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Same Spammy Ad Text - Many URLs
Anyone else having this problem?
Jane_Doe




msg:3797716
 8:19 pm on Dec 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I usually don't spend a lot of time filtering ads, but today one on my sites had an unusually low click through rate. I checked it out and and there is one ad pretty spammy ad taking up many of the ad spots. Even though it is the same ad text, they are using many different URLs.

Is anyone else having this problem? The topic really isn't even related to my site very much.

 

jkovar




msg:3799477
 9:28 pm on Dec 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

A few scenarios where this would make sense to do come to mind.

1.) A competitor is looking to brake you by bidding on all of your ad slots (via placements) with multiple accounts using common spam so not to draw attention to who they actually are as well as using something completely off topic to lower your CTR.

2.) Some new overseas marketing firm is selling traffic and you just happen to be an innocent bystander.

3.) A site flipper is trying to artificially inflate the stats of a scam weight loss site they're planning to flip.

In the last two scenarios, they wouldn't care about the price of the ads if they were using stolen credit cards to setup multiple accounts. This could make sense with the ever-changing list of domains they're using.

I think you can get away with using junk ad text if the landing pages are rich in relevant content.

jimbeetle




msg:3799491
 9:55 pm on Dec 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

And no, I don't think all ads for Content get reviewed by humans first; that wouldn't scale.

But even a machine review should be able to catch mis-matching URLs. But, it does look like they've changed the review policy [adwords.google.com] somewhat:

Your ad will not show on sites and products in the content and search networks until it has been reviewed and approved according to our advertising policies. Therefore, image ads, video ads, and other multimedia ads won't begin running until after review and approval.

If I remember correctly, when G just served text ads, *all* ads had to be reviewed.

Guess you're right, it got so big it couldn't scale.

maximillianos




msg:3799498
 10:07 pm on Dec 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

So I ask again - what's the downside in having Placement Targeting turned off?

I was told that essentially I would be missing out on potential revenue if an advertiser tried to target my site in the future.

From my historical reports, I could see I was not missing out on much... =)

The report/stats can also be misleading since they are based on "individual ad" statistics. What may seem like a small number of ads, actually can be showing on nearly every impression. For instance if your reports show you are only serving up 20% of your ads to site targeted advertisers, but you use a skyscraper that shows 5 ads per impression. Well that 20% can mean the top ad on your skyscraper for EVERY impression.

We looked at the peanuts we made from site targeted ads over the last 4-5 months and decided to pull the trigger and disable it.

Saves us on having to review and monitor our ads constantly for new diet domain name variations sneaking by our filter, etc. And now my ads are back to be relevant again on a consistent basis.

Jane_Doe




msg:3799543
 11:26 pm on Dec 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

The diet ads aren't gone, but there are far fewer of them than yesterday. Can anyone else confirm?

I had two new ones show up this morning. I blocked them and another two new ones showed up right away. It is like playing whac-a-mole.

martinibuster




msg:3799545
 11:31 pm on Dec 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I threw a couple into the filter and I haven't seen any afterward. Took many hours before they disappeared though. Google needs to speed that up.

netmeg




msg:3799558
 11:54 pm on Dec 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I had two new ones show up this morning. I blocked them and another two new ones showed up right away.

heh, we must be on just about exactly the same schedule. I nuked two this morning, and just noticed Mel and Marie tonight.

Atomic




msg:3799567
 12:17 am on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Still fewer for me. Yesterday there were a few pages showing as many as 8 versions of the same ad. Right now I see no more than two per page. For me that's a big step.

Atomic




msg:3799619
 1:32 am on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I take it back. The diet ads are back with a vengeance.

Jane_Doe




msg:3799671
 2:53 am on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I take it back. The diet ads are back with a vengeance.

After I blocked the second set of the day, a third set of two showed up. It wouldn't be bad with just two ads, but somehow just those two ads manage to fill up a good chunk of my ad blocks.

netmeg




msg:3799694
 3:53 am on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yup. I'm still optimistic though.

CodeJockey




msg:3799739
 5:19 am on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well, at least I saw some sub-domains today. That'll make it easier to filter them out if they continue.

Was in cnn today and all of their google ads were diet ads. Looks like we're in good company.

Added:

Sometimes I just type in parts of the url just to see where it goes. A 'good' set-up job shouldn't allow things like directory listings to appear and so forth. One of the diet urls defaulted to a "full-service digital performance marketing company" website. Pretty nice site, I should say. Sort of backs up my previous comment that there's a lot of money to be made here.

[edited by: CodeJockey at 5:52 am (utc) on Dec. 4, 2008]

bumpski




msg:3799888
 11:59 am on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Amazingly I've seen IP addresses as the display URL! This is trivial for Adwords to block and shows an acceptance of extremely poor quality ads.

[webmasterworld.com...]
In the thread above I had researched numerous "AdUrl's" that don't match "display" URL's at all. Some are major third party advertisers using redirects to the ultimate target URL. And of course some redirects went to "Made For Ads" sites. I said Made For Ads instead MFA (Adsense) thinking that perhaps Google is a little more liberal on the Adwords end as long as the target site does not run Adsense Ads!

Since I've added these "redirect" domains to my filter list I don't believe I'm seeing any more junk weight loss ads. Of course I've probably blocked some legitimate third party ads. One of the domains I blocked in the filters was an IP address!

If Google is allowing Adwords users to use IP addresses in their ads, google is apparently letting virtually every ad through the approval process.

Historically many Adwords ads simply go through an automated approval process, making sure you haven't used certain trademarks.
For example, I couldn't run an ad with the word "WOW" in it.
Apparently according to Google, somebody has exclusive rights to the word WOW, regardless of the ad content, ridiculus. Google clearly doesn't understand trademarks and is erring on the extremely conservative side for trademark infringement.
Passing the automated test can be pretty easy, you just try till you succeed! And of course there's an API so advertisers can automatically blast ads and keywords into the Adwords system.

Basically there have to be many ways to trick Adwords; its very complex automation. Hopefully Google will want to, and therefore will, start filtering some of the garbage. BUT, you know, their stock is way DOWN, so maybe they won't just yet.

signor_john




msg:3800006
 3:32 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

If Google is allowing Adwords users to use IP addresses in their ads, google is apparently letting virtually every ad through the approval process.

Isn't it more likely that Google's staff didn't anticipate that advertisers would use IP addresses as display URLs, meaning that an "IP address as display URL" filter wasn't in place when the junk-ad crowd decided to exploit that hole? Or that a legitimate advertiser might conceivably choose to use an IP address as a display URL, strange as that might seem to most of us?

Just as hackers, organized crime, and blackhat SEOs have tried to exploit server security holes, Windows and Mac security holes, and weaknesses in search algorithms, they're going to exploit automated advertising systems when it's to their advantage to do so. As Martinibuster suggested in another thread, advertiser demand (with its resulting upward pressure on bids) is the best way to keep bottom-feeders from rising to the top. If you're seeing junk ads now, it's probably because a weak economy is creating conditions where the junk advertisers can prosper. Google obviously needs to continue playing whack-a-mole with junk advertisers who game the system, but in the long term, the market should price the bottom-feeders out of existence--at least in content categories or niches that are well-suited to CPC advertising.

netmeg




msg:3800027
 4:05 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't for a minute think this whole diet thing is a long term strategy on anyone's part - personally, I don't know how or if they're even making any money - if the same ad shows three or four times in an ad block, on every third website on the net, who's going click on them, much less order whatever it is they're selling?

But if the way they're doing it isn't patched up, it'll just keep happening.

booksnbabies




msg:3800110
 5:39 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well these diet ads have me going nuts. My CTR dropped below 1% for a cooking site I have. It is NUTS! I couldn't figure out what happened - went to check out the site - diet ads everywhere!

I have these diet ads showing up on my kids' educational site. Now how can Brians weight loss possibly be related to math worksheets or Christmas puzzles?

My kids cooking site is going through the same thing. All my revenue is way down because of these ads - not to mention they make the sites look trashy.

I have even considered removing adsense altogether on some pages.

signor_john




msg:3800156
 7:01 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have even considered removing adsense altogether on some pages.

A few years ago, I removed AdSense permanently from an entire site. Sometimes AdSense is a good fit, and sometimes it isn't.

johnnie




msg:3800178
 7:30 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Any word from google on this? This has been going on for too long. Someone is clearly gaming the system and it would serve google well to act publicly, fiercely and quickly.

martinibuster




msg:3800180
 7:34 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>>Any word from google on this?

Yes. Scroll back to earlier posts. ASA commented about it.

buckworks




msg:3800190
 7:40 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I just checked dozens of pages on a couple of my own sites and didn't see a single ad that I'd consider inappropriate.

Do you suppose that is because of my topics, or my location (Canada)?

ken_b




msg:3800192
 7:43 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Do you suppose that is because of my topics, or my location (Canada)?

Topic maybe? I've not (ever) seen any of these weight loss ads on my site. I've been looking for them lately because of the comments about them appearing on all kinds of sites

netmeg




msg:3800219
 8:14 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have recipe pages and other pages, and they show up. I just saw a slew of them on maybe ten or twelve pages on CNN's site, along with all different kinds of news stories. I also see them on the NYT, and a couple of local large sites.

There is some amount of ad personalization going on; on the other hand, I never see any of them on my Halloween sites. So I dunno.

But it's AdWords Gone Wild, for sure. We won't get any more comments from Google about it, I'm quite sure. Hopefully we'll just wake up one day and they'll be gone, and I can empty my filter again.

One thing's for sure - I'm not posting any more recipes.

coachm




msg:3800236
 8:30 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

There is some amount of ad personalization going on

How does google know I'm fat?

signor_john




msg:3800253
 8:46 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

How does google know I'm fat?

Never install the Google Toobar on a PC that has a Webcam. :-)

Bddmed




msg:3800287
 9:23 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Damned, my PC does face recognition for logging in. Is that info passed to the toolbar ;).

Fortunately I don't have to deal with these diet ads. Unfortunately I'm plagued with ringtones (but still not having a real competitor in the filter).

NewcastleB




msg:3800339
 10:15 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I had a very disturbing thought earlier. If Google doesn't fix this soon, how long do you think it will be before we start seeing spammy ads for certain pharmaceuticals on our sites?

coachm




msg:3800379
 11:42 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I had a very disturbing thought earlier. If Google doesn't fix this soon, how long do you think it will be before we start seeing spammy ads for certain pharmaceuticals on our sites?

How does google know I'm limp (to send me ads for liniment)? Pass me the veneral calipers, please.

bcc1234




msg:3800386
 11:59 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

How does google know I'm limp (to send me ads for liniment)?

If you visit related sites that have AdSense blocks on them.

They can establish the theme of the site you are on and they can tag you with a cookie.

No need for toolbars.

If you visit 10 different sites about a specific problem (that have AdSense), then they can continue showing related ads on general sites (like some social sites out there).

signor_john




msg:3800387
 11:59 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I had a very disturbing thought earlier. If Google doesn't fix this soon, how long do you think it will be before we start seeing spammy ads for certain pharmaceuticals on our sites?

At least you'll be in good company. In the last year or so, I've begun to see full-page ads for (ahem) male lengtheners in glossy American car magazines and large display ads for hanky-panky how-to videos, male herbal remedies, etc. in my metropolitan area's largest daily newspaper. What used to be limited to spam in your inbox has gone mainstream. (One more symptom of a limp economy, perhaps?)

Marcia




msg:3800400
 12:39 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

They're getting bolder, infringing on trademark logos. I just saw one on a relatively "targeted" site, with a before and after photo in a skyscraper, with miniatured logos of 4 major online news networks - implying that it's been written up by major news sources.

Image ad, run through a doubleclick.net ad URL
Display URL is blank, not the same as the landing page "lady's page."
The display URL resolves but shows as blank, with no source code showing, and returns a 404 using an HTTP header checker. I assume it's cloaked to sniff for human visitors.
Both URLs are private registration, using the same registrar but different nameservers.

Clearly, any ads, advertisers or URLs using private registration should be flagged for human review and monitoring.

J_Evans




msg:3800408
 12:45 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

I just checked out Christmas Light sites, yep they are there also. Luckily I only had one so far. But........my month is about 80% lower than last year. I don't know what goes on when I am not watching my site.

Marcia




msg:3800411
 12:52 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'd like to know the difference between regular content network ads and the ones running via DoubleClick. I've never paid attention or even seen anything running through Doubleclick before.

This 152 message thread spans 6 pages: < < 152 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 > >
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