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How Adwords Handles Click Fraud
Adwords Click Fraud
kushmania




msg:4005951
 12:39 am on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have just experienced the worst run-around from adwords reps and was wondering whether this is the norm for click fraud issues.

The Issue

Fraudulent clicks from a certain site on the content network. I got hundreds of clicks from the site (not a problem, i was expecting it), when I noticed that no actions were taking place on the site I decided to dig deeper. So I look at my logs and notice that most clicks came within a five minute duration from... here it comes... the same 10 IP addresses, and all visits lasting apprx 7 seconds. Not to mention, according to server logs I'm many visitors short of the reported clicks (all traffic to the site unique and non-unique, from G analytics and website logs)

The drama

So I get in touch with G, and submit a 'ticket', the rep says it'll take apprx 2-3 days to get it looked at. 3 days later I'm still yet to get a response so I call em up again. This time the rep says," give it another 2 days, the quality team must be real busy". Another 2 days go by and I'm still yet to hear from them, so I make another call (I'm a real patient guy), this time they tell me to wait another 2 days - Sevsn biz days. No problem, I decide to wait.

Today (day 7) I call and let the rep know that I need an update NOW (summarized version). 1 hour later I get a response, "there is nothing wrong with the clicks, in fact those IP's don't show up for your account"

I don't understand what is more insulting, the delay, the missing $$ or the the response about the IP's showing in my logs as plain as day.

Where do I go from here? Why do they even promote the content network?

 

avalon37




msg:4005967
 1:22 am on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

You have no options unfortunately - Google holds all the cards and want the $$$. Best advice: forget about it and move on; it's a cost of doing business. You have to decide if you can live with all the fraud they permit (Google). Is it still profitable for you? If the answer to that question is yes, then don't drive yourself crazy about all the crappy(suspect) clicks you get charged for. Google admits to nothing the last 3 years. If you are not making 2x what you spend with Google then my advice would be to find another way to make money. Since Elliott Spitzer ended his reign as Attorney General in NY, Google really has no one trying to prosecute them. You will NOT win the credits you are seeking; it's will only cost you more money (your time) persisting.

kushmania




msg:4005999
 3:08 am on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Whats even funnier is that I manage another account for a multi-million $$ client of Google's. Never had to deal with fraud for my own account (well, haven't used it for a while)... guess I got spoiled by the idea of having a whole team of reps

kushmania




msg:4006003
 3:19 am on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

oh well... you live and you learn

kushmania




msg:4006334
 4:13 pm on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ok, I decided to give them another call. Here are the options, according to Google.

1. Email the Click Quality team - Which we've determined doesn't communicate.

2. Take care of the issue through legal.

Nice huh... and the rep hang up on me

carlitos




msg:4016495
 7:40 pm on Oct 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Of course you should expect Google to return the money of suspected click fraud. Every penny of it!

Check out this domain:
<domain removed>

I got clicks from these guys, the site doesn't even resolve!
And worst thing: Until today I've not being able to ban them.

There is a bug in Adwords that doesn't allow you to ban this domain.

Try to ban <domain removed> it yourself and you will not be able.

Should Google return the money from this and many other false positives? of course they should!

[edited by: eWhisper at 8:06 am (utc) on Oct. 31, 2009]
[edit reason] Please do not out domains - see TOS. [/edit]

Marsh1




msg:4019401
 2:25 am on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Your experience with Google is not unique and I would bet that many site owners do not even know it is happening.

Our first experience was that clicks on ads on the Content network quickly drained our budget without generating sales. We turned off the Content network and things improved.

Lately we noticed that 5 sites were each referring more visitors then either Bing or Yahoo. More visitors sounds good but our sales went down, our telephone almost stopped ringing. We started to look into who these sites were. One of these sites was a site in a language other than english and based on its language serves a very small market. We used an online service to identify the path that visitors from these sites took. Almost every visitor from these sites only visited our first page. We contacted Google and they acknowledged that these sites were search partners. We turned off the option to have our ads appear on the search partners' sites.

Our daily spending went down by 60% but we had an increase in the number of downloads of our software and more phone calls from first time contacts. Our conclusion is that 60% of the click that we were paying for were not valid, that they drained our budget and cost us significant sales.

If it happened to us it can be happening to many other sites. Advertisers may want to test this on their own site by simply opting out of the Search Partners option on the Networks settings.

I would be interested in hearing from others to get a feel for how wide spread this problem is and estimating the magnitude of the dollars involved.

We have tried to contact Google's click quality team but only received an automated reponse.

abilitydesigns




msg:4019669
 2:55 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Here's some PDF info for you on Google's take on click fraud definition, detection - straight from the horse's mouth.

[googleblog.blogspot.com...]

-AD

benevolent001




msg:4019682
 3:07 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

I understand what you feeling but this is something real big problem with content network , some people are earning lots of money by clicking ads.

Google doesn't really take care of your request to relook if you are small advertiser. I would suggest you to just block the website from where you feel its happening , or block Content advertising fully.

For the time being try sending Google your server log files and write them all those few seconds stay , same ip etc issues.

Few years back i too wrote to them in similar issue , the answer what i got was that AOL people share same IPs so you got clicks from same IP. Google Guys simple don't care for this as its all going in their pockets.

Marsh1




msg:4019733
 4:22 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

I also read the report that abilitydesigns sent the link for. The way I read it there are gaps and ommissions.

How great a job can Google be doing if we were able to identify 5 of their search partners that were each sending more clicks then major search engines and one of these was not a site in English.

The whole concept of Google monitoring themselves should be unacceptable to all advertisers. Isn't this the type of thinking that leads to financial meltdown?

You can't have a fair audit function when there is a conflict of interest. This practice should be unacceptable to all parties including Google's shareholders and Google's outside auditors who may also be held responsible if a serious problem is found.

Try turning off the Search partners and see what happens to your spending and the quality of the clicks you receive.

benevolent001




msg:4019750
 4:46 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes stop search partners especially AOL , comcast stuff , i am sure your conversions will improve

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