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Return of the Belly Fat Ads with Fake Display URLs

How to Find the Real URL

     
5:00 am on Sep 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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My CTR was going down today so I checked my site and some of the belly fat and related weight loss ads are back big time displacing the ads people might actually find useful. As before, the spam ads are showing well known sites in the display URL but the actual URL goes to a different site.

If you don't know how to find the actual URL to block this is one way:

Use the Adsense preview tool, check the ad box by the spam ads and then check "Show Selected URL." This will give you the actual URL you may want to block.

9:42 am on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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That's odd because I saw a lot of them disappear today.

What's odder is that AdSense is telling me those ads represent 21% of my income!

11:16 am on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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What's odder is that AdSense is telling me those ads represent 21% of my income!

Sounds like a heavyweighted audience.

Maybe those ads are not as untargeted as we assume.

1:30 pm on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Are these are image ads?
2:00 pm on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I just saw a couple of them on one of my sites. Guess my filter list is going to be growing again.
2:05 pm on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Are these are image ads?

The ones I blocked were text ads.

2:12 pm on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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The ones I blocked were text ads.

Oh, well that's not good news.

Regular size text ads or the expanded (large) text targeted ads? Now that I think about it, I haven't seen one of those expanded (large) text ads in a long time, are they still around?

Maybe targeted ads vs regular contextual ads is a better question.

(Obviously I haven't seen a lot of these ads for some reason probably just blind luck.)

3:31 pm on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I was going to ask if these ads could be blocked in the category filter. There is a weight loss category listed.

Then I looked at the filter again and wondered what I would have to unblock. Not easy choices.

That filter needs to let us filter out more (all?) of the listed categories.

4:06 pm on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Maybe targeted ads vs regular contextual ads is a better question.

Is there an easy way to tell? I have too many pages of targeted ads to sort through to really go through that list.

I was going to ask if these ads could be blocked in the category filter. There is a weight loss category listed.

I don't mind having weight loss ads on my sites, places like Jenny Craig or weight watchers.

But the belly fat ads take up many of my ad blocks with the same ads over and over again, so my CTR plummets. Plus, at least in the past, many were associated with credit card scams. Since the latest round of ads are showing well known sites in the display URLs which are different than the real destination URLs, this indicate these new ads are certainly not on the up and up as well, so I don't want them on my sites.

6:17 pm on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Unfortunately, it only seems to be the legit companies that set their category correctly. The "tracker" companies don't intend to play fair, they are ad spammers.

If google allowed wildcards in the URLs, I would block any site with *track*, *trk* and *info.

10:04 pm on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Use the Adsense preview tool, check the ad box by the spam ads and then check "Show Selected URL." This will give you the actual URL you may want to block

Quite some time back I went down this very path and I can tell you for nothing the ads just reappeared with another URL as fast as I blocked them.

Can't exactly remember what happened but a lot of other folks were similarly affected so I think AdSense may have finally lowered the boom on them. Obviously they're b-a-c-k...

11:31 pm on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Quite some time back I went down this very path and I can tell you for nothing the ads just reappeared with another URL as fast as I blocked them.

Can't exactly remember what happened but a lot of other folks were similarly affected so I think AdSense may have finally lowered the boom on them. Obviously they're b-a-c-k...

Last time AdsenseAdvisor talked to the engineers and whatever they did behind the scenes got rid of most of the spam ads.

This time after blocking the spam ads I have not found any new ones reappear, and my CTR has returned to normal for my sites.

12:01 am on Sept 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Same with me. I had to block about 6 scammy ad tracker thingies and now my ads are more relevant than they've been in months.
12:05 am on Sept 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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When a display URL doesn't match the landing URL, that ad should not even be accepted into the system.

Something is missing here.

4:01 am on Sept 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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When a display URL doesn't match the landing URL, that ad should not even be accepted into the system.

There is a loophole in the landing=display ads check. You can change the landing URLs at a keyword level and it gets around it. There are legit companies that use this loophole (off the top of my head I know of a charity whose donation page is hosted 3rd party and they use this loophole to get the visitor directly to the donation page for a better conversion) but I imagine that this loophole will be corrected soon. Hurting many legit companies to stop a few who really should be taken down by current advertising laws about false advertising. It is a shame.

12:19 pm on Sept 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Are you sure that these ads aren't coming from a 3rd party ad network? I haven't seen them on my sites, but my sites are made to not display AdSense to users who are logged in, so I usually don't get to see the ads on my sites.
5:00 pm on Sept 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I see them all the time, so it's not a relatively new thing. They use a valid display url, with a valid domain name, but if you actually look at what the google link is made up of, you go to some third party bounce site that's impossible to track down, without actually clicking on the link

I think it's a bit sleezy on their part to use a valid website as a display url, but when I complained to Google, I got a nice email from them basically telling me I didn't understand the program and everything was fine, and don't bother complaining again.

So since then, I've filled my 500 spaces weeks ago, and again the money is starting to drop.

If you watch long enough, you can spot the mis-matched urls by the wording of the ad. Look for stuff like 'find', '100s', '1000s', 'guide' and so on. Plus it helps to know most of the competition.

5:45 pm on Sept 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Are you sure that these ads aren't coming from a 3rd party ad network?

With legitimate third party network ads, if you copy and paste the destination URL in your browser, you still end up at the display URL's site, even if the address initially goes to an ad network or marketing tracker.

2:18 am on Sept 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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There's a new round of them today, with new URLs. Lookks like it's time for daily checks once again.
3:34 am on Sept 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Well, a page on one of my sites is about Pot Belly Pig Care. Yep, you guessed it - only ads for Belly Fat. :)
2:41 pm on Sept 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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There is a loophole in the landing=display ads check. You can change the landing URLs at a keyword level and it gets around it.

Last night I tried setting up an ad group with different landing urls at the keyword level. (My own site in the display URL, affiliate link at the keyword level.)

The ads themselves were accepted just fine, but when I woke up this morning every keyword with a "wrong domain" landing URL had been disapproved. Even the keywords with a 10/10 quality score!

Disapproval reasons:

* Inaccurate Keyword URL

The campaign got a whopping four impressions before things were turned off.

Something is definitely wrong somewhere if that's not happening for the belly fat ads.

4:04 pm on Sept 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Something is definitely wrong somewhere if that's not happening for the belly fat ads.

I have not had any belly fat ads reappear since I went through and deleted all I could find a few days ago.

I've been checking all of the diet ads lately on my site and at lest one major diet brand does have a different landing URL than display URL. However when you cut and paste the landing URL in a browser address bar it does get forwarded somehow and land at the display URL site. I don't know all of the URLs for the third party adnetworks so it could be one of those.

4:17 pm on Sept 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Jane, I've done the same as you. I also blocked the "weight loss" category. My ads appear to be back on target for the time being.
5:26 pm on Sept 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Jane, I've done the same as you. I also blocked the "weight loss" category. My ads appear to be back on target for the time being.

Actually, I didn't block the entire category, just the scam ads. I don't mind the brand name diet sites ads showing up now and then.

2:20 pm on Sept 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If you're seeing ads that you feel are violating AdWords policies, please feel free to private message me with the ad's destination URL (preferable) or the visible URL. Unfortunately, I can't look into specific complaints without that information.
ASA
3:54 pm on Sept 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the offer, ASA.
12:31 am on Sept 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If you're seeing ads that you feel are violating AdWords policies, please feel free to private message me with the ad's destination URL (preferable) or the visible URL.

I don't know about everyone else, but today I couldn't find any belly fat ads with the fake URLs, and out of all the URLs already in my filter list I'm not sure which ones specifically had the fake URL issues last week.

So no sites to report from me ASA for now, but thanks again for the offer to help on this issue, as I'm sure the ads will be back again on my sites before too long.

10:06 pm on Oct 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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System: The following message was spliced on to this thread from: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google_adsense/4008859.htm [webmasterworld.com] by incredibill - 2:18 pm on Oct. 17, 2009 (PST -8)


Dear Publishers:

How would you like to get rich quick by offering Belly Fat products and services via our elite ads served by industry leader Double Click?

How can you make all the fast money to be well or get rid of your own double chin via Double Click? Simply turn on your ad settings to Image Ads Only.

Sincerely,

Google AdSense Team

--

I have finally turned off image ads once and for all from every site. I don't have time to monitor every ad. If I see another belly fat ad, teeth whitener ad, or any of this other b.s., I hope the "company" offering the junk gets DoS'd into the internet abyss. I thought Google was above this. I know, I know, it's still early. Give the Plexers another ten years and it'll be gone. Gotta be patient.

:)

p/g

11:56 pm on Oct 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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slightly OT, but relevant in one way ;o)

with a 120x600 block (and verdana font), any ad urls with 18 characters have the last part of the url out of view (cut-off)

this means any .com urls end up as .con (missing the last part of the "m")

made me chuckle, then realised i probably shouldn't find it funny!