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AdSense clicks not reported
Is Google deliberately not reporting clicks?
domramsey

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3274220 posted 5:46 pm on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

A little background:

I run a fairly popular blog, which earlier this week got featured on BoingBoing, and consequently got linked to by about 100 new blogs. The result was a large (10 fold) increase in traffic.

On the site, I also run MyBlogLog, which provides stats - both of impressions and click-outs, including AdSense.

MyBlogLog stats showed the increase in traffic, with a corresponding increase in clicks. However, AdSense stats showed the increased traffic, but with clicks-throughs at roughly the same numbers as they always have been and no increase in earnings at all. i.e. AdSense stats are only showing about one tenth of the ad clicks.

MyBlogLog may not be reporting entirely accurately too, but I'm much more inclined to believe their stats as the CTR for the 'spike days' is consistent with an average day.

Now, I can understand Google may have some kind of automated fraud-detection system, which may not work well with sudden spikes in traffic, but (assuming MyBlogLog stats are correct), they've only actually reported 10% of my clicks. And surely if they suspect fraud, the first thing they should do is contact me (or at least do a quick manual investigation of the traffic which would reveal it was perfectly legitimate.)

I have, of course, contacted Google, but I'm yet to receive any response.

So my questions are:

1. Has anyone else experienced anything similar and are there any other explanations as to why clicks may not have been reported?
2. Is Google ripping me off? (Not an accusation, just a question)
3. Aside from trying to contact a real human at Google, what else can I do?

 

BigDave

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3274220 posted 6:30 pm on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've long suspected that google's fraud detection can hold clicks for several days. The more suspicious the activity, the more of your clicks go into the basket. Periodically they go through and flush out the click that are left in limbo, those are the days when you get an unexpected boost in clicks.

Even with regular traffic, I've noticed this cycle. A sudden jump to 10x traffic is certain to cause them to consider your clicks more carefully. I'd give them about a week to come through before I get too concerned.

You should also remember that traffic from sites like boinbboing and digg are notorious for having low CTR on ads.

domramsey

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3274220 posted 7:34 pm on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well I just received a terse reply from Google, basically having a go at me for using MyBlogLog (something thousands of other AdSense publishers use) - while not specificially accusing me of breaking their terms, the mail is pretty much along the lines of "Stop using it".

And there was absolutely *no* mention of where my clicks have gone. Nothing.

So, for answering a valid - and polite - question, Google's response is to try to make me feel guilty and avoid the issue entirely.

fungrrl81

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3274220 posted 12:04 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

hey---

I have been so FRUSTRATED by this exact same situation. I've gone through this several times. Yesterday, I had my 4th largest day (had my blog up for just over 2 months) with near 3,000 page views. MyBlogLog showed 60 clicks. Adsense credited me with....2.

I actually contacted adsense about it before and didn't hear back anything against mybloglog. they acted like it was no big deal.

I don't understand this. It's like they are punishing you for getting lots of traffic. It makes me just want to give up....i mean, its not exactly motivating...

I understand social networking sites have lower clickthough, but how can mybloglog show over 30x as many clicks!

i'm losing my mind here....!

[edited by: jatar_k at 12:30 pm (utc) on Mar. 20, 2007]
[edit reason] no urls thanks [/edit]

fungrrl81

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3274220 posted 12:06 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

domramsey---

did you end up getting more clicks credited? if so...when?

domramsey

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3274220 posted 12:47 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

did you end up getting more clicks credited? if so...when?

No, nothing.

I managed to get the problem escalated, but the final reply from Google (5 days ago) basically just said "sorry, there's nothing we can do". No attempt at an explanation and no advice.

Google appear to have stopped replying to my mails altogether now too.

And while I'm sorry to hear you've experienced the same thing, I'm glad to know it's not just me!

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3274220 posted 1:07 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

And surely if they suspect fraud, the first thing they should do is contact me

Clicks can be invalid (and therefore not counted or billed to the advertiser) for reasons other than fraud.

domramsey

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3274220 posted 1:30 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Clicks can be invalid (and therefore not counted or billed to the advertiser) for reasons other than fraud.

Read what was written, then give me an example of how these clicks from a genuine increase in traffic are likely to be invalid.

Then tell me why Google reported no invalid clicks during their "investigation" and claim to have found nothiing wrong with their stats.

I am absolutely 100% convinced there are valid clicks that have not been reported by AdSense.

Remember, we're not dealing with small numbers here - we're dealing with click through rates that are 10 to 30 times lower to what we have seen while Google claim there is no problem with their stats.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3274220 posted 1:49 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Read what was written, then give me an example of how these clicks from a genuine increase in traffic are likely to be invalid.

I did read what you wrote. Now it's your turn to read what BigDave said. :-)

TheSkepticGuy

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3274220 posted 1:59 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I suspect that any code appended to the URL in the Google ad would have the potential to screw-up reporting and results.

You should try removing the tracking for a week and see if your revenue improves.

We've seen 5x increases in traffic due to some of our popular topics being covered on popular radio shows, with an appropriate corresponding increase in ad clicks and revenue without any issues at all.

domramsey

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3274220 posted 2:01 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I did read what you wrote. Now it's your turn to read what BigDave said. :-)

I did.

1. Google reported no fraudlent activity
2. The traffic came from a variety of sources, including around 300 blogs which linked to the page in question.
3. According to Google, out of around 10,000 new visitors, not one of them clicked a Google ad on a site which previously had a CTR of 3-4%.
4. MyBlogLog reported Google ads *were* clicked, and these clicks increased in line with impressions.
5. My own stats show other ads on the site were clicked and these clicks also increased in line with impressions.

domramsey

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3274220 posted 2:04 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I suspect that any code appended to the URL in the Google ad would have the potential to screw-up reporting and results.
You should try removing the tracking for a week and see if your revenue improves.

We've seen 5x increases in traffic due to some of our popular topics being covered on popular radio shows, with an appropriate corresponding increase in ad clicks and revenue without any issues at all.

I suspected there was a possibility MyBlogLog was somehow interfering with AdSense, so I removed the tracking code for a few days. Google reported no noticeable difference with or without the MyBlogLog code.

Adding MyBlogLog back, it continued to report significantly higher clicks than AdSense.

Matt Probert

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3274220 posted 2:41 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

And here's the great rub. You, the small publisher have no way of acquiring independant auditing of Google's sales of advertising through your site - something which in other lines of business is perfectly normal practice. This means Google could potentially rip you off to their heart's content, if they so wished.

Matt

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