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Is Selective User Agent Delivery for Ads Acceptable?

Robots don't click ads, and decrease CTR

6:13 pm on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm just curious more than anything to see what the community thinks. I've never done it myself, but it seems like it would probably be worthwhile to me, for those that are more concerned with high CTR than with overall impressions (in which case robots rock!:)

I feel like this is probably a poor forum to ask, since it will undoubtedly get lumped in with "cloaking" - which is, according to semantics, ALWAYS against search engine TOS.

Since robots don't click on ads - they only decrease your click through rate (which CAN be a negative). So the question becomes.

1. Is it okay to NOT deliver advertisements (adsense, banners, etc.) due to it being a user agent of a known robot?

2. Do you think the search engines would consider this an acceptable practice?

3. Do you currently deliver ads selectively in this way?

6:23 pm on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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1- Ad delivery is 100% at the control of the webmaster/site owner/operator.

2- Yes. Happens daily on billions of page views. Geo targetting, demographic targetting, day parting, and even psychographic targetting, mean that the bots just end up in some weird catetory. Some people just lump them in the "no chance for a click, so don't waste the resources" category.

3- Yes. Bot content for Bots - Human content for Humans.

6:57 pm on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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There's no purpose to not showing AdSense code to conventional robots. They neither generate clicks nor impressions

OTOH, "clickbots" apparently do exist but would hardly be likely to identify themselves as such.

7:27 pm on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Personally, I deliver Adsense code to all user agents but for in-house ads we do not show to bots mainly because most are cpm based.
8:13 pm on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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For those of us who used to run our own systems for banner ad delivery back when most ads were paid for by an impressions basis rather than a click-through basis, we used to still deliver the ads to the bots.

The trick is that while we delivered the ads to the bots, we filtered the impressions reports so that we didn't charge our customers for them.

You could reasonably expect Google to filter their own billable clicks for recognizable bot click activity, and automatically back that out of their reports.

It maybe wouldn't hurt for you to sense for bots and not deliver ads for them. However, in some cases those might be recognizable search engine bots or bots of lesser-known search engines. In those cases, if the ad text were to add some beneficial keywords to your pages, it could be useful to allow those bots to pick up the ad content along with your pages. Sophisticated search engines like Google are probably identifying the ad content and declining to use it for ranking purposes, or giving it a lesser keyword weighting for ranking purposes, though.

It may be that you're afraid that if your CTR is of lower quality due to bots, you're wanting to keep clicks from those bots out of your ads so that Google doesn't decide that your click activity is of low quality or even ban you for fraudulent click activity. I've heard rumors of this sort of stuff causing Google to pull their ads from a publisher, but I'd expect that they'd mainly do that to people that they catch trying to fraudulently inflate their own ads.

It would be reasonable to assume that Google isn't going to pull your ads just because of clicks coming from widely-recognized bots' activity.


11:18 pm on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)



The following 3 messages were cut out to new thread by brett_tabke. New thread at: cloaking/3265001.htm [webmasterworld.com]
10:11 pm on Feb. 26, 2007 (cst -6)