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Technologically Naive Mods on My Forum

Should I Advise them to NEVER Click on AdSense?

4:06 pm on Aug 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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These are mods in a non-tech subject. I have half a dozen of them. They're experts in their fields, but not on the same page in terms of software, internet, and internet advertising.

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?

4:12 pm on Aug 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I would definitely tell them "please do not click on the ads" and have them acknowledge they will not in a private forum. If these people are not technical in nature I doubt they could perform a proper click attack in the future that would get you banned. I think AdSense is smart enough to be able to detect an attack from a range of IPs etc and would discount the attacks without banning you.
4:14 pm on Aug 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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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.


4:15 pm on Aug 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I have a forum and adsense and moderators, they never asked me anything about them and i never told anything to them, so if i was you i would tell them the following "Google Adsense forbids us to talk about the ads in public, so please never mention anything about the ads in your posts" by doing this you are not explaining to the mods that if they want they can hurt you by clicking over and over again. The best way to protect your adsense is by not talking about it as much as you can.
4:17 pm on Aug 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It should be very simple to hide ads from certain usergroups. I do this on my forum with a conditional - ie
[if usergroup == 0]
where 0 is the id for guests. So on my forum, Adsense is hidden from registered users, mods and myself - shown only to guests.

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

4:19 pm on Aug 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Had the same issue MB (although some of my mods were SEO's so knew the score). I think you need to take a leap of faith that things won't go to hell later on.

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

5:51 pm on Aug 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, I would definitely post a note in your private mod forum (you do have one don't you) that explains not to click on or comment about the ads.

You could also add it to your moderators handbook, so it's just another common guideline to follow.

5:56 pm on Aug 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I tell my mods to not click any of the ads, and I let them know how they can visit an advertiser without clicking if they are really interested.
6:29 pm on Aug 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Several months ago, a reader posted about the ads in his blog hosted on one of my sites, prompting a message to me about two weeks later from Google. (Gulp!)

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.


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