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There is a discussion going on about a rogue bot that seems to be coming from the MSN IP range. One of the anomalies about this particular bot, aside from the fact that it is filling logfiles with non-existent spam type referrals from Live Search, is that it appears to be selectively downloading and processing AdSense code. This is causing inflated impressions reporting with Google.
So, how's this for tinfoil hat thinking?
The bot appears to be still downloading my AdSense code from Google, even though I completely blocked the IP range from hitting my site. I started noticing increased impression reporting again last night, and it is still going on today. I checked my logs, and the bot is definitely not there, but the Google AdSense Mediapartners bot is acting like it is seeing things, visiting pages as if people were there requesting the code (they aren't).
I emailed Google again (still no response from the first time), and this time asked if the increased impressions, which will lower my reported ctr, would affect my per click earnings. I have a suspicion that they will.
Now, here's the tinfoil hat bit... I just received an email from Microsoft a couple of days ago:
We’re excited to announce that Microsoft® Content Ads Beta will be released to all U.S. adCenter advertisers on August 29.
It is very suspicious to me that just before Microsoft releases their content ads program, a rogue bot apparently from their network start performing in a way that could make it look like Google's content network was performing poorly, both to advertisers and publishers alike.
Is it just me, or does anyone else find the timing on this a bit too convenient?
From reading the other thread, I get the impression that this is a screw-up, and that any inflation of AdSense impressions is a side effect and not an objective. It wouldn't be the first time that a new tool or technology from Microsoft has gone awry.
Get the impression from where? Based on what?
MSN is accidentally sending us fake spam search referrers for viagra and sex from search pages that don't exist, and in the process a side effect is that they are blowing our AdSense stats all to hell? I know they are prone to screw ups, but seriously, that's pretty off beat.
<paraphrase>they said it wouldn't affect earnings but they couldn't elaborate</paraphrase>
I wrote back asking if they could, without telling me anything about the algo, go ahead and completely discount the impressions anyways, just in case CTR factors that affected the Quality Score of AdWords inadvertently had an effect on CPC ads that were displayed, even if they weren't aware of a direct correlation. Waiting for a reply back on that one.
[edited by: jatar_k at 3:39 pm (utc) on Aug. 25, 2007]
[edit reason] no email quotes thanks [/edit]