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Forum Moderators: martinibuster
Ever since I caught one of them posting that the ads have lots of relevant stores to shop at... and I whacked that post asap and sent the mod a stern warning about AdSense ads- I've been worrying what thoughts have been churning around in the minds of the other mods.
Should I mention this to each of them so that they all know not to go there?
One hesitation is, what if in a year or two we have a falling out with one of the mods and they know they can mess with me by clicking on my ads?
I would love to ban ads being served to certain IP addresses.
What would you do?
What would you do?
I've been in this exact same boat. I had to talk to them about it, and request that they don't click or bring attention to them. However, I put it in terms of "being fair to our advertisers" by not bringing them to peoples attention, rather than a TOS issue.
On a members site (and I assume your mods must have to sign in somewhere?) it should be relatively easy for you to not display to certain members, or to moderators. I also have that on one site ("if member!= "martinibuster" then include "ads.php").
The risk that you fall out and they start a click-war campaign is one you just have to accept. That can happen anyway. I've never known of an AdSense publisher being kicked from the program because of third-party clicking. Heard plenty of stories, but never one that I've felt accurate or wholly truthful.
I'd just do something similar to hide ads from your mods - and perhaps from registered members. Out of site, out of mind.
I find no benefit in showing ads to members, as they generate lots of views with very few clicks. The people who click on the ads are those who come to the site via google / a link, don't find exactly what they are looking for, and think the ad looks useful.
Edit: Beaten to it. Grrrr
Chances are if they aren't tech enough to know about click fraud issues in the first place, they won't be tech enough to pull off an "effective" click fraud attack.
One possibility - can you disable ads being displayed to certain user groups (mods)?
Main issue I had with my forum was that one mod was particularly defensive of his industry (rightly so, he was damn good at it and there were a lot of cowboys), so regularly commented on URL's being displayed on Adsense. I ended up setting up a thread in mod's forum asking folks not to click through, to use the preview function and post the URL to be filtered (within reason).
I don't think a large amount of paranoia is too warranted - if you have 6 mods on board then I would assume you are seeing decent traffic levels so a random mod click here and there wouldn't be the end of the world.
Added: yeh, yeh I'm slow too - beaten to it. :p
You could also add it to your moderators handbook, so it's just another common guideline to follow.
I whacked the post immediately and asked Google for advice on language I could insert into my sites' Guidelines for Writers so this sort of thing wouldn't happen again. (My sites host discussion forums, reader reviews and personal blogs, so we're talking thousands of pages a day of new or updated content. So I need to educate my participants before the fact, as it is near impossible for me to watch every post after the fact.)
Here's what I have in the guidelines now, thanks to help from Google: "Your postings to SITENAME may not include incentives of any kind for other users to click on ads which are displayed on the site. This includes encouraging other readers to click on the ads or to visit the advertisers' sites, as well as drawing any undue attention to the ads. This activity is strictly prohibited in order to avoid potential inflation of advertiser costs."
No problems since.