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Warning email from Google. Please help.
Adsense
SusanPilot

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 10:27 am on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

I received a warning email from Google. Apparently invalid clicks have been generated on the Google ads on my sites, and if it happens again, action may be taken against my account and payment may be withheld. I am now dreading an account termination email from Google.

I'm not a fly-by-night.

1.) I put Adsense on my two sites in May 2005. First month's revenue was close to $600.00. Revenue gradually increased over the following months. April 2007's revenue was $4000.00+.

2.) In total my two sites now contain more than 1100 articles. Well over 85% of the articles contain unique content, written either by myself or by freelance journalists. I have authored a number of nonfiction books and have put the same amount of effort into my sites than I would put into a book. Since English is not my second language every article is proofread (this includes a selection of reprinted articles). What I'm trying to say is that the sites do not contain junk.

3.) Most pages contain 1-2 Adsense units; very long articles contain 3. Only 33 pages contain Adsense for Search. No pages contain Adsense Links.

4.) I accidentally clicked on my ads on three occasions, after which I immediately notified Google. The last time this happened was about a year ago. Except for these three accidental clicks, to the best of my knowledge, I have always followed the Google TOS to the letter.

5.) Most of the pages contain pics that match the articles, but none of them are next to an Adsense unit.

6.) The traffic on my sites come from search engines (mostly Google) and the occasional site link.

7.) I use Google Adwords to sell a few products. The landing page is the home page of the one site, which does not contain Adsense. Adsense is only displayed on level 3 and level 4 pages of this site.

8.) Friends or family cannot "help me out" by clicking on the ads. Except for myself, only my husband and two webmasters know that I am involved in Adsense.

I am pulling my hair out, trying to think what I have done/am doing wrong. I could think of only one reason for the warning, i.e. a "click-happy" visitor on one of my sites. Yet, the page CTR on the day I received the email (and the days before) was consistent to the page CTR since 1 February 2007. Page CTR was higher in January 2007.

I requested my one webmaster to install Adlogger, to prevent people from clicking more than twice in a one-hour period. After uploading it on nearly half of the pages he realized that Adlogger does not record stats. According the messages on Adlogger support forum Adlogger no longer works.

What now? Is there an alternative for Adlogger? Am I missing something in terms of the Google TOS that I'm not aware of? (if so I have been missing it for 2 years). Do I write to Google? What steps can I take to protect my Adsense account?

Please help.

 

spiritualseo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 10:33 am on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Check your server logs to find the bots that visit your site. Try and block those bots.

iwannano1

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 10:43 am on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

First, temporarily disabled adsense though out site. Next use Server logs/stats to verify the same. Make sure you follows TOS.

sailorjwd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 10:52 am on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Welcome to webmaster world!

Consider a few things:

1) ask for any futher info they could give you

2) are any ads near navigation links?

3) Do you have channels on each page to maybe see if it is a particular page?

4) if you have ads in a spot normally used for navigation on websites then consider moving them a little.

5) keep a polite dialog going with google - it will show your concern and build a positive impression.

6) consider decreasing number of ads per page for a while

7) cross toes and fingers

I've always thought this invalid click thing is an absurd statement from Google unless you or 'friends' are clicking since we are pretty much at the mercy of our visitors.

Hobbs

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



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 11:50 am on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've always thought this invalid click thing is an absurd statement from Google

Totally second that, but we would complain too if there was no warning, and Google will never give you enough details..

Susan,
If all you are saying is true, you are a model publisher and should be featured in the AdSense blog success stories instead of those 4 link units and 4 ad units per page arb sites they are featuring.

Think positive, if they really thought you are a crook, you would have received a very different email, this is probably an automated message, be prepared but don't panic.

One more thing to add to the above, make sure you archive a copy of the daily stats for as long back as your can find, and for the coming days on your server to be able to offer Google access to them if this happens again.

cmendla

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 12:47 pm on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

SusanPilot

Is the topic of any of your sites controversial in any way? I'm always concerned that someone who doesn't like something I wrote and knows adsense will 'revenge click' just to be a creep.

Also, is there a possibility that someone copied your pages including the code? A previous poster mentioned that you should consider removing the ads. If you take the ads off and are still seeing impressions, that would indicate that your content and adsense code was copied somewhere.

Also, how large are the webmasters you are using? If they are large enough it is possible that someone else at their IP could be looking at your sites and clicking the ads.

It sounds like you are legitimate. It's frustrating to hear your story and then look at all the obvious garbage MFA/ARB/SCRAPED sites that are flourishing yet with adsense.

cg

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 1:46 pm on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

As I always say, get another pair of eyeballs (or four) on your site, to see if it's at all possible that they see something you're missing, somehow. You've got too much into it to let it go without a fuss.

farmboy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member farmboy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 2:06 pm on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is the topic of any of your sites controversial in any way? I'm always concerned that someone who doesn't like something I wrote and knows adsense will 'revenge click' just to be a creep.

I suppose the person doing the revenge clicking would have to know the clicking could possibly harm the publisher instead of helping the publisher.

But along that lines, as long as other factors are being considered, I suppose it could be someone who has had their content "borrowed" by one of the freelance writers and it's ended up in these 1100 articles.

Well over 85% of the articles contain unique content, written either by myself or by freelance journalists.

Could the source of the other 15% be causing the problem somehow?

FarmBoy

theBear

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 2:12 pm on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Susan,

I concur with netmeg have some fresh eyeballs look for spacing issue that could lead to inadvertent clicks.

Also inquire of Google about what they saw and offer to provide any server logs you have that might be of help.

You should also realize that the other possibility pointed out by cmendla. Things of that nature happen on a regular basis.

The other advice you have gotten is also good.

You mentioned an ad logger for AdSense could you explain exactly how that works and how long it has been running.

I have a couple of eyeballs however they "ain't" fresh, but with a sticky I'll take a look.

Hey saliorjwd, hope things are going well for you.

Now back into the cave I go.

sailorjwd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 2:47 pm on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

theBear,

Thanks. I'm back on my medication again after a spanking from the mods.

Susan,

Good luck!

There but by the grace of Google go I.

Green_Grass

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 2:58 pm on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Whenever I see a thread like this I get scared. The only reason / problem source I can think off is the QUALITY OF TRAFFIC.

There have been publishers banned / warned on account of poor non converting traffic. Too much repeat traffic that does not convert etc. Traffic from sites such as myspace? ( a G company) may be poor quality etc.

jetteroheller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jetteroheller us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 5:06 pm on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am pulling my hair out, trying to think what I have done/am doing wrong. I could think of only one reason for the warning, i.e. a "click-happy" visitor on one of my sites. Yet, the page CTR on the day I received the email (and the days before) was consistent to the page CTR since 1 February 2007. Page CTR was higher in January 2007.

I requested my one webmaster to install Adlogger, to prevent people from clicking more than twice in a one-hour period.

This creates an artificial looking statistic.

Imagine there is a staistic

Visitors clicking on ads
0 times 5000
1 times 500
2 times 100
3 times 50
5 times 30
6 times 20
7 times 15
8 times 10
9 times 5

Now You install this software to limit the clicks

Visitors clicking on ads
0 times 5000
1 times 500
2 times 100
3 times 0
5 times 0
6 times 0
7 times 0
8 times 0
9 times 0

Looks strange and artificial

ronin

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 5:57 pm on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

SusanPilot, I think you are worrying too much. The clicks are tracked by automatons. The quality of the clicks is assessed by automatons. The warning email is sent by an automaton. There isn't (or at least need not be) any human involvement in any of this.

In this case your account has been misidentified by automatons - you have come up as a false positive.

But you are a publisher with a record of good standing. What's to worry about? You think Google's systems will misidentify you twice? Why?

timwestla

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 6:05 pm on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

SusanPilot, I think you should send Google a reply that is exactly the same as your original post in this thread. You clearly described why you think their email is a mistake, and your explanation sounds very reasonable.

SusanPilot

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 7:17 pm on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thank you so much. You have all been helpful and kind.

Spiritualseo and Hobbs: I will forward your messages to my main webmaster.

Sailorjwd and timwestla: I am going to follow your advice, write to Google and kindly ask them to review my site for any violations. Basically they only need to review 6 "sample pages". All the other pages are structured in the same way as these "sample pages".

Cmendla: Yes, some of the articles on site 1 are controversial. Basically, I make a living (have done so for the past 19 years) from a product/service that solves a common problem, which is considered to be permanent condition. Besides articles, there are also 150+ success stories on site 1 from (ex)-customers. But still, it's controversial and the day before I received the email from Google I received a very nasty email from a visitor about my point of view. Before emailing Google I will remove Adsense from this site since only $210 of last month's income of $4000.00 came from this site. The rest was from site 2, which is not controversial. Rather lose $210 than everything!

Cmendla: My two webmasters will never do anything to get me into trouble.

Farmboy: The articles sent to me by freelance writers are checked for copyright violations before they get posted.

TheBear: I asked my main webmaster to add Addlogger only *after* I received the message from Google (this was on 6 June 2007). Unfortunately Addlogger is no longer working.

Green_Grass: As stated, the traffic on my sites comes from search engines (mostly Google) and the occasional site link. No myspace, trafficswarm, or anything like that. I have read that 5% is considered to be a good conversion rate. Mine is, on average, a bit higher.

If Google cannot help I will have the Adsense units removed and hire Netmeg's and theBear's eyeballs –- and also file DMCA complaints against all the sites that have copied my articles. A few of my articles have been copied many times, without permission. Before I joined Adsense I wasn't afraid to do something about it, but after joining Adsense I just let it go. I was afraid these site owners would get "click-happy" when confronted.

If all else fails and I get banned, then so be it. Adsense is not my life, but I love it anyway. I love writing and Adsense has made my life-long dream come true: at least I have an aircraft to show for all my hard work.

Will keep you posted,

SusanPilot
“I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things” -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

newsecular

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 8:17 pm on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Diversify diversify diversify.

Anyone who is getting more than 10-20-30% of their income from AdSense (or any other single source for that matter) is setting themselves up for trouble.

nomis5

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 9:14 pm on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Newsecular,

IMHO if anyone can get 80% of their website income from sources other than Adsense then they haven't explored Adsense enough. I've been round the block a couple of times with other sources of income (other than e-commerce) and I can't see where any substantial income could come from, in the proportions you recommend. Can you be more specific about how to diversify such that 80% comes from other sources. What are they, affiliate schemes, adbrite, amazon? Give us a few specifics.

Nomis5

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 9:26 pm on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Give us a few specifics.

But maybe in another post, so as not to derail this one.

Happy to loan you my eyeballs, SusanPilot, as long as I get them back in good condition...

theBear

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 10:23 pm on Jun 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

On June 8, 2007 Green_Grass intoned thusly:

" Whenever I see a thread like this I get scared. The only reason / problem source I can think off is the QUALITY OF TRAFFIC.

There have been publishers banned / warned on account of poor non converting traffic. Too much repeat traffic that does not convert etc. Traffic from sites such as myspace? ( a G company) may be poor quality etc."

To which I wish to point out that both sides of that equation are controlled by the fine folks at the 'plex

Google shouldn't be placing an off topic ad for the page on the page to start out with (This doesn't happen, does it?) . This is of course if the advertiser actually classifies their ad correctly.

Yup, plenty of room for mistookes all around ;-).

Green_Grass

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 4:40 am on Jun 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

the bear said

"To which I wish to point out that both sides of that equation are controlled by the fine folks at the 'plex "

Yes.. This is a big problem. The left hand / right hand syndrome is pervasive at G. Recently I am having major problems convincing adWords optimization team that their suggestions (to optimize ad text) go against the recent adSense landing page requirements and are misleading. I think it is the webmaster who has to strike a balance. The folks at G are focussed on their departments and their short term targets.

ann

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



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 7:23 am on Jun 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am starting to get a feeling that before too much time has elapsed the only 'good' traffic will be coming from Google. Thereby cutting out the others like Yahoo!, msn, etc.

Sure hope I am wrong but it looks like they may have a mad scientist running around the 'plex looking to dominate the virtual world. :)

Sorry to hear your troubles but your description of your site and goals was so eeriely like mine that I freaked out for awhile. Good luck when you email them.

Ann

Susan, I'm curious, How many sites do you have filtered?

ann

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



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 8:08 am on Jun 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Susan, (fresh back from reading on the adword side of things.)

You said you do some advertising. Does any of the links redirect? That has been against TOS forever. You might want to check that.

Ann

newsecular

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 8:51 am on Jun 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

You are right, nothing beats AdSense.
And that is what most of us do.
AND most of us are therefore setting ourselves up for trouble.
The sooner you realize this and start diversifying, the better off you are when the AdSense hit list hits you.

Google, that we taught was freedom will more and more start looking like a webmasters straitjacket.
The most evil in the world has always been done by people who have themselves proclaimed the best intentions.

Green_Grass

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 12:14 pm on Jun 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Green_Grass: As stated, the traffic on my sites comes from search engines (mostly Google) and the occasional site link. No myspace, trafficswarm, or anything like that. I have read that 5% is considered to be a good conversion rate. Mine is, on average, a bit higher. "

Here let me give you an example.

One of my sites has photos of a cute baby with a name similar to a well known celebrity in my country.

I get lot of traffic from G images for those photos.

Now, the site has got NOTHING to do with that celebrity.

When this kind of traffic starts clicking ads , I get WORRIED.

(Just an example, BTW I am still trying to find a correct way to handle this traffic )

newsecular

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 2:25 pm on Jun 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, everyone I know online has issues like that, all the time.
Traffic and ads that do not really match but do create AdSense clicks.

Keep in mind that Google may put the blame for this on you any time, withhold your money and kick you out of the program for good. It is a matter of how they are reading their own rules at any given point in time.

SusanPilot

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 6:57 pm on Jun 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ann,

> Susan, I'm curious, How many sites do you have filtered?

90

> You said you do some advertising. Does any of the links redirect?

No.

I know I'm doing nothing against the TOS, but anyway... The ads are now removed from the "controversial" site, and tomorrow I'll email Google. I started working early this morning and haven't had the time to write to them yet.

ann

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



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 9:38 pm on Jun 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

When I asked about the filter I had a thought running around in my head which made me immediately clean mine out.

Now they are 99% cleaned out. Seemed such a big deal was made about this by Google that there may be a causative factor in there somewhere.

Ann

Hobbs

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



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 9:44 pm on Jun 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi Ann,
is it related to this?
[webmasterworld.com...]

ann

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



 
Msg#: 3361951 posted 12:15 am on Jun 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi Hobbs,

It could be or not, just something that I am trying since my earnings are still going down.

We'll see, :)

Ann

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