorts of possible answers to questions I hadn't asked.

I think that Google and others need to be forced to clean up their act. They need to say in what circumstances they do charge for multiple clicks and when they let you have the repeats at no cost.

If they don't sort it out I'm convinced that different countries will come up with their own laws to force them to do the right thing. In fact I may see if existing trading laws here in the UK could be used against them.

Thanks for the replies.

Best wishes

Sid

bostonseo




msg:1150846
 5:24 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think a lot of their business practices will continue to be challenged in the Court System. My guess is that Google hires as many lawyers in 2006-2007 as they do engineers.

vikingpwr




msg:1150847
 7:07 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

There are numerous reason why your system may log multiple click events from the same keyword placement and surfer within a short time period.
- competitor click fraud
- stupid web surfer double clicking
- stupid web surfer hitting back button and click on ad again
- stupid web surfer wanting to see your ad copy again, etc...

Why and How this happens is of less concern to me compared to what Google does about it when it does happen. Unfortunately there is no policy relating when/what criteria Google uses to filter our bad/duplicate clicks. Why? I guess they (rightfully so) are concerned that people would use this information to cheat even more.

The problem is that Google takes a very reactive approach to crediting Adv. It requires you to send them your logfiles showing these cases. Basically it is a manuall headache.

So, the only thing you can do is contact your rep each time, state your case, and hope to get money back.

doctor gerlis




msg:1150848
 7:21 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have found that Who's Clicking Who has been fantastic - we found within the first few days that people were clicking 11 times in one hour-mainly our competitors. This has now stopped. I was even able to drag an apology from one competitor who works 2 doors away from us and we caught him red handed. He was amazed at our ability to spot this.

However there are a lot of people who will click 4 times in 5 minutes who are not click fraudsters-just indecisive people who are looking around websites and reclick to check information. This is annoying but probably there is not much we can doabout this. The main thing is to stop the systematic fraud-and it really does.

bostonseo




msg:1150849
 8:45 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

My problem with all of this competitor click fraud is that 3 clicks in day at my average CPC of $6 adds up. And
there might be days when it's 2 competitors clicking a couple of times of my ads. I know it happens! But most of the time unless you can prove to Google that someone from the same IP address clicked on your ad 10+ times in a day, Google doesn't see it as click fraud. Click fraud can be 1 click - it doesn't have to be a lot of clicks.

Google isn't doing anything about small time competitor click fraud - and if they are they aren't telling advertisers about it. Like I said, I emailed my account manager last week about what their competitor click fraud policy is - and no response yet. Not hopeful that there will be one either.

Hissingsid




msg:1150850
 9:09 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

FWIW IMHO click fraud is quite simply theft.

The question is who is responsible for the theft Google or the clicker?

Best wishes

Sid

bostonseo




msg:1150851
 9:29 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

"The question is who is responsible for the theft Google or the clicker?"

If nothing else, Google is an accomplice to click fraud.

victor




msg:1150852
 7:36 am on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Click fraud can be 1 click

When I click on my browser to request a new webpage, I am implicitly asking for a page whose links I am permitted to click.

If you feed me a link that it is illegal for me to click, then, at the very least, you are culpable for entrapment if I click it.

If you don't want me to click a link, don't feed it to me.

If that is not possible, ensure the "conditionally clickable links" are clearly marked in that way, and there are clear enough Terms and Conditions displayed besides them so I can make an accurate decision.

I appreciate that last point may run counter to Google's TOS that say do not draw attention to ad links.

But if you feed them to me, and you do not draw attention to them, and I click on them: how could that be fraudulent on my part?

vincevincevince




msg:1150853
 8:34 am on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

FWIW IMHO click fraud is quite simply theft.

Clicking Adsense advertisements repeatedly on your own website may be considered theft. If it's not theft, it's certainly fraud.

Clicking Adsense advertisements repeatedly on an unconnected person's site is not theft, nor is is fraud. It may be irresponsible because of the risk to the Adsense account, but there is no crime being committed by the clicker.

Clicking Adwords on Google's own pages repeatedly is even less of a crime. If an advertiser does not want his ads clicked then there is a simple solution; deactivate them. It is absolutely certain that there is no crime, be it fraud or theft, involved in clicking an advertiser's adverts, even if they are a competitor. There is no request not to click on a competitor's ads, and the ads are publically placed as a clear invitation to click.

That's why the clicks are called invalid, not illegal. If anyone can be held legally responsible it is Google, purely because the clicker has not committed any offense.

On a related note, I only eat the meat at an 'eat-all-you-like' buffet, and I make sure that I've eaten more meat than the buffet fee allow me to buy raw.

doctor gerlis




msg:1150854
 9:02 am on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Could there be a civil litigation case against a competitor who deliberately runs up click costs? I feel sure you could sue a competitor who did this.

SEOPTI




msg:1150855
 11:22 am on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Maybe AdsenseAdvistor, I don't know his correct name will be able to commen on this.

vincevincevince




msg:1150856
 11:25 am on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

civil litigation case against a competitor who deliberately runs up click costs

I really hope not. Not because I am involved in clicking competitors, I'm not. But because otherwise everyone who costs any company anything is going to have to worry about litigation. So far as I know it's not a crime for a business to lose money in its dealings with you - profitability is not a right!

doctor gerlis




msg:1150857
 11:47 am on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

But 10 clicks in one hour from a competitor who knows your website and has no need to look at it IS willful and deliberate premeditated damage to our business, just as throwing a brick through window would be criminal damage. It costs me money to fix the window, and they have caused the damage.

vincevincevince




msg:1150858
 11:59 am on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

IS willful and deliberate premeditated damage to our business, just as throwing a brick through window would be criminal damage

A window is not intended for bricking, nor is it accepted or legal practice to brick a window. A linked advertisment is intended for clicking, and it is accepted and legal pracice to do so.

A better comparison would be withdrawing money at the bank just to deposit it again five minutes later, and repeating it all day. It's perfectly legal, but it upsets the bank, and it costs them money.

arran




msg:1150859
 12:23 pm on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I see no problem with one user clicking twice on an advert - it seems entirely natural. For example:

- user searches
- user clicks your ad
- user clicks back to original search results
- user visits clicks on another advert or organic listing
- user decides the original site was better, clicks back and reclicks your ad.

The real issue is - are we being charged for the second click? I assumed google had filtering in place to stop double charging. Am I wrong?

arran.

mike_ppc




msg:1150860
 12:31 pm on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

That is the point. And Google NEVER revealed what is its exact policy in this matter - feeding all these discussions, when the truth is out there...

doctor gerlis




msg:1150861
 12:33 pm on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

"A better comparison would be withdrawing money at the bank just to deposit it again five minutes later, and repeating it all day. It's perfectly legal, but it upsets the bank, and it costs them money. "

It depends on the intent; if my competitor's intent is to cost me money and use up my budget, then I have a civil case against them.

bostonseo




msg:1150862
 12:58 pm on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

"It depends on the intent; if my competitor's intent is to cost me money and use up my budget, then I have a civil case against them."

Exactly - it's all about intent...which of course if tough to prove. My point is, what (if anything) is Google doing about it? I don't think they are doing anything about potential competitor click fraud - again down to the lowest level of 1 click.

gregbo




msg:1150863
 8:30 pm on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google isn't doing anything about small time competitor click fraud - and if they are they aren't telling advertisers about it.

Perhaps this is because they can't do anything about it without throwing away legitimate (repeated) clicks (ie. money). Click fraud can be easily made to look like ordinary surfing.

Perhaps you should switch to fixed fees. :)

gregbo




msg:1150864
 8:49 pm on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Clicking Adsense advertisements repeatedly on an unconnected person's site is not theft, nor is is fraud. It may be irresponsible because of the risk to the Adsense account, but there is no crime being committed by the clicker.

I'm not so sure it's even irresponsible. You can't assume the clicker is aware of AdSense policies, or even that s/he is clicking on an ad. I've certainly read a lot on WW about how publishers are designing their sites so the ads are in places where people are more likely to click, and I've heard from many sources that a large % of people who use the web are not aware that they're clicking on ads. So repeat clicks can be perfectly valid behavior in many circumstances.

Now whether G should have a policy about how many clicks per unit time are charged is debatable. While it would probably reduce click fraud, it would also decrease their revenue.

This is why I'm an advocate of fixed fees, because they make things simpler for everyone. No vast infrastructure needed for tracking repeat clicks; no incentive to commit click fraud; no quibbling about what is "real" and what isn't.

gregbo




msg:1150865
 8:58 pm on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Exactly - it's all about intent...which of course if tough to prove. My point is, what (if anything) is Google doing about it? I don't think they are doing anything about potential competitor click fraud - again down to the lowest level of 1 click.

How would you prove competitor click fraud at the level of 1 click? (Especially if the click was made off the competitor's premises.)

gregbo




msg:1150866
 9:06 pm on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just one more point ... multiple clicks in a short time span, even less than a minute, as seen by your web servers may not be seen in that timespan by G's servers. So even if they have some multiple click discarding policy, it may not kick in all the time.

arran




msg:1150867
 11:16 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just thought i'd post to stop gregbo from getting 5 in a row ;)

arran.

OrangeLion




msg:1150868
 11:33 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Arran: "The real issue is - are we being charged for the second click? I assumed google had filtering in place to stop double charging. Am I wrong?"

We occasionaly see CTRs of 200% i.e. 2 clicks, 1 impression, in some AdGroups. Our AdWords account manager has verified that this may be due to people clicking back and again on the ad, they say this "behaviour represents valid user behaviour" and hence the clicks are not refundable.

It is hard to swallow when we have proof via AdWords own reporting, that there are blatant multiple clicks from one user and nowt we can do!

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