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Exceptionally Bizarre Stats - What is going on?
Ads on same page have wildly different page views

 4:19 pm on Feb 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

January was an abysmal income month with revenue down 50% from 2011 average levels. February is seeing my ad income plummet even further to a fraction of what it was. I have had a steady 4 figure income per month from ADsense for several years.

In trying to figure out what is happening via the stats, I'm finding a very bizarre situation I cannot explain.

A 720x90 ad on the bottom of a page is generating 100,000+ page views per day as is typical. HOWEVER, the 720X90 banner ad at the top of the exact same page is only generating a 10th of the page views, i.e. about 10-15K per day. This is unusual in that for years these two ads *on the same page* have always generated more page views for the top banner ad with a slightly fewer number for the bottom page ad. This is now completely reversed. Further, when I looked at the performance reports for yesterday, the bottom ad had 138K page views and the top ad had 38 (THIRTY EIGHT). I'm seeing the exact same thing today....currently 13K page views for the bottom page ad and literally single digit page view numbers for all other ads, including the top banner ad on the same page as the one getting far more.

What the HELL is happening and how do I fix this?

I may be out in left field here but the decline of my site's income started a week after my reporting on Google Adsense Help Forum possible malware in a Google Adsense ad. I was the first to report a problem but not the only one. Unlike the Curve malware ad in Adsense in 2010, we never could identify which ad it was and if it was malware in a Google third party network ad, Google isn't admitting to it.



 5:01 pm on Feb 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Doesn't make a lot of sense. I'd probably temporarily replace each ad with a self-hosted graphic, and then take a look at my log files to see if I could spot something fishy.


 8:44 pm on Feb 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Can you see the top ads when you view the page?
If you can't, then use the Can't See My Ads Troubleshooter:
It has a link to a form for contacting Adsense.


 10:15 pm on Feb 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Mystery solved. I could see ads but the performance report was indicating zip page views for six of my ads. My server was apparently hacked and a rogue publisher changed the ad code (the google_pub_id and google_ad_slot id numbers) so that all revenue was directed to his account and not mine.

It was serendipity that I was in actual email contact with a Google Adsense employee confirming my registration to an upcoming AdSense In Your City conference the same day I noticed the odd page view numbers. I requested help. I then scoured my ads trying to figure out what was causing this and the Google employee and I discovered that the ad code on my site was not matching my own ad code. Having now been informed that the publisher of this inserted new code did not have authorization from me, I am sure Google is taking appropriate measures.

Btw, my hosting provider said that I was the second client of his to report the same problem so forewarned is forearmed.


 11:11 am on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Btw, my hosting provider said that I was the second client of his to report the same problem so forewarned is forearmed.

And what is your host doing about this?


 11:25 am on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hopefully Google will investigate further before doing something to the other publisher. Because it's possible that somebody could hack site A and paste your adsense code there.


 12:06 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Huskypup, other than running the most up-to-date security software, I'm not sure what else a host should be doing. I had assumed it was the client's responsibility to maintain up to date versions of software such as blog and forum software and uploading new security patches when released. It is also the responsibility of software developers to provide software updates that patches security holes. All my software and plugins were up to date at the time of the exploit except one but ironically that site's ads were not affected.


 2:01 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure what else a host should be doing.

They should be securing the exploit, if it has already happened to someone else then the host can presumably be hacked by a backdoor entrance and gain access to other sites with AdSense.

I'm sure someone else with more knowledge than me will comment about this.


 3:24 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google could prevent this exploit from occurring by providing us with an Allowed Publisher setting, similar to Allowed Sites, so that we could specify which publisher ids can appear on our sites.


 4:10 pm on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

If you're on shared hosting, it is definitely possible someone could hack the server and hit multiple sites. Your hosting company should at least be looking for exploits.


 12:13 am on Feb 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have a dedicated server. No shared hosting.

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