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Bad Experience
adsense failure
ModocMark




msg:1400102
 7:49 am on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here is my problem with the AdSense program - I signed up at the end of October and made about $200 that month.

Then the second week of November I was making on average about $20 per day - all was well - in the account section it showed a payment being sent to me.

Then my traffic skyrocketted and I made over $100 in one day - after checking my server logs I received 32k hits from a single IP address; a cable modem user on Comcast. (I do not have comcast as a ISP and neither does any of my employees, there over 100 miles away)

Well, I received a 'nice' email from Google canceling my AdSence account. In an email back to them I informed them that I received some kind of DoS attack or something from a single IP on the comcast network. They did not care and simply stated that their system could detect false clicks and thus a violation of their terms and their decision was final.

The October check that had been processed, (where the clicks were legit) never arrived.

Now, here is my question to google, If their system is SO perfect at detecting FALSE clicks, then program the system to simply not pay for the false clicks.

Google has left a really bad taste in my mouth over this - As I host many websites for non-profit groups at no charge and was planning on recouping my costs by using the AdSense program.

-Mark Halverson

[edited by: engine at 8:53 am (utc) on Dec. 4, 2003]
[edit reason] No sigs, thanks. See TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]

 

irock




msg:1400103
 8:35 am on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

OMG, that's really bad... I'm also a adsense publisher. You have my full sympathy. Google really did kick you out w/o in-depth investigation?

In google defense, all Oct payment has been delayed due to taxation reasons and Thanksgiving holidays as well as Christmas mail.

What kind of site do you run... just out of curiosity...

getvisibleuk




msg:1400104
 4:12 pm on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)


I do respect google, think they've done a great job but they've become too successful that I believe their customer service, support guys etc have too much to do. An investigation would be needed to ban Madoc's site IMHO - but they probably have too many similar cases to look at :-( . I agree with Mark that pehaps they should be able to look more deeply at the nature of "clicks" rather than simplify the matter as it appears they have.

Just hope the Googleguys at the front line get more support so they have the ability to make more informed decisions.

Macro




msg:1400105
 5:07 pm on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's been a long time since I've seen a "I got the dreaded email" thread.

Modocmark, my sympathies. Is it at all possible that Google didn't like something else on your site and used the false click as an excuse to chuck you?

Oh, and welcome to WW.

Blue_Fin




msg:1400106
 6:44 pm on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Was the traffic from that IP address limited to just one day? How long after that day was your AdSense account cancelled?

As to October earnings, no one has received their checks yet. Google is late as the checks should have been mailed by 11/30.

401khelp




msg:1400107
 9:26 pm on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

I hate it when big companies try to screw over the little guy.

So do I, but gosh people, lighten up. No one has their October checks yet so it is a little premature to accuse Google of malfeasance.

korkus2000




msg:1400108
 9:31 pm on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld ModocMark,

One thing we should all remember is that the money for clicks is being paid for by advertisers and not Google. Google is trying to protect both entities here. I suggest that you try and work with them if possible. Someone on the other side is screaming at them for fruadulent clicks and threatening not to pay them. It is just something I think we as publishers lose sight of.

Unfortunetly it looks like they have made a decision and are not going to budge. It is a risk we all take using ad networks instead of getting those advertisers ourselves. I do feel your pain. Like I said the only thing you can really do is try and appeal to them. Anything else is not worth the money or the time.

Jenstar




msg:1400109
 9:43 pm on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

korkus2000 has got it right. It is the advertisers who are paying publishers, with Google acting as the middle person. And it is the advertisers that Google has to keep happy, or else they will take their money elsewhere.

Their TOS is pretty tight. You were only in the program for a week or two, and with that many fraudulent clicks to work through on one account, from a Google business point of view, I could see it being more worthwhile for them to drop an account, when the profit for them is only about $10 a day.

And you could still receive a check for October earnings, as the check is being sent at the beginning of this month. You can email them and ask if you can still expect this check from them.

And always remember, if you are wanting to get reinstated with Google, to be polite and courteous, offer to block the offending IP from your domains, and offer any stats that might help them with their investigation.

Brett_Tabke




msg:1400110
 9:43 pm on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ya, the main problem is we really don't know what they saw to make them think there was a problem. I doubt it was one simple instance.

as always, we stay away from offering legal advice here on such matters.

jomaxx




msg:1400111
 10:52 pm on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

At least it's not an anonymous complaint. Mark signed his name and (apparently) identified his site. Nonetheless Brett is right - we don't know the whole story and even Mark doesn't doesn't know what Google might have seen in its logs.

One observation: It's an unusual spider that would execute that Javascript code and click on the iframed ads.

lgn1




msg:1400112
 11:39 pm on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

I seem to get the impresssion, that newly created adsense accounts (less than a few months) gets the boot, if there are any irregularities. Well establish adsense accounts, seem to get the warning letter first.

Anybody notice this trend?

ogletree




msg:1400113
 11:51 pm on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

It does seem like you could take out a comptetiter if you wanted to. I wonder if this happens often.

tomkee




msg:1400114
 11:18 am on Dec 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Probably makes sense to notify Google if you have been DOS'ed and see sudden spikes. What?
Like Brett said, it is probably not an isolated incident. I have a feeling that their fraud detection is pretty sophisticated.

Monus




msg:1400115
 1:26 pm on Dec 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sorry that I say this, but I have some problems to believe this story (but maybe I am wrong).

when you earn $20 a day and it goes up to $100 a day, you know that there is happing something on the site what is not OK. A webmaster is going to look at their log file to see whats happing. 32k of hits from the same IP can be easly detected and it look for me very strange that google is going to approve and pay so many clicks from the same IP. In the most systems they approve not more than 3 clicks from the same IP. Why sall google approve 32k clicks from the same IP and give you $80 a day for the clicks from 1 IP.

richmondsteve




msg:1400116
 4:29 pm on Dec 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Monus, ModocMark didn't state that he should be payed for those clicks. I doubt many small publishers would be able to detect and react to such an attack in time.

And a large jump in clicks or earnings is probably reason to investigate, but it doesn't necessarilly mean something's wrong. Case in point - within the last 2 weeks a site of mine was listed on Fark, then discussed and linked to on several hundred message boards and blogs. AdSense impressions increased by a factor of 30 and clicks by a factor of 10 over roughly the following 2 days and we're talking 6 figure impressions and 4 figure clicks. No email from Google and I wasn't ever concerned since it was legitimate traffic.

Typical attacks against a site from a single IP are fairly straightforward to detect with an automated mechanism which checks logs for large number of visits to a site or specific page over a short period of time, then notifies you and/or takes action (triggers a firewall rule for example). But if somone wants to click-attack your AdSense ad blocks it won't necessarilly even be logged to your server. User visits site, clicks add 1,000 times - one page view logged to your server. Sure, the AdSense impressions and clicks will be logged in the AdSense reports hours later, but by then it's probably too late and you still have no visibility into the IP that was responsible. Food for thought.

loanuniverse




msg:1400117
 4:38 pm on Dec 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ya, the main problem is we really don't know what they saw to make them think there was a problem. I doubt it was one simple instance.

The poster is right. Some people assume that fraudbot only looks at the ip, but I am sure that it is more sophisticated than that.

The bottom line is: The relationship favors Google and the advertisers. A publisher that frequents webmaster boards is aware of this. It is up to you if you decide to keep the relationship going knowing this.

Is it fair? Probably not, but that is the way it is.

Chndru




msg:1400118
 5:01 pm on Dec 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

>The relationship favors Google and the advertisers.

Well. No advertisers ==> No Adsense. Not the other way around. There in lies your clue to the power-tussle.

Blue_Fin




msg:1400119
 5:38 pm on Dec 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

In nearly every business relationship, one party is favored to a greater extent than the other. The issue is finding a fair balance (not necessarily 50/50) which Google hasn't reached at this point.

I just wish ModocMark would come back and respond to the questions posed to him.

Monus




msg:1400120
 5:57 pm on Dec 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Typical attacks against a site from a single IP are fairly straightforward to detect with an automated mechanism which checks logs for large number of visits to a site or specific page over a short period of time, then notifies you and/or takes action (triggers a firewall rule for example). But if somone wants to click-attack your AdSense ad blocks it won't necessarilly even be logged to your server. User visits site, clicks add 1,000 times - one page view logged to your server. Sure, the AdSense impressions and clicks will be logged in the AdSense reports hours later, but by then it's probably too late and you still have no visibility into the IP that was responsible. Food for thought.

But that is not the case here!
32k on clicks to the site by one IP (logged), so not to the adsense link. 5x the amount of what he get before.

I don't believe that googles adsense algo is going to approve 1000 clicks from 1 IP, maybe 3, maybe 5, but no 100/1000 clicks. In that case google is not going to add the clicks in the online report under the 'Your earnings'.

Its for me a story that don't fit. Other problem is that on this way you can easly make a company looking bad without any proof. And a member with posts:1 can be to easly someone who is doing some sneaky (advertisement) tricks for to make google looking bad (easly done after california).

richmondsteve




msg:1400121
 6:24 pm on Dec 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Monus, the clicks weren't approved. That's why his account was cancelled. It appears as though you doubt the original poster because you speculate that such fraudulent clicks would never end up in the AdSense reports...and since he's only posted here once he may be lying. I prefer to give the poster the benefit of the doubt unless I have reason to do otherwise. And since I know other publishers who have experienced the same thing I have no reason to doubt him.

Your first post also indicated that you think a publisher should be constantly monitoring and analyzing his site's logs and taking action. I think that's a stretch. Most small publishers don't have the technical skills, tools or inclination to do so. Besides, a publisher has no way of knowing if excessive visits from a single IP resulted in even a single AdSense click and before a publisher could even infer that it did the publisher would have to wait for the AdSense report's delayed update by which point it would probably be too late to take action.

jomaxx




msg:1400122
 6:40 pm on Dec 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

In response to the previous 2 posts, some or all of the earnings WERE (initially) approved. ModocMark said his earnings jumped more than 5X. The prudent thing to do would be to investigate and to bring such an anomaly to Google's attention pre-emptively -- but I doubt many people who don't read these forums would think to do that.

Anyway, I do have some sympathy for this person's situation. There is really no way to exaggerate the number of badly behaving spiders out there. Every single day I get hit by multiple spiders from all over the world that completely ignore the robots.txt file. Just yesterday one from the Philippines downloaded 14,000 pages and performed 15,000 Perl script calls.

But as I said before, I rarely if ever see robots trying to execute Javascript. I'd be most interested in knowing the browser ID that the robot used.

Monus




msg:1400123
 7:35 pm on Dec 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

to: richmondsteve

it's what jomaxx says, the earnings WERE (initially) approved.

Blue_Fin




msg:1400124
 8:09 pm on Dec 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just because earnings are reported, that does not mean they are approved.

richmondsteve




msg:1400125
 8:26 pm on Dec 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Blue_Fin wrote:
Just because earnings are reported, that does not mean they are approved.

Blue_Fin, thanks for pointing that out. I took it foregranted that everyone realized that, but in light of the replies to my post I guess that distinction wasn't clear to everyone.

jomaxx




msg:1400126
 11:42 pm on Dec 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

What I was trying to clarify is that you and Monus were using "approved" to mean two different things. He was talking about an algorithm which may possibly exist to filter invalid clicks before they appear in online reports. You were talking about the earnings being approved for payment, which they obviously were not.

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