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Self Clicking Syndrome

Why doesn't Google build a blocker?

     
3:38 pm on May 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Almost on a daily basis someone goes into panic mode and posts a confession. "I've clicked on my own adsense"!

Why can't google simply build in a blocker so that it locks 'self clicking'.

They must receive thousands of emails per day from genuinly worried people afraid of being kicked out.

Surely its more cost effective to nip it in the bud rather than place manpower on the job?

10:14 am on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



The caveat would be, 'you are still responsible for false clicks'. At least it would reduce a vast number.

You stated earlier that Google's incentive for creating this protection should be reducing the number of support emails they get. Yet if they implemented something like what's been suggested, then tacked on the above caveat, I can't see how that would reduce the problem one bit. They would still be flooded with emails, only now instead of "Oops, I clicked my own ads," it will be, "Um, I was clicking my own ads but now I'm not so sure that my IP was properly blocked."

I think Larry had a great idea. Some third party person develop a stand-alone application that will prevent self-clicking on the computer to which it has been installed. But a warning to whoever writes that application: hire a whole gaggle of lawyers to write your Disclaimer and Terms of Service and make people agree to it three times during install. This won't make Adsense publishers actually read it, as we know so many of them ar loath to do, but it will protect you against the backlash should your application prove slightly less than perfect at blocking those clicks.

cEM

10:35 am on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Here's a simple solution: Add the ad-blocking as a plugin on the Google Toolbar. It could even go so far as to require your Adsense login ID to be activated.

This would overcome the cookie/IP problem, as well as bring webmasters back to using the toolbar as i'm sure there's been a dip lately due to visible PR's declining relevance.

Win-win for everyone.

11:22 am on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



It seems logical and with little interaction from the user.
11:27 am on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



You stated earlier that Google's incentive for creating this protection should be reducing the number of support emails they get. Yet if they implemented something like what's been suggested, then tacked on the above caveat, I can't see how that would reduce the problem one bit. They would still be flooded with emails, only now instead of "Oops, I clicked my own ads," it will be, "Um, I was clicking my own ads but now I'm not so sure that my IP was properly blocked."

That's just doom & gloom. I don't think there are as many idiots out there as you would have us believe.

If the system was opt-in with the 'no-support' caveat, there's no support. It doesn't have to be complicated.

2:25 pm on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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



Case in point: I use a cable modem with a fixed IP address. Perfect. But lo and behold, my ISP has changed my IP address at least once to a totally different block - naturally with no notice to me whatsoever. I eventually discovered the change while playing with the raw server log from my site, but the average user could go weeks or months or forever without ever noticing it had changed. Oops, so much for IP blocking.

This sort of thing doesn't make it impossible to build a filtering system, but it illustrates that the system would have to be complex and would have to accommodate all kinds of different scenarios.

.

P.S. I have a simple way to turn AdSense on and off installed on my computer. Just keep two saved versions of your hosts file (e.g. "hosts2" and "hosts3") - one that shows AdSense ads and one that blocks them as has been explained in various threads.

Then all you need is two DOS .bat files with shortcuts on your Windows desktop. The first does a simple copy of hosts2 to hosts; the other copies hosts3 to hosts. Voila, you can update your hosts file and turn the ads on and off at will. The only limitation I have seen is that you may have to close and re-open your browser for the new settings to take effect.

2:29 pm on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Doesn't AOL change the IP everytime the users logs on? I may be wrong!

If IP changes often, would Google detect 'self clicks'?

2:48 pm on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I am sure there is psychological reason why Google does not tell us anything about this.

If people knew and understood exactly how adsense worked then they would try to beat the system.
Then Google would have to change settings, and it would turn into a arms race.

The arms race would be well documented and would scare advertisers. Besides, Overture never disclosed exactly how, what they do - and they worked ok.

4:16 pm on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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



That's just doom & gloom. I don't think there are as many idiots out there as you would have us believe.

The level of knowledge here is MUCH higher. I am not saying that it is AdSense publishers *here* who would have that issue. But we are only representative of a very small segment of all AdSense publishers. That is why AdSense support has Q&A for things like this:
[google.com...]

5:08 pm on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



That's just doom & gloom.

Eh? From your original post...

Why can't google simply build in a blocker so that it locks 'self clicking'.

They must receive thousands of emails per day from genuinly worried people afraid of being kicked out.

Surely its more cost effective to nip it in the bud rather than place manpower on the job?

You're the one who brought up the problem with Google recieving lots of emails. How would this be any different?

Are you saying most people are smart enough to keep track of their current IP address, but NOT smart enough to avoid clicking on their own ads?

My point is that blocking-IPs or otherwise "preventing" self-clicks would have to be a 100% foolproof method or the problem you stated would persist, just in a different form. Now it's "confession" emails from accidental self-clickers; later it's "uncertain" emails from people who don't know whether their self-clicks have been properly blocked. The only solution would be for Google to take full responsibility and completely STOP kicking people out of the program for self-clicks, which opens the floodgate for scrapers and blackhats to self-click Adwords advertisers out of business. by having a "zero-tolerance" policy, and enforcing it, Google ensures that ripping off Adwords advertisers remains a BAD THING.

It's a lot like the "No URL" policy here at WebmasterWorld. There is zero-tolerance, all personal URLs get snipped by the mods, in order to avoid the forum getting spammed into obsolescence. If the rule starts to slip, if a URL or two goes by without getting clipped, we see a marked rise in people who post URLs. By making the rule unmaleable, it enforces itself and protects the system. Unfortunately, it means that some technical problems are very hard to troubleshoot, since there's no link to follow to see the problem, but that's the trade-off for keeping the system safe.

Likewise, with self-clicking on Adsense ads. The trade-off for keeping the system at least partially "un-gameable" is that we have to be very careful about clicking our own ads, lest we get confused with dishonest webmasters who click their own ads on purpose.

cEM

5:39 pm on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I'm not getting into an argument with you over the level of intelligence of adsense members.

The point I made was that if Google created an opt-in blocker with a caveat of 'no support', then it would mean no support. Not

Um, I was clicking my own ads but now I'm not so sure that my IP was properly blocked.
nor
Oops, I clicked my own ads
This 40 message thread spans 2 pages: 40
 

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