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Clicks/earnings constantly being removed (70% loss of revenue)

Msg#: 4587867 posted 3:22 pm on Jun 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have worked with Adsense for several years, my earnings slowly but steadily rising due to hard work and patience.
Most of my traffic has been organic so far. Last month, I started an Adwords campaign for 1 of my new websites, to test the water.

This is not a discussion about Adwords being allowed or not, because it is, explained here: https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/1348722?hl=en
It says the publisher is responsible for his traffic sources and mentions Google Adwords explicitly as an option, so I don't think Adwords is a source of 'suspicious' traffic and should be in the clear.

Now, what happened: a few days ago, traffic on my Adwords campaign exploded, due to the topic being covered in the news. I increased my budget immediately to profit from all of that traffic, and for a few days, the daily revenue in my account was about 4x the average daily amount from the previous months. Needless to say, I was very happy.

THEN, all of a sudden... my earnings stopped. Every time I refreshed, I could see that the earnings were not going up, but down! It seems that Google was removing clicks/earnings very soon after they came in. Of course I started to read online, and figured this must be because of Google counting them as invalid clicks.

I immediately stopped my Adwords campaign, because even though Google says purchasing traffic is allowed, I did not want to take any risks.

At the end of the day, not only were most of the Adsense clicks/earnings from my new website (the one receiving Adwords traffic) removed. A lot of clicks/earnings from my other websites, receiving organic traffic, had also been removed! Not everything, but really a lot!

Traffic stayed the same. Only CTR/RPM is down, and I can see it is from them being removed, not because they were never there.

Previously, I never had any clicks/earnings removed, or at least I never noticed it. But now, Google is removing a lot of clicks/earnings on ALL my sites (invalid?), and I am only earning about 70% of what I was previously earning, before Adwords traffic exploded for this 1 new site.

This has been going on for another few days now. It doesn't seem to recover by itself, even though the Adwords campaign stopped, or perhaps it's too early to tell. It seems Google has somehow flagged my account. Perhaps I reached some sort of earnings threshold, or it's just the sudden rise in earnings, I don't know.

I hope I'm not at risk at losing my account for invalid activity? Because that was obviously not my goal, nor do I think it was the case.

Does anyone have experience with this? Or comments/suggestions on my issue?



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Msg#: 4587867 posted 4:11 pm on Jun 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

Look at your placements - is it possible there could be accidental clicks?

Look at your placements on a tablet and a smart phone - is it possible there could be accidental clicks there?

Look at your traffic sources. Just because your topic was in the news doesn't mean that all the traffic would be considered good, converting traffic. I was working on a site once where we got a HUGE spike of traffic because one of the topics of the site (the title of a movie) was a clue in the New York Times crossword puzzle, and people were looking it up to do the puzzle (side note - a TON of people cheat on crossword puzzles!) That probably wouldn't have been considered very good targeted traffic for an advertiser, as it would be unlikely to convert and just arrived by a fluke. I don't know that for sure, because that was before they started clawing back, but that's my theory.

But look at your placements first. Specially if it was a news topic that brought your traffic, check how it looks in mobile. If your ads are somehow overlaying your content on small screens (or even just too close) that could be the issue.


Msg#: 4587867 posted 4:37 pm on Jun 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've checked it using https://quirktools.com/screenfly/

On the top left are the title, the menu and an image portraying the topic of the site (coincidentally the keyword they searched for). The only Adsense unit above the fold was a 728x90 below the initial paragraph. So accidental clicks should not really be an issue.

If there was low quality traffic to advertisers, then only because they didn't read any text on the page and just clicked on the text that had a different colour (so it looks like a link). While this is not really an accidental click, it could be possible that they closed the advertiser's page or went back immediately after, which is like you said, not good traffic for the advertiser.

But it is too much. And it's now also affecting my other websites.

It seems like Google penalizes a whole Adsense account, just like it can also penalize a whole Adwords account if one campaign is not performing well?


Msg#: 4587867 posted 2:48 pm on Jul 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have a similar problem as of 24 hrs ago. No known activity or cause. I did recently add some Amazon ads to the page, but that shouldn't be an issue. Are you still having the problem? Should I expect this to be permaanent? Should Google at least send me a notification?


Msg#: 4587867 posted 3:14 pm on Jul 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Out of desparation, I turned off all ads except the three Adsense ads and the issue seems to have gone away. Does Google not allow Amazon ads to share a page?


Msg#: 4587867 posted 3:44 pm on Jul 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

spoke too soon. Sometimes it takes longer for Google to delete clicks.


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Msg#: 4587867 posted 6:13 pm on Jul 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

It's not an Amazon thing; I run Amazon ads on the same page and I don't usually have more than 3% removed.

I believe it's usually due to traffic or placement, but if you're eligible for support (meaning you earn at least $25 a week I think the threshold is) you should contact AdSense Support and ask. I had that happen once when I got a larger than usual takeback, and was told it wasn't anything on my end - the advertiser had done something shady, so they had to negate all his ad spend (or maybe he was hacked, I don't remember) At any rate, it was a one-off, and support explained it.


Msg#: 4587867 posted 7:07 pm on Jul 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the reply, it was helpful in informing me about the support option. I *was* making well over $25/week, between 3 and 4 figures, per week actually. Traffic hasn't changed and I try to put a reasonable distance between the copy and the ads. The are used as separators in a long list of content, to break up the data. I am wondering if the size of last month's earnings hit a threshold that caused them to view the page and find something that they didn't like. I've tried to stay in the rules AFAIK. If they found something, I wonder why they didn't disable ads serving? Seems pretty unfair to get the benefit of the clicks and pass it on. Wonder if they are still charging the ad buyers?


Msg#: 4587867 posted 7:16 pm on Jul 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

I re-read the original post and note these differences in my experience. I really only have one site that generates traffic/revenue. Google is erasing all clicks but one or two (so it says, but the earnings remaining may be for those that pay per view, not per click). I had a spike in revenue a few months ago, mostly due to better paying ads from content additions and a little bump in CTR from playing with ad placement/type etc. Since then, revenue has increased about 20% month. So if it's SEO issues, they are late in reacting. Maybe last month's month earnings triggered a threshold related investigation? Maybe I was click-bombed yesterday?


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Msg#: 4587867 posted 9:58 pm on Jul 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Ask them. Tell them you're seeing an increase in invalid click activity in your AdSense account, and you'd like some direction so you can see if there's anything you can do.

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