| 10:10 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)|
|Hi all, I got this email from Google Adsense saying that they'd detected fraudulant clicks with my account and that they were investigating!, but in complete honesty it wasn't me! |
I've only had the ads on my site for a few days now + may have made 2 or 3 test clicks on the first day, but that was it.
This is the reason why I resisted the temptation to check the links in my site. I have clicked it in other sites, but not mine. I think they are really going to investigate. I know of one person that has been kicked out, but he was foolish enough to click his own ads 50 times in a 12 hour period.
|Do you think they're trying to get out of paying me? |
No I think they want to keep the quality of the network high. Hopefully, they will find nothing wrong and let you stay. I think it all comes down to percentages. Your 3 clicks mean nothing if you have received a couple of hundred or a couple of thousand. However, if you have received 10 clicks, then 30% is not real traffic.
| 10:23 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)|
If you have simply tested the link two or three times then you won't have a problem.
They need to be seen to investigate, it is a good thing.
You could either respond in mitigation or ride it out.
I'll order the 'papamaku is innocent T-shirts' you go on hunger strike and we'll get a lot more hits on to your site! :)
| 10:29 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)|
OK, how can Google tell if a click is fraudulant or not?
| 10:33 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)|
|OK, how can Google tell if a click is fraudulant or not? |
If they can detect a click by the site owner (presumably via cookies) then they should just ignore them rather than investigate.
Other than that; if you hit your own site from a different browser or disable cookies they can't tell you from Adam - unless they're going on the circumstantial evidence of the same IP address hitting your ads and having been in the AdSense admin interface.
Seems a bit strange.
(By the way i'm assuming that the AdSense code has access to *.google.com cookies, by which means they can link you to the Adsense admin interface)
[edited by: dmorison at 10:44 am (utc) on July 1, 2003]
| 10:37 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)|
Are you sure of the source of the initial email to you?
| 11:51 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)|
If the email is real, and you really have not been doing any fraudulant clicks then you have nothing to worry about. :)
papamaku: Send me a t-shirt just incase ;)
| 11:55 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)|
psss - I'm the agent for the T-shirts and hunger strike deal :)
| 12:39 pm on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)|
wow, cheers for the support guys - what a great marketing ploy it could be ;)
(peewhy - my t-shirt'll need to be XL :) + not sure how long i'll last on a hunger strike, but i'll try)
if anyone wants a copy of the original email to check authenticity, then sticky me ur email address.
i've only had the ads running on a small traffic site for 4 days and so far have had just over 1000 impressions and just over 150 clicks (including my 2 or 3 on the first day).
| 1:05 pm on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)|
>> just over 1000 impressions and just over 150 clicks (including my 2 or 3 on the first day).
Oof, thats like 15% CTR. Thats going to be a flag, I reckon. It's a bit high (though I'm not saying you don't deserve it). One thing I would check for, look at the ads you are showing, in the code of a served page.
View the source, and see if any of the outbound links contain a tracking stem (<a href="www.domain.com?track=foo">. That might indicate that one or more of the advertisers could have been in, doing some testing of their own, when they see this new stream of traffic. Add that to a few of your own, and you could have something that looks like fraud.
If someone out there is pulling the cheap CTR pump trick for instance, they may have chosen to do it through AdSense partners rather than Google directly, in the mistaken belief that it would help cover their tracks
| 1:20 pm on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)|
As an adwords advertiser there is no way i want adsense publishers doing check clicks. Hey some adword click costs are a few bucks or more.
As an adsense publisher i have instructed all staff and columnists to be careful never to touch them in a strongly worded memo. One click could pay for some guys lunch, but I think as an adsense publisher we should go to all lengths to prevent even one fraudulant click from not only our own staff and part time/casual writers/tech people but also our readership.
Its good being on both sides of the fence. You can see the argments from both sides!
I would guess that's why your account was flagged, not your test clicks. If you can advise us all how to get 15% CTR on anything we are all ears!
| 1:27 pm on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)|
Keep us up to date with the outcome, this will be worth following.
I'll order two XXL, I need one too:)
Maybe the hunger strike is a bit extreme, what about being a human shield at a beer festival?
| 1:31 pm on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)|
That is probably the reason. CTR is relative to the number of pageviews not visitors. If you assume that each visitor sees two google ads, then 30% of your visitors is clicking on the ads.
Make my tshirt an XL
| 2:13 pm on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)|
|As an adwords advertiser there is no way i want adsense publishers doing check clicks. Hey some adword click costs are a few bucks or more. |
I'm with you. I don't click any of the AdSense ads on my site, because it seems grossly unfair for an advertiser to subsidize my testing. If I want to see who an advertiser is, I just move my mouse over the link and view the URL without clicking.
It might not hurt for Google to mention a prohibition against "test clicks" in its FAQ.
| 2:15 pm on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)|
The site in question is a travel guide site about a small island, so there's not that many relevant keywords associated with it apart from its name, which might explain the CTR. (+ it's just a couple of asp templates with content for about 50 pages coming from a db, so the ads show on all pages)
But it'll depend on how google determines which keyword to asssociate with each site - does it do a scan of content on the page, or does an actual person assign terms to each site?
So it's XLs all round - maybe there's some correlation between web masters and waist sizes!
| 2:17 pm on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)|
It's very logical and you are right, there is no real need to click, unless you want to test the link works as opposed to its route, where a mouseover is perfect.
I have a problem with Google publishing a prohibition...what about all these Papamaku is Innocent T- shirts I ordered ? ;)
| 2:34 pm on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)|
|Other than that; if you hit your own site from a different browser or disable cookies they can't tell you from Adam |
...leave me out of it!
Seriously though, I think it makes perfect sense to vet the ads that are displayed on your site, and the logical way to do that is obviously to click on them.
There may well be some ads that you don't want displayed, for whatever reason, but how will you know to exclude them without checking them out first!?
| 3:18 pm on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)|
>>how will you know to exclude them without checking them out first!?<<
you mean you click on every new ad you see on your site? I'm sure glad my ad words dont appear on your site. I don't pay for every little adsense publisher to review my site!
If you want to vet them, mouse over the link or type in the URL in your browser from the url adwords gives plain as day in each ad.
I may also ad that if you spent all day clicking on ads, you wont see them all, as they are geotargeted.. people in another country may well see different ads than you, so its a waste of time. so PLEASE stop clicking on those ads and running up advertisers bills. They may well turn off their "content sites" boxes if everybody does what you are doing.
It would be a good thing for google to add this to the TOS from where i stand as both an adsense publisher and adwords advertiser.
| 3:52 pm on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)|
I take your point on the geo-targetting issue, and I am not suggesting spending all day excessively clicking ads.
However, I believe in many cases it is important not to display certain ads.
Furthermore, the mouseover often will display a different URL to the true one, so I don't consider your suggested method to be effective.
In fact, what would be particularly useful, would be for Google to provide a list at the end of each month or quarter that lists all advertisers that have appeared (globally) on your websites adsense listings.
This would satisfy both the webmaster and advertiser fearful of webmasters testing their ads.
| 3:55 pm on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)|
adam c, yes the actual url can be different but the site must be the same so you can get an idea of the quality of the site and it's approach from visiting the home page. I dont think that's an excuse for hijacking advertisers investment.
>>would be particularly useful, would be for Google to provide a list at the end of each month or quarter that lists all advertisers that have appeared (globally) on your websites adsense listings. <<
i doubt google would do it, its more admin load which would decrease adsense commissions and increase adwords costs, but more importantly that's fairly valuable market intelligence that they may not see sensible to divulge. I guess you could just go to all those sites systematically and negotiate a direct contract!
The key thing about the system is that Adwords advertisers TRUST google to put their ads on relevant pages, and Adsense publishers TRUST google to serve them relevant ads. google and advertisers also trust publishers not to create articifcial clicks that have no hope at all of being converted. I think that trust, both ways, must be there for each party to enter in a contract with each other.
| 7:31 pm on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)|
I hate to be a pessimist, and I'll have no part of fraudulant clicks, but I don't see how Google can keep fraud from wrecking this fine program.
I'm not only concerned about the crooks who would click on their own ads, but about the crooks who would try to cause a world of hurt for their competitors by repeatidly clicking on their ads just to get them in trouble.
I can see a competitor running a search on their own keywords in Google, going through the serps above them, and clicking on every Adsense ad they see hoping to get their high-ranking competitors in trouble and banned from Google. And I'm sure competitors can get a lot more creative than this simple illustration.
| 7:38 pm on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)|
I have to completely agree with chiyo.
Why dont you pay me 50 cents and ill do a 1 minute view of your website and then leave.
| 8:04 pm on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)|
|Furthermore, the mouseover often will display a different URL to the true one, so I don't consider your suggested method to be effective |
How about right-click > properties?
Can't get anymore effective than that.
Just look for the click-thru URL in the google link.
If you give a shift about what ads are on your site, the right click > properties beats getting kicked out of the program for fraud.
| 8:30 pm on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)|
If I were Google and an ad got clicks from the same IP address more than say, 4 - 6 times in an hour then I would discount the clicks as being from a legitimate source.
If the same IP address persisted I'd just ignore all clicks from that IP. After all, why lose out on other legitimate click revenues from the same site when they don't really have to.
I wouldnt need to investigate it, why waste my time and resources? My automated script that counted the number of times the same IP address or cookie had accessed the ads, might even send out a warning email advising that I had reason to belive that some untoward behaviour was at hand.
The thought of someone clicking away on adsense ads just to earn themselves $5 per hour would make me chuckle - especially if they weren't getting paid.
Besides, as pointed out by an earlier poster, what better way to get a competitor into bother, go to competitors website click to the power of 50 and hey presto red flag!
There are some pretty smart cookies over at the plex, I think they'd have thought this one through.
As for the email papamaku, perhaps they just randomly sample what appear to be overt abuses and fire off the odd email. If the high level of clicks suddenly desist, then it may well be a useful indicator...
Not suggesting that this is the case with you of course.
| 8:37 pm on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)|
Out of respect to my advertisers and my long term bottom line, I also don't click on their ads either. I clicked once, just to see how much it paid as it was the first click after I signed up for AdSense, and was rather "shocked" at how much it cost the advertiser. Since it's unethical to run up an advertisers bill and because I really like Google AdSense and don't want to be booted from their program, I keep my mouse well away from their ads.
I can always check out the quality of the site the ads link to be just typing in the url instead.
| 8:42 pm on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)|
Do you webmasters running AdSense do anything to suppress the AdSense block for your own page views?
You could use a private cookie or some other mechanism...
(speaking as an Adwords advertiser, and not quite sure how Google are factoring in the CTR via AdSense as opposed to standard SERP impressions)
| 9:45 pm on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)|
>>> If the same IP address persisted I'd just ignore all clicks from that IP. After all, why lose out on other legitimate click revenues from the same site when they don't really have to.
Yeah- do that to all the people behind a single AOL proxy IP...
I am an adsense publisher.... and run adwords. I understand BOTH sides of the arguement. I do not click pon ads on my site, nor my ads on other sites.
But the other day I saw an ad run on my site that really intriged me... it worked, I guess. I did click on that. Yes, it was on my site, but I feel like IU had become a "surfer" at that point, because it did sell itself so well. And is was a great site!
| 9:53 pm on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)|
I would like to see Google place a cookie on my computer that would not only ignore clicks through my sites (thus allowing test clicks) but also not count impressions on my sites when viewed from my computer. Being live 24/7 with a cable modem, I'm adding impressions everytime I view a page-in-progress with my html editor's browser.
| 10:15 pm on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)|
That's a good idea NorthernStudio. I avoid looking at my pages so that I do not effect my impressions.
peewhy: Mines is a L. Can we also have "Go to [our-website.com...] and click on the ads!" on the back? ;)
[edited by: ewanfisher at 11:31 pm (utc) on July 2, 2003]
| 10:32 pm on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)|
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