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Creating an "Ad Safe" mode for my site

I blabbed to my friends and family, but I don't want them to click.

     
1:56 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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First of all...Hello World! My first post ever.

I've seen the advice in several different threads to avoid telling people you know about your websites in order to prevent the risk that they might try to "help" you by clicking on your AdSense ads.

Obviously, that's sound advice, but of course being an overexcited newbie who has experienced real traffic for the very first time, I have already blown this advice to smithereens (It's human nature...I was excited). I did learn quickly that the first thing that pops into people's heads is the notion that they might "help" you, and I have been very emphatic that this would not be "help" at all.

However, I am tempted to go a step further by creating a "safe mode" for friends and family. Instead of sending them directly to the home page on my site, I would instruct them to visit a special "friends" page, which would drop a cookie on their machines and write their IP address to a data table. Then, on the rest of my site, if my php code sees the cookie or IP address, it would not render the ads but instead display a non-clickable "safe mode" graphic in the same dimensions, perhaps with a friendly message in the graphics letting them know they are special visitors to me and thanking them for using my "safe mode."

I will of course be more discreet going forward. But since the horses have already left the barn, this seems a reasonable way to do some damage control. Additionally, because I have a need to show my sites to prospective employers, I won't always be able to maintain my silence completely.

Does this sound like a reasonable approach? Does anyone see problems with doing this or have any advice along these lines?

1:59 pm on Sept 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Prospective employers won't launch a click attack.

Regarding 'ad safe' mode - consider using an ip to location database to cut out your whole town or city. Unless your site targets that particular area it is likely only a very tiny fraction of your overall traffic and a loss worth taking.

2:16 pm on Sept 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have a similar, though somewhat opposite problem. I've kept mum about my sites thus far, but once I start doing this full time next month, the questions will come flooding in and I'm not sure how to respond. I'm a believer in the advice about not divulging your sites. I don't think there's a good technical solution, as anyone you've told could just type in your domain, or the cookie can get cleared. I understand the desire for a solution, but I think what you've suggested is probably more trouble than it's worth.
2:40 pm on Sept 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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FourDegreez --

If the people asking the questions aren't too technically inclined, one solution might be to toss out a jargon-laced explanation that will make their eyes glaze over. Something like:

"I'm doing working independently on an internet project optimizing a click-stream revenue model."

They'll tend to nod off at the point where you say "project optimizing." When their friends ask what you do, they'll say:

"I don't know. It's something technical with computers and the Internet."

You may be right about this...I might be fretting over not much. Everyone I spoke to seemed to grasp that it was important not to click, and none of these people are likely to attempt sabotage.

Vincevincevince --

Thanks for the suggestion on location blocking. I'm a little hesitant to completely block my own town because my site does in fact have a lot of location-specific ad channels, and my home base is one of the larger ones. But I will definitely look into bringing myself up to speed on how to resolve locations by IP address, as this would be very useful for me.

6:30 pm on Sept 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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when it comes up, and it does,i just say i get paid by the impression or when someone buys something or signs up for something i get a % of the sale or a flat "finders" fee.i dont even bring ppc into the conversation,better safe than sorry. not only for the slim click fraud chance, but i also don't want a bunch of new publishers in my niche using my adwords ads to fund their attempts at gaming google.
6:33 pm on Sept 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I've seen the advice in several different threads to avoid telling people you know about your websites in order to prevent the risk that they might try to "help" you by clicking on your AdSense ads.

Relax. Don't worry.

Matt

ann

6:46 pm on Sept 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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All people are simply told that I 'rent' some of my webspace to ad companies that put ads up for their clients..for a flat rate fee.

I get a few wows and how does it work, then it is jargon time. :)

Ann

7:34 pm on Sept 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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When I told a few people how revenue is generated (PPC), the conversation gets really weird when I tell them never to click on the ads. They ask why. I tell them it could get me banned. They ask why. I tell them having close IP addresses (geographically), google might think I'm clicking my own ads, cost money to advertisers and ban me. They ask why... etc, for some time. What they can't wrap around their heads is how it is seemingly easy for anyone who don't like you or your sites to just ban you from the program.

But nowadays I just lie and tell people it's either CPM or affiliate based, sparing me a long boring explanation.

8:14 pm on Sept 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Why is it that Adsense doesn't offer an easy solution to this problem? Surely they have made enough money from the services of publishers by now that out of courtesy and respect they could figure out an Adsense side solution for this.
9:03 pm on Sept 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm not really sure that friends are that interested in a widget site in my experience. An axplanation of "lots of different adverts" with an emphasis on the afiliates (% of sales) seems to work for me.
9:08 pm on Sept 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thanks everyone for the feedback. Especially thanks to Matt for the reassurance.

I'm thinking that one non-refillable prescription of Valium should be standard issue for us newbies. :-)

11:02 pm on Sept 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I second the IP to location database solution, it may lose me a few dollars a year in genuine clicks but it's worth it to prevent any 'helpful' clicking behaviour.

BTW welcome texguy :-D

4:33 pm on Sept 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have told friends I work on the internet and earn from the advertising on my sites, I have not gone into detail and given them the actual web site details.

OK most of them are not web savy so don't ask but so far it has worked for me.

4:40 pm on Sept 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have a safe mode for the other notebooks in my family

Safe mode by special user agent string

One of my internet promotion clients has a fixed IP and works in the same business as my most important online magazines write about.

Safe mode by fixed IP

In case of safe mode, I show Amazon ads instead of AdSense.