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Phantom clicks

Am I under attack?



11:06 am on Dec 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I recent weeks I have been getting phantom clicks on certain pages with content that would suggest they are directed at me personally.

So I'd get five clicks from one page view on one page, then on another page I'd get six clicks from one page view, and no unusual clicks on the many hundreds of other pages on the site.

The Adsense robots note the activity within, say, half an hour, and the clicks are removed and my account corrected.

What I can't make out is whether this really is directed at me by someone who thinks they can damage my income, or whether it's common to have phantom clicks, maybe as a result of some process of which I know nothing.

Anybody else get this?


3:15 pm on Dec 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

No, it's not directed at you. I have them running rampant through many of my sites, and AdSense tells me they're running rampant through the entire network, but that they can identify them so that affected accounts shouldn't be at risk (all other things being equal)

Personally, I have my doubts, but all we have to go on is what Google tells us, after all.

I think this is going to be a huge issue in 2014 (it already is for me) and I think it's very possible Google may be overdoing the adjustments on the publisher side in order to keep advertiser confidence in the network, but of course, I could never prove it. It's just a gut feeling.

Bottom line - AdSense is what it is. Make sure you have a plan B. And maybe a plan C.


6:12 pm on Dec 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Anybody else get this?

In the past over a period of a few months I saw several hundred clicks in one go on specific sites, they only attacked that site once and went, then would do the same to another a few days later.

I haven't had that for quite some years until a couple of days I had one visitor from Australia click 5 times, with the value of more than USD 1.00 per click, and within 1/2 hour Google had discarded them.

Hmmm...that was on a very quiet day and very noticeable and I do get regular visitors from Oz therefore I'm a bit suspect about the deletion since I did check-out the visitor in my logs and it seemed bone-fide.


7:37 pm on Dec 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have been noticing some crazy things on one of my site. For unknown reason just 1 site is having $30~50 clicks and getting knocked down to below $1 range after 15 minute with the next few earning updates. The site noted has that sort of clicks on a daily basis. But it's wild to see the site earning $100 range to get down to $1 after a couple of system refreshes.

Not sure if it's attack, smart price, incorrect auction price by advertisers, bots, or invalid clicks being discounted. Just wild. Not saying google shouldn't discount clicks like those, (they should by all means) but just an observation of an interesting phenomenon from checking my stats way too much.

But I think as long as Google is discounting those clicks correctly, I should not worry about it?


7:46 pm on Dec 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

I see this quite often from my tracker. A person/bot will do the same search over and over and click my ad only to remain a couple of seconds and redo the above. Then I see a search done over and over with the user clicking several pages only to do the same search again and again clicking on several pages each time all from the same Ip address.


9:52 pm on Dec 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I've taken ads off pages that seem to attract strange clicks from outside the U.S. to be safe.


9:13 am on Dec 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well, it's kind of encouraging to think I'm not about to get suspended, probably. Mind you, if they get those kind of glitches I guess anything could happen.


1:53 pm on Dec 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

What you could do *now* is think about what you might do if the bot activity increases or changes.

Study your logs and take a note of the pages it hits, and see if there are any patterns there.

Look for commonalities - IP numbers, countries, OS versions, browsers.

Start thinking about how you might be able to not show AdSense to the bots (from a technical standpoint) The first time I had the problem, it was all hitting only the home page, so I just took AdSense off that page. This time it's hitting five pages, and we're not showing ads to anyone without a referrer.

In short, don't wait till something happens, but start thinking about your plan *now*.


9:51 pm on Dec 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks guys.

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