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Squatter Shutting Out Other Bidders
Adwords Squatter

 1:56 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have this squatter. He buys the entire ad block, so I'm getting just one ad shown at a time, he is there almost constantly, very rarely any other bidding getting any viewing, except the wee hours of the morning.

Now, I know, according to Adsense, this guy has outbid every other company normally bidding for that keyword. In this case, I think maybe he has targeted me specifically as well.

Here is my thought. I find him objectionable. He is the 180 flip of my idea of ecommerce the opposite of my motto. The site has practices I personally find questionable, though from what I can tell, not illegal or unethical, according to the majority.

His BBB... well, it is not great. Full of complaints (60 or 70 I think), mostly resolved, not necessarily to the buyers' satisfaction, in about half of the cases, from what I can tell. The BBB calls him 'satisfactory'. Basically all they have is satisfactory or unsatisfactory. So, it doesn't mean much to me.

I can squirm at the thought of him all night long, but truth is I have been making a bundle off him. If I am to base my decision to keep him, purely on logic, not emotion, here is my thought process.

If he has a reputation in the industry, or is getting a reputation in the industry, it might explain a reduction in my ctr and ecpm on his ads in recent days. They are not clicking. If they are not clicking because they have heard of him, perhaps seen his rap sheet in the ebay forums or the ripoffreport, then I am losing money AND tarnishing my own image.

Other bidders who are more appealing to my visitors, though likely much lower cpc, would be clicked more often. If I was back to my excellent ctr in that nitch, instead of what has become a dismal ctr where his ads are showing, I might have 100 x $0.20 clicks a day instead of 3 x $1.00 clicks. In the end, I make more.

But, I am assuming with that theory, that my visitors are savy enough in their industry to know this guy is marginal and worth avoiding just to save a big headache. Maybe they don't know of him. Maybe there is another reason my ctr has gone from high double digit to low single digit in the recent days. This... simply does not happen on my site. My ctr in that nitch is within 2% give or take, for two years. 20%+ reduction in ctr is troubling.

We are all in this for the money, and you know, I spent an entire night researching him, looking for any concrete reason to block his ad. Had I found even one, he would be gone, and I would not be posting here. So, I'm saying now, this is about the money. Just the money.

Does he stay, or does he go? Does somebody have a good financial reason I should keep him on? Should I give him another few days, a week or two, to see if his ads begin to perform again, or cut my losses and give him the boot now, and sleep better at night?

Adsense says do not block or you lose money, but in this case could not blocking be costing me a bundle? Might I test this? But, if he has targeted my site, I test it, find out I am wrong, and add him back, perhaps he will decide not to target my site, and I have made a bad call costing me hundreds of dollar a month.

Maybe it the lack of sleep due to worry, that has brought me here looking for a clear thinker. I'm divided on this decision.



 2:05 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Unless you are in a very, very small niche, it is most unlikely that his reputation is harming your CTR; but it is conceivable that having the same ads every time is affecting unique visitors - or a lack of variety between the ads.

Unless he's a direct rival, I'd try a little harder to keep it 'professional' - and check with adsesne how easy it is to unban him, if you try that approach.

If he's a big advertiser, he may not even realise he's banned, but losing him forever sounds a little too much of a risk.

Couldn't you use a new channel on half the site for a couple of weeks, and see what happens?


 2:31 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Last night, I actually did divide the entire nitch into two channels, just to see what might be going on. Today I see the block he is in, the ctr is dismal.

He is in the 300x250 block, and I have a 160x600 block. I seperated the two into different channels last night. We are talking about 30 pages here. So, in the past, I had both ad blocks in one channel. When I add a new nitch, I generally channel it heavily to watch it closely, then once I see where the performance is, I put the entire nitch into one channel and watch the nitch as a whole.

My unique visitors are very high in this nitch, the nitch is not overly 'sticky'. So, it is doubful the ctr slide is a result of visitors becoming immune to his ad. That was my first thought. Though I was fairly sure it could not be the case, I double checked. Uniques are in the 90% range. This is much too high to account for this recent problem.

[edited by: MsHuggys at 2:37 am (utc) on Mar. 9, 2007]


 2:39 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

There's no simple answer. Only you can decide whether your reputation and peace of mind are worth whatever you're earning from this advertiser's site-targeted ads. If I were losing sleep or getting stressed out because of the ads, I'd probably just block the domain and stop thinking about it.

Who knows--blocking the advertiser may not have that much impact on your earnings. You won't know unless you try.


 2:59 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Really, the reason I am struggling with this, is because I took such a heavy hit last year. Income was down over 60% after supplemental results pounded my traffic.

I have recovered two thirds of my losses and my traffic, and am beginning to feel like things are working well again. Blocking this guy, has the potential to reverse the gains I have seen in the last two and half months, after a year of steady decline.

I don't want to act hastily. If I block him, I want it to be for the right reason, increased profits... or at minimum, little or no reduction in profits.

I am wondering... if he has targeted me, and I block him, does he get a notice in his control panel that he can not target me? It might say "ads blocked" or "unable to serve ads" in his control panel. If he comes to my site, he will see that I still permit targeting, and he will know I have blocked just him. Has anyone had experience with this on the flip side, as a blocked advertiser? I have an adwords account, but have never been blocked by a site I targeted.


 9:03 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd block him. If your ads are well blended, people will think you are linking to this fellow.

A lot of people know _nothing_ about the internet, and click on anything, hoping they'll find what they want.

You are directing them to a resource you heartily diagree with.


 10:13 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

We are all in this for the money

Maybe, but not all of us see the money as the only objective.

If you find this guy so objectionable then block him. Principles can be expensive, but in the end only you can decide whether money is more important than your conscience.

You might lose out financially in the short term, but in the long term your reputation will be in better standing with your site's visitors and you may well attract better suited ads by blocking ads which are so against what you and your niche stands for. Is it not possible other advertisers are presently avoiding targeting your site because this guy's ad is there and they too object to it?


 10:37 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

One advertiser hogging an entire ad unit has ALWAYS dropped my CRT and with it that channel earnings, no matter how relevant or enticing the ad copy is. You might want to block him only on that premise with no guilt or worry.

One more thing: Something is very wrong when you have to decide all this for yourself, and we as publishers leave our content behind and obsess over which advertiser performs best, this was Google's promise, an algo that sorts out which ad is most likely to generate both you and Google the highest returns, and in this day after day Google is failing miserably, and we are forced to take matters in our very under informed hands.

[edited by: Hobbs at 10:48 am (utc) on Mar. 9, 2007]


 11:41 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

But, if he has targeted my site, I test it, find out I am wrong, and add him back, perhaps he will decide not to target my site, and I have made a bad call costing me hundreds of dollar a month.

This sounds like paranoia. If he's in it for money like you, what financial motive does he have to ban you? Listen, if I were advertising aggressively, I'd anticipate negative reactions, and not take them personally. Spite is not a common problem in Adsense/Adwords, because we don't know anyone, and most folks realize different things work for different people, so it's all about testing. But you can always hop over to the AdWords forum and ask them if they'd likely be offended.



 2:07 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you find yourself willing to try an experiment, consider this: block him starting at close-of-business Friday, unblock him 24 hours later on Saturday and see if you have a 24-hour period with a difference.

I don't know how reliable the delay is between turning on/off a block and it taking effect, so I don't know just how safe this is. But, barring long delays, he probably won't notice.


 3:35 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Why dont you contact this guy and do a private deal include a link in your ads to him as well as having adsense (with him blocked). That way you cant lose ;)

SureHits Jon

 3:43 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Couple of things on this.

First, I think that is a really tough decision given that it could impact you financially. Given that this is probably site targeted CPM, you could certainly lose out by blocking the business. But, in the end, like it or not, there is some implied endorsement by you for the ads on your site. Of course, we can't check on all of the potential advertisers that Google allows in AdSense, but if you know they are there and you disapprove, it mean you probably should act.

One other small nitpick, and I hope this isn't taken to be harsh. I always flinch a bit when I see new exaggerated terms attached to online marketing practices (example, "spyware" and "click fraud" are often used broadly to include many more innocuous practices). Whatever this business's reputation, I think "squatter" and "hogging" space are inappropriately harsh ways to describe what the advertiser is doing. We run some site-targeted CPM campaigns on AdSense and it is _very_ hard to get the right frequency on a given site. It's actually one of my biggest gripes about site targeting. I would love to be able to see better metrics of reach and frequency or % of available impressions, but it seems our ads are often dominating a site or don't show up at all. It will be better for everyone if Google can develop some of the same tools that other networks have where you can target specific frequency goals for a given audience.


 4:17 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

contact this guy

Read the AdSense TOS
He could get her banned for this.


 8:25 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

if most of your visitors find his ads not attractive ,system will find it in some days and will try other ads automatically.

Is not how adsense works?


 8:40 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)



 9:28 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Block him on alternate weeks. Gives your visitors a break; might drive him crazy; he may raise his bids.


 9:43 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm going to use a very generic example that I see on other sites, and this doesn't necessarily apply to AS (from what I can tell they aren't AS, unless they are getting some kind of special treatment from Google - I never bothered looking at the page source code).

I visit half a dozen sites daily, and two have ads for cheap or free PCs, laptops, iPods, etc. The ads themselves seem very scammy.

If I were running the site, I would block them. To me, they drag down the site.

The problem is, I'm not the typical visitor - I tend to notice advertising. I also don't know about the site stats. If a site is getting a lot of non-repeat traffic, it would be very hard for a webmaster to block ads that are doing well.

On the other hand, what if the ads are contributing to visitors not coming back?

I would find a friend who is internet-savvy but not a webmaster and ask them about the ads and the site that the ads go to - if their first response is that it makes you look bad, then block them.

People do associate the ads and the links from the ads with your site. If somebody clicks on an ad, and eventually gets ripped off, they are going to blame you, and maybe they won't talk bad about your site, but they aren't going to come back and they aren't going to send your link around.


 9:52 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

looking for any concrete reason to block his ad

You don't need a concrete reason. It's YOUR ad space. You can block whoever you want for whatever reasons you want.

You could undertake systematic testing to see how blocking that advertiser might affect your income, or you could simply listen to your instincts.

We are all in this for the money

That's only part of the game. Some things are worth more than money, so make your decisions in terms of how they'll affect the quality of your whole life, not just your wallet.


 10:03 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

People, the system does not work, again, we uninformed publishers are left to micro manage what that algo is supposed to be doing in the first place, I've had advertisers run down my EPC and earnings, and blocking them restoring things to normal, it's not supposed to work this way.


 11:50 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Your sense of what's right and what's wrong is telling you something. If it was about absolutly only the money, you wouldn't be bothered by his shady tactics and business. Taking it to the extreme, If it was about absolutly only the money, you would have no argument against drug money, or hate money, or other bad endeavors.

Listen to your conscience.


 6:39 pm on Mar 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

If he's filling up all your space you're probably not getting clicks just because people have already seen it before.

I recently blocked a batch of advertisers that showed up way too much, especially questionable advertisers like you mentioned, and my CTR improved immediately and is still holding.

Worse case you'll know if you shot yourself in the foot in 24 hours and you can undo the damage.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 6:39 pm (utc) on Mar. 10, 2007]


 1:09 am on Mar 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

Now, I know, according to Adsense, this guy has outbid every other company normally bidding for that keyword. In this case, I think maybe he has targeted me specifically as well.

Have you checked to see if it IS site-targeted? (advanced report, show data by ... individual ad, check box below that).

That'll show you what proportion of impressions (and income) are site targetted - if it is minimal, then much less risk from banning him.

Having said that, I generally ban ads from companies where I don't like their business practices (usually with other ad sources, I don't find Adsense too bad in my niches). I've never regretted it, there's always a better ad later.


 2:20 am on Mar 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

You don't need a concrete reason. It's YOUR ad space. You can block whoever you want for whatever reasons you want.

Agree... We are all the 'little Google' in term of attitude, and can do what ever we want to the advertisers in our little pool... :P


 2:32 am on Mar 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

It sounds like someone has targeted your site. I had this problem too. I contacted Google and had them turn "Site Targeting" off. They were very hesitant and warned that I would lose money. I told them I wanted to try it for a week and then we could look at the stats and decide if we should turn it back on.

After a week, my EPC was down about 50 cents, but my click through percentage went up by almost one full point.

I decided to leave "site targeting" off.

I hope this helps.


 2:00 pm on Mar 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

blocking this guy will only bring in lower bidders, I personally do not get caught up in which ads appear on my site as long as they pay well.


 6:03 pm on Mar 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

contact this guy

Read the AdSense TOS
He could get her banned for this.

Only if she's dumb enough to say "I want to talk to you about your AdSense ads on my site.". Saying "You sell X, and I publish information about X and would like to talk to you about advertising on my site." is (of course) completely allowed.

Documented bannings for talking to advertisers: STILL ZERO.

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