It seems click fraud has become such a problem that Google has started more aggressively cracking down on publishers who have adsense on their websites and YouTube partners.
The problem here is that they have become a bit too aggressive and are falsely disabling accounts because their software is incorrectly seeing accounts having invalid clicks, or that competitors are click bombing their websites. If you have a blog, and your competitor had a blog, and he see’s that you are using adsense on it. He can go through and click on your ads repeatedly and with bots to cause your adsense account to be flagged for invalid clicks. So not only are the advertisers getting the short end of the stick, but so are the publishers now as they have to turn off their ads the moment clicks jump up even slightly, or risk losing their adsense account and earnings.
This problem is even worse on YouTube because there you have no means to protect yourself or see the sources of traffic. Sure you know about where your traffic comes from, such as countries and ISP's, but you can't block based on IP address or even stop specific users from even seeing your account. You have to blanket turn off all your ads to prevent the click fraud from occurring if you suspect that it is occurring.
Yet it gets even worse, as by the time you find out that it is occurring Google will have already disabled your adsense account, forcing you to appeal using a generic form and receive a generic response back. Only massive publishers and YouTube partners receive direct lines of contact with Google, all the others are shunned and forced to go through feedback forms. Even being told that further communication will be ignored if the appeal is denied. Never before have I seen any kind of partnership program run like this with any business, let alone flat out ignoring the client. Just browsing through the YouTube partner, and AdSense help forums on Google will show hundreds of people complaining about this, with no answers from Google. Almost no one ever gets their accounts appealed and reinstated. Meaning they lose any balance they had in their account.
Now imagine this, you have been disabled in AdSense and as a result you have no way to log into adsense to view your reports, or check invalid clicks. How do you identify when the issues occurred? You can check your webserver for suspicious activity, but then what if you don’t find anything? What if you check all your logs, you remember seeing no spikes in your AdSense earnings, clicks, or impressions… How do you justify to Google and prove your innocence when there is nothing done wrong? How can you prove the absence of behavior when there is no behavior to show? How can you have them review logs when you can’t send them or contact them?
This is how click fraud has escalated in recent times, the publishers themselves are presumed guilty until proven innocent, only the largest will survive and the small publishers like myself will be left out in the cold with money stolen from us. Smaller publishers will be forced to use smaller ad agencies or build their own schemes. Yes, back in the day we all put content on the web to share our knowledge, but there is nothing wrong in wanting to make a dollar or two in the process and now we will be looking at making a few cents instead.
Last Updated: 05/11/2011 03:21 AM