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AdSense Banning People

Can I be busted for having CTR too high?

     
3:11 pm on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I was wondering what kind of criteria Google look at to determine people trying to cheat the system. Can we start a discussion on that? Mind you, I am not one of those posters here who only try to learn about the system so they can cheat the system.

The reason I am questioning this is because I am nervous about my account. I have never tried to click on my ads or promote it in some funny way, but for some reason, my CTR seems very high to me. (maybe it's not, I am not sure)

I run an ecommerce site where I sell certain products. Since our prices are low compared to competitors, I decided to put advertisements of related products.

Few points:

1) My figure for "Page Impressions" seems too low, causing my CTR to be very high. My page impression is way lower than my actual web hits or views. How can that really be?

2) Maybe it's because my site sells products, people tend to click on the ads more often? Does other web store owners experience something similar?

3) One time, my CTR claimed 1 out of 4 customers were clicking on the ads. Can somebody explain this?

I have only been running this thing for less than a month, so I am a newbie, but any input will be appreciated. Thank you!

[edited by: IppTak at 4:36 pm (utc) on Mar. 30, 2004]

4:13 pm on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Previous suggestions in this forum have been that Adsense doesn't count bot impressions:

[webmasterworld.com...]

which may account for your discrepancy. If impressions are very low then one or two clicks can cause an apparently massive CTR that is simply due to inherent error in a small sample size. If you had say ten thousand impressions a day then you'd probably see CTR fluctuate by no more than one or two percent day to day, everything else being equal.

Different page types generate different CTRs. For example, as reported here recently with the new channel data, image libraries typically give very small CTRs, probably because the surfers want to copy images, not buy advertised products.

By the way, Adsense T&C prohibit the discussion of specific site stats, so you might want to edit your post a bit. :)

4:29 pm on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the quick and informative reply.

My site is fairly new, so I do not get so many views, hence the low impressions. I am ok with the discrepancies, but I am worried that Google will shut down my account for having too high of a CTR. (because couldn't it mean that I am clicking on my own ads many times?) I guess I shouldn't be worried, because I really have done nothing against their T&C.

Here's another point I wonder. If a user clicks on an ad, then presses "back" to return to the page, and AGAIN clicks on another ad, maybe that results in 1 impression 2 clicks? I would thnk this is the case, because the pages are often cached.

I am playing the game fair and square. I just hope Google agrees to that. :)

5:58 pm on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"I am playing the game fair and square. I just hope Google agrees to that. :)"

If you have done nothing wrong, you don't have anything to be worried about. Don't even have to "hope" Google agrees to that.

7:19 pm on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Any method that artificially and/or fraudulently generates clicks is strictly prohibited. These prohibited methods include but are not limited to: repeated manual clicks, using robots, automated clicking tools, or other deceptive software. Please note that clicking on your own ads for any reason is prohibited, to avoid potential inflation of advertiser costs.

If you're not doing any of that then you're fine. :)

7:49 pm on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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You might want to install some tracking that will give you a reasonable idea on who is clicking your ads. {as in ips}

Also high CTR for someone might be low for someone else.

3:28 am on Mar 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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John_Caius,
I think I read that when I signed up, but I had forgotten what it exactly said. Thank you for that. I feel a little better, because there is no way I am doing any of those.

loanuniverse,
Thanks for the excellent advice. That will be an excellent proof, and that will be another piece of mind.

You are right about the CTR comment. I am starting to think my CTR is not really that high. I see people on this board mentioning their CTR rising by more than what mine is..times 2. I guess I should'nt be worried about my "high" CTR.

expert_21,
I do not agree, and if you think that, you missed the point of my post. *If* Google contacts me, it is their words against my words. Have you thought of the possibility of a jealous competitor clicking your ads to get you banned? Google says "you" can't click on your own ads, but how do they know "who" you are? They don't know what IP you are originating from. What about unsteady impressions and CTRs. That can be caused by your site being down or your posting advertisement at a local newspaper. Every case will be Google's words against your words, and there isn't much you can do about it. (though I love loanuniverse's comment about logging it).

Thanks for all your inputs. I think it'll make me sleep better at night. I guess I will just let it run, and if I receive a message, oh, well.

3:38 am on Mar 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"They don't know what IP you are originating from"

I think they record your IP everytime you log into your account, so you bet they know who you are :)

4:03 am on Mar 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Makes no difference if your IP does or doesn't match the "Fraud" IP. I'm pretty sure that a savvy crook can find a way around this. If repeated fraudulant activity is detected, I doubt that Google will try to ascertain whether the publisher is responsible or not. They will have no choice but to ditch the account in order to maintain the integrity of the system.

Silver_Surfer

9:59 am on Mar 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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In that case all a competitor needs to do is to send a bot clicking on your ads LOTS of times, and you'll get booted? If that's the case isn't it very easy to get rid of your competitor?
2:47 pm on Mar 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wouldn't doubt that many honest publishers have been booted because of this. If it's a one time thing Google may let it slide, but if there's repeated fraudulant activity what other solution is there but to ditch the account? Google's priority is with the advertiser and not the lowly publisher. I doubt that they'd spend the time/money that's necessary to ascertain who the fraud is. All we can hope for is that they keep working on and improving their fraud detection system.

Maybe Google should have a chat with some of the major online ad agencies. They've been around a long time and seem to have this fraud thing figured out. I've worked with many ad agencies and don't ever recall this being a problem, at least not on this scale.

Silver_Surfer

2:55 pm on Mar 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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To me being able to look at ips of that have given me multiple clicks gives me some peace of mind in the sense that I could be proactive if one of them shows up as giving me a couple of dozen clicks in an hour, I might decide to send an email to google myself.

On the other hand, I decided not to sweat the AOL visitors that might show as having clicked with the same ip over a long period of time. I figured Google is aware of those.

3:05 pm on Mar 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Loanuniverse, what script are you using? Would you please tell me where I could find it?

Thanks

3:52 pm on Mar 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Wouldn't think you would have many jealous competitors if your only starting out ;)

With the channels coming out, many people's CTRs will shoot up as ineffective areas of sites are cast aside from advertising. Don't think you have much to worry about.

W.

4:51 pm on Mar 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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With the channels coming out, many people's CTRs will shoot up as ineffective areas of sites are cast aside from advertising.

Some publishers may be naive enough to dump areas of their sites with low clickthrough rates, but they need to look at the overall picture before making such decisions.

Of the four channels that I use to track my own site, the channel with the lowest CTR generates the most income. (In fact, it generates four times the income of my highest-CTR or "most effective" channel.)

5:02 pm on Mar 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I filter out bots and even those looksmart ip's and my impressions still dose not match what Google is saying. I have a lot more impressions than google is saying.
6:21 pm on Mar 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I host message boards for people and therefore have lots of traffic. Google routinely reports about 70% of the impressions I get (and I filter out the most common bots).

I thought it was people blocking Google ads with ad blocking software - apparently it's not. I've written code to detect ad blockers, and their amount appears to be negligible.

People who don't have javascript activated are also a negligible amount.

I don't get it, but, what can I do? Nothing. So I just cope with it, like everyone. There is no competition to Adsense, Quigo seems to be "almost ready to launch" forever, there is nothing webmasters can do other than swallowing their pride and coping with whatever Google requires from them - or lose their main income.

This is where the statement "competition is good" really shines.

That being said, I still love Google and Adsense, and wish them a long and prosperous career. This is what you get when you throw a bunch of bright and motivated folks together - an innovative and prosperous company, unlike most of the Internet start-ups out there, who are ran by clueless MBA's. Props to Google.

10:04 pm on Mar 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yes europe... Channels also allow you to see how much certain ads are earning, I was referring more to taking off ads that were not earning money, rather than those with low CTRs. That would indeed be naive.

W.

2:02 am on Apr 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It is important to remember that Google is the customer here. Your customer. Customers leave even if they meerly suspect they are being cheated. They don't usually require evidence.
11:00 am on Apr 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Channels also allow you to see how much certain ads are earning, I was referring more to taking off ads that were not earning money, rather than those with low CTRs.

I hope you meant pages, not ads. :)

My experience is the opposite of europeforvisitors. My highest CTR channel pays the most. It must mean that my content is so boring that people click an ad to escape. ;)

Ash

11:04 am on Apr 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Nope, I meant ads analla... Why take down content if it isn't earning? That is taking away from the quality of your site.
W.