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Invalid Clicks



2:43 am on Mar 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


does anyone know whether repeated clicks from one IP are officialy considered invalid by Google?

I have noticed that I received 5 clicks in a row from one IP, then 3 from another IP, etc. and I was billed for all of them. This does not seem right to me. Should I wait for Google to adjust the number of clicks later, or should I complain (where?).


12:10 am on Mar 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have the same problem. It is very annoying and adds up over time. Just contact you rep and they will credit your account.


1:04 am on Mar 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member adwordsadvisor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, Rado!

I have noticed that I received 5 clicks in a row from one IP, then 3 from another IP, etc. and I was billed for all of them.

As you consider whether you've been billed for individual clicks, please be sure to account for these important time distinctions between the reporting of clicks in your account, and the reporting of clicks in your server logs:

* Your account stats are delayed by a variable length of time, typically ranging up to three hours. You'll see a note about this in your account pages which says:

Reporting is not real-time. Clicks and impressions received in the last 3 hours may not be included here.

* Your account stats are in Pacific Time, while your server logs may show your clicks in an entirely different time frame.

So, it's important to reconcile for these factors.

BTW, there was a comprehensive discussion on the subject of invalid clicks posted on an online resource from Google. The WebmasterWorld terms of service prevent me from linking to it, however. Perhaps, if a moderator feels it is useful information for advertisers to have, he or she could link to it?



10:35 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

AdWordsAdvisor -

What is Google internal policy / business rule logic for filtering our duplicate clicks from the same surfer?

Surfer X clicks on Ad 123
Y seconds later Surfer X clicks on Ad 123 again

How small does Y need to be for Google to not charge the Adv for the second click from the same surfer on the same ad listing?



10:46 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


AWA (and any other employee of a PPC provider) cannot provide an answer as to how they filter invalid/fraudulent/duplicate clicks as it opens the door to abuse.

However it shouldn't be difficult for you to test their systems. Set up an advert for a few cheap, low volume terms and then experiment with different durations between clicks (use your imagination as to how to put various scenarios to them). You might be surprised to see what comes up.

On one network that we know very well we are 98% accurate at predicting the invalid/fraudulent/duplicate clicks using tracking software we wrote. Having said that we don't do the same for Google or Yahoo (yet?).


12:51 am on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

OK -

To - Anyone out there who is not an employee of Google (or any of its affiliates) or contractually obligated to not disclose internal policies at Google,

Is there a protocol that is used by Google for determining when to filter out a duplicate click. Where
duplicate click = a call to Googles server for the same ad lsiting from the same cookied browser / IP address within a certain period of time.

I am not really concerned about click fraud, but more about a surfer double clicking on a listing or clicking on the same listing multiple times within let's say 30 seconds.

Knowing this upfront will allow me to not waste AdWords support time worrying about click charge overages.

Much appreciated.


2:42 am on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My experience has been that Google will usually consider multiple clicks from the same IP/user from the same or multiple impressions over a short time frame to be expected and thus normal click behavior and thus charges advertisers for this. This was explained to me as an occurance that usually happens when a user comparison shops between multiple ads and thus revists an ad they previously visited. I learned this when I inquired about my stats showing 3 clicks from 1 impression. I think most anything other than this should get caught by their software and never displayed in your stats. So if you think something sliped through the only way to find out is to ask them to investigate it and they will either tell you the above or if something slipped through their security filter they may credit you. Either way it is up to them to decide how they want to explain the occurance.

The problem is that it is impossible to know for sure the intent of the user whom clicks on an ad multiple times in one session. Are they really comparison shopping or are they a competitor randomly clicking on all the ads while theirs is paused. I suspect if the number of clicks is outrageous in one session then it might trip the fraud monitor otherwise they probably just chalk it up to someone comparison shopping.

[edited by: JKelly at 2:58 am (utc) on Mar. 31, 2006]


2:54 am on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Do any of the google reports show i.p. addresses? It would be nice to see what you're paying for.


3:03 am on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

No IP reports and I would not expect them to appear anytime soon. They collect such information and could easily display it but this gets back to not providing information that can help those who would use the info to exploit the system.


12:16 am on Apr 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We collect IP addresses on all clicks generated from our AdWord listings (as well as referring URLs and browser types). Basically we grab everything technically available for to record.

By doing this we are also able to know when and how oftern Gooogle is generating test clicks on our ads and from which IP range.

In any case it is clear in our reporting when we are getting double/over charged for clicks - what I do not understand is why a $Billion company like Google is not seeing the same thing. It is like they know it is happening and rely on the Adv to provide evidence. This is total BS.

I would like to see the Sarbennes-Oxely (SOX) audit on what type of controls/procedures Google has relating to the systems that generate 99% of their revenue.

I know you are reading this AdWordsAdvisor - and highly recommend that you make this type of issue a top priority. But then again why would you want to do that - most Google employees have large amounts of stock options and do not want to see their stock price take a hit.

You also have to wonder why the 3rd parties bid management companies like Efficient Frontier are not making a bigger issue of this click over charging. Very simple - 1) EF makes their money as a % of ad spend they manage - so by having Google apply credits would only minimize their revenue and 2) my speculation is that - the CEO of EF is closely aligned with Google execs and has a large stake in Google stock - so by pushing this type of issue with Google would only hurt their own business in the log run - all Google would need to do is shut off EF from getting backend/API access to their data.

I would suspect that at least 5% of Googles revenue is tainted - which doesn't really put a dent in their business. So, why not allocate some of their income to fund a better click filtering system and provide more insight to Advertisers as to where/how ads clicks are being generated.

OK - off the soap now.


12:34 am on Apr 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

In any case it is clear in our reporting when we are getting double/over charged for clicks - what I do not understand is why a $Billion company like Google is not seeing the same thing. It is like they know it is happening and rely on the Adv to provide evidence. This is total BS.

They can and do see occurances such as you speak of. If it is below a certain threshold they consider it normal behavior and charge you for it if it is excessive it should get filtered and although it shows in your server logs you should not be charged for it.


1:28 am on Apr 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Jkelly & Vikingpwr,

I was about to quote the above and respond but you saved me the trouble of quoting anyway. The cynic in me is beginning to suspect that the portion of Google's income that comes from "invalid" clicks is too great to give up.

The "Made for Adsense" sites are so unavoidable when I'm searching or when checking my logs, there is no reason why their benefactor, Google, couldn't find same and put them out of business in a second.

Thousands of such sites are owned by single entities and rival Google themselves in profitibility. There are forums devoted to discussing this "industry" and products marketed to remove the human labor expense in generating the clicks.

For Google to depend on this income to boost stock prices is short-sighted. A PPC taking proactive instead of reactive efforts to put a plug on click fraud could also be an industry leader. However it would take some time for word to spread among advertisers and convince them that the reality was more than a company slogan. Google has taken the quick road to riches not realizing their flaming success could become a flicker in a year or two.

Vikingpwr, your 5% estimate is very conservative. A figure as high as 38% was bandied about in the media a few months ago. I don't know how that figure was arrived at.


doctor gerlis

3:30 pm on Apr 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Is it true that if someone clicks through my ppc ad once, then scrolls across several pages-then an audit(wcw) might record it as 5 hits from that ip address?

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