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Bad Neighborhoods in Unauthorized Sites

 12:02 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Starting September, I noticed in the section Unauthorized Sites that our code is showing up in a pay to click site. It's a UK site (we're US) that pays its members to click on the ads. I can't see where our code may be as it is a members only site.

Traffic from this pay to click site has grown to the point that it is now the #2 biggest referral traffic for our site.

It's worrisome that our code is showing up in a PTC site, which we have nothing to do with. We don't do pay per click, and the only times we do Adwords is when we get the $100 certificate. Other than that, we don't do paid advertising of any kind.

Of course, we will never authorize that site in our Adsense panel. But what else can you do when your Adsense code ends up in a bad neighborhood like this, which you have nothing to do with?



 7:53 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

If all the bad traffic is coming from one site you could block those referals in htaccess.
Check the Apache forum for posts like this one:
Blocking referer in htaccess [webmasterworld.com]


 8:45 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

After a little further thought, I realize my suggestion won't work if the ads are appearing on the Pay-to-click site.
I guess I got confused by this statement:
Traffic from this pay to click site has grown to the point that it is now the #2 biggest referral traffic for our site.

And I always thought that PTC sites sent the clickers to a specific site.


 9:14 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Have you reported this (and the site in question) to Google ? You ought to.


 10:22 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

The landing page is one of the articles on my site so I figured they must have copied the article (with our codes on it) and used it as reference for their members. But with the type of traffic this site brings, they must not have copied the entire article and linked back to my site.

@LameWolf - Where should I report it? In the GWT, Adsense or in the serps?


 10:29 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

alika, I'd personally write to Adsense support.


 12:49 pm on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

IMO, your greatest danger is from the traffic that is sent from the PTC site, not from ads on unauthorized sites. You are protecting advertisers with the unauthorized sites list but not from the traffic to your site who are most likely clicking like crazy. Google is probably filtering most of those clicks but it will set off red flags.

My advice is to either block that traffic or take the drastic measure of removing ads from the landing page temporarily.

Check your Adsense report to see if there is an unexpectedly high amount of traffic from a particular country. Then you could block the country by IP range. If you use DFP, you may be able to target that country with non-Adsense ads.

If you can't remove ads from your pages, you could take your site off the authorized sites list until you get something worked out. That will show Google that you are not involved in a click scheme. Otherwise you could receive the dreaded email about your site presenting significant risk to advertisers.


 2:36 pm on Oct 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

I can't ban UK as I do have a fair amount of traffic coming from the country.

But I did block the PTC site. It's a huge chunk, but not the kind of traffic I really want.


 10:41 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have been in a similar predicament where there is a very pervasive PTC-type traffic coming through. What I mean by pervasive is the traffic first hits my site from a link on the bad neighborhood site, and then continues through my site clicking lots of links including adsense, often clicking 10-20 levels deep and hitting other sites that also contain my adsense.

I sent two different messages to adsense a week ago after my earnings grew by $300/day. First I didn't know what to do, and was studying the behavior. It took me a couple of days to realize the traffic was some kind of bot. I have now blocked referrals, at least about 99% of them, though they keep creating more subdomains that I have to then block.

I hope google adsense will see that I have taken appropriate steps. It is unfortunate that a week has gone by with no replies. I'm pretty sure this site in question is generating thousands of dollars of adsense clicks per day. I can see the site itself has adsense disabled, but the pervasiveness of the clicks are surely generating a ton of clicks elsewhere.


 1:49 pm on Oct 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

...they keep creating more subdomains that I have to then block.

If you are blocking the referrals in htaccess, it should be possible to block all subdomains with one line of code - just leave off the http:// www. part.

Here is the Adsense help section for invalid clicks:
There is a help item on sabotage that provides a form where you can report incidents.

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