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What it mostly came down to was targetting high paying keywords on pages that had nothing to do with the rest of the site, and offered no value to the visitor. In fact, most of the pages were hosted on adult domains.
Probably the worst feeling I got was when one of the publishers linked to a script of his that put floating adsense ads on iframed sites. He links to support groups (mostly medical) from an adult site and the ad appears smack in dab in the middle of the page. His stats showed a CTR of around 50%.
I've always been very aware of the scraping problem, and the existence of people who cheat AS and AW publishers constantly. What I didn't realize was the scope and longevity of these cheaters. Earnings from this one small group (if the stats screenshots are to be believed) exceed over $1000 a day. Some of the publishers have been doing this for more than a year without being kicked out.
I don't know if this bothers me more as an AS publisher or an AW advertiser. Whatever Google is doing to police publishers, it isn't enough.
Yeah, it's ridiculous.
In another thread here, that was put 'on hold' for some reason, someone explained he came across a scraper who had registered 70 domains (if I remember correctly).
I did the math -
x 100,000 useless pages per domain
= 7,000,000 pages
x 0.5 pageviews per page per day (i.e. 1 every other day)
= 3,500,000 pageviews per day
x 1% CTR
= 35,000 clicks per day
x 0.02 USD per click
= 700 USD per day
x 30 days
= 21,000 USD per month
Okay, these are just assumptions, but I fear that these are fairly conservative. The problem might be a lot bigger. Only G knows. And they obviously won't tell.
Very compelling to click on something that "scrolled" into view, eh?
Apparently Google slapped them as it's no longer there.
Some might call me a 'snitch' like they did someone in another thread and I would say follow the same TOS I'm following and we'll have no issues with each other :)