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Guess the website

The hints are some of its violations

     
2:43 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Please, don't give answers to this trivia. I think it's forbidden to write URLs on the forum.
These are some of the most interesting features from one of the worst website I found. It is:
  • (1) using a page with no content as the landing page for AdWords
  • (2) using a page with no content to show AdSense
  • (3) repeating 9 times in a row the same keywords
  • (3) showing AdSense without writing anywhere "Ads by Google"
  • (4) embedding AdSense ads in the page
  • (5) masquerading AdSense URLs to avoid automatic blocking.
If you're a long time AdSenser I'm sure you will clearly understand how powerful points (4) and (5) are. It means that it is requesting AdSense ads using JS server side. The resulting page contains the ads as if they were actual content. This means that the next time that Google will scan it to define the best ads to show, it will be self-feeded. The URLs that will go to the final advertiser are modified using a redirector.
It all means:
  • no need for the end user to have JS to see AdSense
  • even destination URLs won't be blocked by any tool
  • starting from a single keyword selection it ends up with a page where AdSense ads are fully relevant.

Not too bad, isn't it? From some easy speculation I think this website is earning way more than a million $$$ per month.
That's all folks. Follow the rules.

2:53 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>it is requesting AdSense ads using JS server side

If so then Google is seeing all the ads requested and clicked from the same IP, no money for the site owner there.

2:55 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hobbs, you just triggered the part of the message I didn't write :-) My main question is: given all those violations, how can such a website be still alive and kicking with AdSense? Consider that it must be using some server side retrieval to get the actual AdSense ads. Since it is using a redirect on the URLs used to go to the final advertiser, that website has the full range of stats about which ad is clicked when, where, by whom... AFAIK it can retrieve AdSense ads once per day and select the best performing ones on its own.

By the way: I forgot to mention that AdSense ads open in a new window :-)

[edited by: elfred at 2:59 pm (utc) on Aug. 6, 2006]

2:58 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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sorry elfred,
I have no answer to your question, I am guessing you reported it? If so give it a couple of weeks and see if it is still there..
4:30 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Ditto, I can only assume you somehow confirmed that they really are ads from AdSense and not some other company, and then reported it to Google?
5:11 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Of course I did. I'm waiting for an answer.
5:31 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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i didnt even know it was possible to dynamically alter adsense to remove the ads by or change or redirect the url, i guess i need to study js some more. the opening in a new window used to be a feature for premium publishers, i assume it still is. could it just be premium partner using dynamic keyword insertion on their adwords and since theres no page associated to that keyword it just defaults to a landing or place holding page, like ebay and its search results. if the site in question is making even 10% of what you estimate, i have a feeling g knows what they are doing and are fine with it or they would have gotten the boot already. also whats the difference between a js include and say a php one?
5:50 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Seriously, if the sourcing of the ads is cloaked and the clicks are cloaked, how did you confirm that the site is using AdSense?

There's NO way regular publishers would be able to do this without being easily caught and banned. It could be a premium publisher, depending on the site, but it seems more likely that they're using a different ad provider.

6:01 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Ah. I think I know who it is :)
6:09 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If they are a premium publisher they are probably allowed to do this.
7:26 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have noticed this since last year when I advertised on Adwords for content. Nobody believes me when I tell them that the ads are pre-generated. You actually get incoming links days later after your ads are up.

I even thought that there were scheduled clicks (must be my imagination) because ads that I have removed were seen to be clicked on hours later but complaining doesn't help, all clicks are valid was the reply.

7:39 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>>>(5) masquerading AdSense URLs to avoid automatic blocking.<<<

this is a bit confusing... google allows you to use an ad server, which would cover up any link to adsense or your pub i.d.

9:45 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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(4) embedding AdSense ads in the page

What do you mean by this? Is using no border and not pointing out these things are ads wrong? It shows the "ads by gooogle" thing, no?

You're saying I can't make my adsense ads look like a normal link using the editor on the adsense control panel?

9:48 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Read the whole post again. That's not what it says at all.
9:58 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Right, so minimalising the difference between the sponsored and non-sponsored links on a page is not a crime?

I've been doing that for quite a while, never even thought i was doing something wrong, but was I wrong? Sorry for spoiling the topic, just got really spooked....

10:58 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I went out for a dinner. Back home now :-) Answer time.

JOMAXX:
if you look at the HTML for the standard AdSense that standard users have you will see an URL. Now, to that URL you simply have to prepend your personal website name followed by some "/rd?". That's how the link looks like.

ALEX_MILES:
give me some hint. Let's see if you guessed :-)

OGLETREE:
the question here is: I assume that AdSense rules are there to keep the whole adsense community (publishers and advertisers) on the right path. When some small entity deviate from the path they are banned and, basically, nobody was ever influenced by the glitch. If big players can use all sorts of forbidden things, than the community is altered. I don't know which is the english for it, but we say that "somebody is more equal than others". I think you read all the forbidden things I found on a single page. Some things that are forbidden to standard publisher are not to premium ones, but only because the premium ones are good enough to use things on the edge, but still on the legal side. I mean: we all know that there is a mistake in the GOOGLE SEARCH code that doesn't validate with W3C and that we can't fix it because we're not allowed to alter the code. A premium publisher will likely be allowed to change that code.

DANIMAL:
Let me explain: I can use JS to show AdSense on my page formatting it however I like (like any premium publisher) and after Google has approved it on a test page. My JS (client-side) asks AdSense for the ads and then it formats them. Are you sure that Google allows me to use as the destination URL any URL which is not the one returned to my JS? If you can tell me where this rule is than you made my day because I will be able, with a simple redirecting URL, to track every single click!

JINXBOY:
when a premium publisher uses JS, the ads are queried client side. It is the user's computer that asks for the ads. This means that, if JS is not enabled, the user won't see the ads. The website I'm talking about is putting the ads directly in the HTML. For example: if I open my own website in a text based linux window I won't see the ads. If I open THE website, I see them, because they are in the HTML. Not only the ads are shown to ALL users, including those with blocks, firewalls, no JS and the likes, but the ads might have been hand picked by any kind of script. Since the landing URL is redirected through a website's link they know which ads are clicked the most. They can show always the most clicked ones, or do anything else.

11:15 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Damn this is annoying..

When I first started with adsence, I asked them could i use target="_blank" to open in a new window, but they said No, that no altering of the code will be tolerated.

Thats had me paranoid since....

It can be easy to hide the "adds by google" section, even if its just with an absolutly positioned bit of graphic.

But I never did that either ......

Now we find that another site, is creaming it in by doing the tricks that I was threatened with expulsion for....

that really sucks....

11:20 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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And it does all the tricks in a single page! It could be referenced as the full collection of what can't be done :-)
11:45 pm on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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A gentle reminder. ;)
The AdSense Forum is for discussing the AdSense program, not other websites.

Thanks.
:) Y

7:11 am on Aug 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Martinibuster, that's exactly my goal. Given that AdSense is a community with its rules, I'm basically asking other people their considerations about how they feel when there is who is not following the rules.
I'm not sure I would be happy, as an AdWorder, to know that my ads will be shown on such a deceptive, rules-braking website.
The basic question is: since most of the rules are there to avoid that clicks are generated using strategies that advertisers wouldn't like, can Google allow the use of all of them? The fact that that website is earning a lot makes little sense here. I'm sure enough that a lot of us publishers would be able to set up several websites that were able to earn a lot, given that no rules were forced.
7:17 am on Aug 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Obviously a conventional AdSense publisher can't do most of these things. But we also know that a premium publisher CAN, given Google's approval -- especially as most of the things you're describing don't sound that deceptive anyways. Let us know how they respond.
7:26 am on Aug 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Are you sure we know that a premium publisher can? Could you PM me a reference of any premium publisher doing 75% of those things? Premium publishers are usually allowed to change the appearance of the ads and little more. At best they can use on the same page ads from networks that are not compatible for standard users. Premium publishers can get ads based on specific keywords. I still have to find one premium publisher that is allowed not to show "Ads by Google", forget about the other things.
7:32 am on Aug 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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NewsWeek
8:07 am on Aug 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for the reference. I'm going to look at it. I'm really curious to see how many "features" it was gifted :-)
Ok: there is no "Ads by Google", but I think that on an MSN site that was the only forced need :-) But the ads are in a IFRAME (not in the straight HTML), the URLs are the ones returned to the JS, the JS is executed client side. I'm not sure whether they will open in a popup window or not (I'm not going to click), but all the rest, which is the relevant part, is ok. I don't think that any AdSenser or any AdWorder would be ever hurt by NewsWeek ads.
10:47 am on Aug 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've looked at the site. In addition to what was claimed:

They also highlight the ads to draw attention to them with individual attention getters (little .gifs) for each ad, including, believe it or not, a numerical rating for each advertiser.

They also change the ad content itself, highlighting keywords within the ad text and headline.

They correctly identify (on the single page I looked at!) that the ad block as "Sponsored Links", but do that in a headline that looks like this: "stores selling widgets (Sponsored Links)"

All of this is pretty shady stuff, IMHO. If I were an advertiser, and my ads were being changed and highlighted and rated vis a vis my competition..... I might go ballistic.

From another AdSenser's point of view? Good luck to'em! Unless it ruins the program because advertisers get ticked off.

Oh yeah, didn't I just say that?

4:46 pm on Aug 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>>>If you can tell me where this rule is than you made my day because I will be able, with a simple redirecting URL, to track every single click!<<<

i use phpadsnew, but since you can't alter the adsense ad itself, it's not possible to track the clicks with that particular ad server.

people on adsense forums have talked about legally tracking adsense clicks with other software, but i've never done it.

what rons posted is disturbing, to say the least.

11:32 pm on Aug 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It could also be a page from Google's DomainPark program.

Each publisher agrees to rules when they join. Premium Publishers and DomainPark publishers just agree to different rules than other publishers.

I don't see this as a problem to the adsense program, as each has a different purpose and intent.

11:54 pm on Aug 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This is not a domain parked page, this is part of a huge many-multiple-affiliates site made to look like a review/store site.

Quite clever.

12:20 am on Aug 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Guess the website

I'm still guessing. I know you can't drop URLs, but can you give a clue?

8:22 am on Aug 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think the website was sold last year for something more than 520M $$$ :-)

P.S.: EFV, you should have a PM.

[edited by: elfred at 8:38 am (utc) on Aug. 8, 2006]

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