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The three days before Christmas day were the busiest, yet this is not a seasonal business. This also corresponds to unusually high Adwords spend and a terrible conversion ratio.
Now here's the catch - the ads are not visible to anyone outside the US unless they use a proxy server.
202.88.178.**** (the Indian IP address) shows up in lists of anon proxy servers (not the actual final octet). My main theory is that a competitor in the US was clicking away using an open server in India.
I won't have access to the server logs until next week, so I can't check yet whether the visits show an Adwords referral ID or are direct hits.
Any suggestions or other theories? Any way to block by entire A class - what I mean is that we can't stop someone from calling up Google through a proxy server but can we prevent the click from being counted (since the landing page won't be seen by the clicker), or is the click counted at that point?
Btw, it scares me that google doesn't filter out open proxy clicks. I think most fraud on the internet is coming through open proxy servers.
if you add "&gl=us" to the URL
I knew that technique but completely forgot to think of that because I was looking at the web site stats (which don't tell me where the high usage came from - PPC or bookmarks or free searches) and separately at the high Adwords spend. Will soon find out once the staff are back at work and can get to the detailed server logs.