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Massive Fraudulent Clicks.

     
5:28 am on Dec 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've read quite a few threads on here about fraudulent clicks on their results. And just about every one of them has been posted after the entire incident has taken place, generally with the end result being a complaint that the posted has been kicked out of Adsense. So I'm posting this thread at the beginning of situation.

While looking at my statistics today, I noticed that I had about 20 times more clicks today than I've ever had before.. and well over a 100% clickthrough rate (which I believe would translate to click-back-click-back-click-back, etc).

Here's what I did. I immediately disabled the ads displaying on my site to prevent it from happening anymore. I then emailed Google and let them know what has happened, and I told them that I've disabled the ads as well. I plan to leave the ads disabled until I hear from Google, and will post back here with any more information that I come across.

5:36 am on Dec 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have done a right thing.
3:56 pm on Dec 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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A little more background information from what I noticed yesterday going through my statistics. When logging in during the middle of the day, I noticed that both clicks and earnings were normal. However, when I logged in later that evening and noticed that clicks were outrageously out of proportion, I had also noticed that earnings had barely increased at all.

In fact, using a minimum of $0.01 per click, it would be impossible that these clicks had any effect on my earnings. From that, I would guess that Google's algorithm was aware of these clicks and stopped awarding my account the earnings (and hopefully also stopped charging the advertiser for those same clicks).

At this point, I'm still waiting to hear back before I reinstate the ads. I am, of course, open to any ideas or suggestions that anyone here may have.

9:42 pm on Dec 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Awesome.

Such responsible actions should keep you well in Google's graces. I will steal your idea should I ever go through the same thing. Nice job.

12:00 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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In fact, using a minimum of $0.01 per click, it would be impossible that these clicks had any effect on my earnings.

When Google detects fraudulent clicks on an account, the actual clicks are included in your click count, but the $ for those clicks is not added to your earnings total. It sounds as though they know these are fraudulent and have taken the appropriate action in response.

12:09 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Jenstar,

That's what I'm hoping. It also makes sense, consider a >100% clickthrough rate.

From I've read, you seem to be quite the AdSense expert. Do you think I have taken the right actions? Do you have any suggestions?

12:25 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Nick, hopefully it was just a stupid competitor. If so, then most likely they can be banned (IP blocked) at google.

You did the exact correct thing imo. ;)

Nice to hear about responsible actions like this.

It is also nice to see people using common sense.

;)

12:30 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I had someone click 18 times one day, and I reported it to Google. I got a standardized message from Google, and I had an exceptional day for that channel (but I am not talking about BIG money, just a couple of extra bucks).
12:31 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I would have contacted Google (if you are comfortable with it, you can offer to share your logs for the day, if they wanted them), then if it was a static IP you thought was the suspect clicker, I'd block it via .htaccess. Not sure if I would have disabled the ads or not, but I know some have done that. If I did, I would probably re-enable them after 12 or 24 hours, assuming the troublemaker has moved on.

Then I'd wait to hear from Google (and yes, I am sure I would be anxious and nervous about the response). Unfortunate that it happened on a Friday night though, because that means you are down for the weekend if they don't get back to you until Monday.

>> From I've read, you seem to be quite the AdSense expert.

Thank you :)

3:46 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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<I would have contacted Google (if you are comfortable with it, you can offer to share your logs for the day, if they wanted them), then if it was a static IP you thought was the suspect clicker, I'd block it via .htaccess.>

I did contact them immediately to let them know what had happened. The problem with server logs or .htaccess, however, is that they were clicking on the ads only, they were not registering any impressions on my site.

For instance, let's say X is the average number of impressions per day, and Y is the average number of clickthroughs per day. While X remains constant, Y was 20 times normal, which actually ended up being double what X was.. and that made my clickthrough rate about 180%, or something outrageous like that. My logs don't show any of this activity, because my impressions were normal. So I couldn't even begin to guess who the culprit was, much less ban them :-).

<Not sure if I would have disabled the ads or not, but I know some have done that.>

As we all know, Google's reporting isn't real-time. When I logged in and saw the results, I had no way of knowing if the actions had taken place hours ago, or if they were currently happening. I disabled the ads just in case the culprit was currently "attacking" my site.. I would at least be able to prevent further damage.

<If I did, I would probably re-enable them after 12 or 24 hours, assuming the troublemaker has moved on.>

Okay.. I'll go ahead and re-enable the ads and see what happens.

<Then I'd wait to hear from Google (and yes, I am sure I would be anxious and nervous about the response).>

Absolutely!

3:54 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Palehorse,

<Nick, hopefully it was just a stupid competitor.>

Even though that really seems like the only logical explanation, I'm in such a niche area.. there aren't any real competitors. I've also thought of the possibility that it's a competitor to an Adwords advertiser, and perhaps they chose my site as the method of attack. But that seems like a difficult way of going about it. Or maybe someone was testing out a clickbot and I was the innocent bystander.

Who knows...

12:06 am on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I just got my response back from Google. It was fairly generic, stating that their technology analyzes traffic for fraudulent click patterns and they will continue to monitor the situation.

That's about it.. my account is still active, ads are still showing, and nothing seems to be out of the ordinary.