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they got me

1:58 pm on Jan 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yestarday AFTERNOON I had posted the following thread:

I tested it out and the following works.
I setup up an ad campaign for a keyword that had no advertisers. I used
a certain software that is readily available on German web sites.

In a nutshell; this software allows you to connect to proxy servers and request URLs.
It's all equipped with time delays and it also changes info such as browser and OS
used should someone look at the log files, not to mention the IP address.

So, I got the URL of my ad campaign which is similar to
(1st ad campaign for keyword hosting)

h t t p://www.google.com/url?q=http://ez-web-hosting.com/go.cgi/gsel4&sa=l&ai=Ay2FuuZxL-o5nKgJpU8ciB443ZZO6VPgkcbOBCMAkOBAwu3WAIEAzQA&num=3

and requested it via one of this "link clicker" softwares. (I used my own ad
campaign to test this, the above mention link is just an example). My ad campaign
had incurred the charges the amount of times I set the "link clicker"
to request my ad campaign URL!

I'm not in the frauding business, therefore I do not use this against my competition.
However, I'm not sure all my competitors think the same way.

What can be done to prevent this from happening? I came across this certain
"link clicker" software a few weeks ago, so I'm almost sure some of my competitors
have been using it against me from analyzing my log files.

Also, I've been pitching adwords to my clients as an easy way of topping google,
but i'm questioning it now.

Guess What?

This morning, as I checked my Stats and there was a dramatic increase of hits at 8pm and 10pm yesterday NIGHT.

As I checked my raw log files, I noticed that the requests of my ad campaign URL where made at very similar
times and the user remained on the home page less then 5 seconds.

My ad campaign ran up to 150$ within two hours. I contacted Google and notified them. What are my chances of not
paying this cost, as I am postive that is was fraud!

What does this forum recommend I do to prevent this from happening?

[edited by: fashezee at 2:35 pm (utc) on Jan. 23, 2003]

2:06 pm on Jan 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Talk to your adwords rep (period). Do not pass go, do not collect $200, talk to AdWords customer service.
2:23 pm on Jan 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I would agree to a certain extent, however this is a major problem that most are not aware of.

I will definitly speak to a google rep, but if I can get others to start
asking google about click fraud and how they are preventing it, I would think
it would get the ball rolling much faster on solving this issue.

9:04 am on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm amazed that there aren't click farms somewhere in the third world where you can pay a few pennies to click your competitors out of business (or are there?).
9:02 pm on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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That's why the AdWords maximum daily spend is so great!
11:57 pm on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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That's why the AdWords maximum daily spend is so great!

err... speaking of that, my maximums got pretty insane over christmas. I opened the throttle wide open and let the baby flow! VROOOOMM

I should probably scale back to the actual maximum now though. This thread has me slightly paranoid, heh.

10:33 pm on Jan 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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A client in a competative industry was having this problem to the extent of losing $200 every night when he went to bed. In the morning his account would be empty. We contacted both Google and Overture and spoke to loss prevention. We were able to get credits for half of the occurances since the IP's were coming in as double clicks..so they credited 1 click only where there was double clicking. We then contacted the local authorities but this was WAY over their heads and didnt have the resources.

Against my advice my client hired a programer to fight back and wrote an automatic ad clicking program. He fired back against the competitor that he felt was responsible and lo and behold...it stopped. Go figure...I guess sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands.

6:56 pm on Jan 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm interested with the raw log and the software that can even change the IP addy. If it's a German software, like the Benz, it must be good.

That's really a scary thought. Is it possible to ask Google for some sort of logs where the impression or calls were made?

I think sponsors should have access to such logs. I dont want to play the devil's advocate here, but what if it's Google or a ghost Google clicker? What if it's another SE trying to discredit AdWords, huh?


10:50 pm on Jan 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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All of the PPC providers take click fraud seriously.

Although at the sort of levels you talk about the click fraud is a problem, in some respects the fraudster is doing you a small favour as it will boost your CTR if they click your ad, so the legit visitors will get more of you.

It's important to track the visitors coming into your site, where they arrive, what they do, and with the right scripting you can track how they leave.

Although the PPC providers take click fraud seriously the burden of proof will lie with you in providing them with the evidence that it is click fraud, not for them to prove it isn't.

The other thing is they won't put up a FAQ on how they monitor for it, that's like putting the code for the office safe on a post it note and sticking it on the safe.

Ways you can curtail click fraud :

1. Don't advertise outside of the top 6 to 12 countries
2. Restrict the daily budget you are prepared to spend
3. Make smaller ad groups. It's easier to kill a group if you suspect you are a victim
4. As Brett said, raise the alarm with your ad rep. You might get a little bit of a closer observance of your traffic
5. Don't adopt the "eye for an eye" approach
6. Use exact match and phrase match to restrict the keyword inventory available for your ad to be shown
7. Stop advertising for a while

2:40 pm on Jan 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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You can install (if you dont have it already) better log tracking software, it will give you IP addresses of visitors and reffering IP's, such as AXs (you place a tage on every page in your site) and AW Stats (reads your raw log files), both are free and easy to install. It will even tell you the keywords used. You can install a bit of code in your .htaccess file which will prevent incoming traffic from that IP (but I dont think that's what you're looking for. Both can be found at:


(is it ok to post links, I hope so)