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Adsense over-optimization could lead to click fraud?

I was able to talk with Retz of Pinoy Big Blogger fame in the last Philippine BlogCon and he told me that he got banned from Adsense due to click fraud, or at least that’s what the Adsense Rep told him what happened.

In short, there was too much repetitive clicking happening on his ads. And that’s it — he lost his $1,200 to $1,400 monthly revenue from Google Adsense.

The unfortunate part was he never got an early warning. They just ban him immediately.

My theory was that some of his visitors got too click happy and it’s dependent on the niche you are into, showbiz being one of the most vulnerable to click happy visitors.

So, over-optimizing your ads could get you in to trouble, eh?

The next question would be — is there life after Adsense? :) We’ll talk about this on my next post. ;)

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Avatar for Abe Olandres

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech with over 20 years of experience in the technology industry. He is one of the pioneers of blogging in the country and considered by many as the Father of Tech Blogging in the Philippines. He is also a technology consultant, a tech columnist with several national publications, resource speaker and mentor/advisor to several start-up companies.

30 Responses

  1. Avatar for resor till korsika resor till korsika says:

    sort of enjoyed this post =) not all of it – there was some things which i found a tad off but overall it was a pleasant read, thank you for the post! ;) All the best, resor till korsika

  2. Avatar for Seth Seth says:

    There are plenty of AdSense alternatives. For example, I highly recommend WidgetBucks. I’ve been earning almost twice as much with WidgetBucks compared to AdSense. Plus, the ads are optimized for WordPress, Blogger, and even TypePad. Check out this WidgetBucks review for some more info.

  3. Avatar for Gsas Gsas says:

    Yuga, on my website, I placed an Adsense Link Ad right below an Adsense Image Ad for the post pages.
    Do you see any problems with this? Does it violate the policies?


  4. Avatar for new vauxhall corsa new vauxhall corsa says:

    just to let you know that google has updated it adsense policy as of the 18/12/06 you can no longer have images next to your adsense
    as this site is doing.

    i did it with all my sites and it was great while it lasted. just thought i would tell you save someone trying to report you and get your adsense acount closed. here is the google source:

    Happychristmas every

  5. Avatar for Miguel Miguel says:

    I don’t think it was sabotage. I really think it’s the user behavior when you have a site that is read by the same click-happy people over and over again.

  6. Avatar for elmer elmer says:

    Lesson learned here.. don’t tell anybody how much you’re getting from adsense because people will be curious of what you’re doing and might do bad things to hurt you google clicks. Also, If you’re in the US be sure to declare your adsense earnings on your W2 because if you failed, later on don’t be surprise if a taxman will be knocking at your door. Im not sure though if you’re in RP, i guess it the same rule because it’s an earnings.

  7. Avatar for Miguel Miguel says:

    Another theory: Google decided it was fraud because it was the same people clicking ads over and over again. The G knows because they have your unique identifier – the cookie.

  8. Avatar for Thoughts In Binary Thoughts In Binary says:

    That blows… One of my biggest fears in this business… Although I didn’t see the layout before he got banned, I still think someone might have hi-jacked it. I myself recently experienced a Google scam. Someone actually stole and cashed my check! Me b*in about it.

  9. Avatar for issai issai says:

    ** removed as per request of the commenter **

  10. Avatar for Chris Chris says:

    Have anyone tried Yahoo contextualized ads? This could be a good alternative to adsense but i’m not yet familiar with it. But of course, adsense is still the best but we should have an alternative in case we get banned from click frauds (beyond our control) without prior warnings from Google.

    Ano po masa-suggest nyo Kuya Abe? Hope you can post more about this topic and how to avoid getting suspended by Google. Di ba nila makukuha yung IP address ng nagcommit ng excessive clicks para ma-ban ng publisher at para may defense nman ang publishers sa kanila?

  11. Avatar for markku markku says:

    retz, email ka ulit, makiusap ka, even beg if you have to. Baka makatulong din, kung may kilala kang close talaga sa google like problogger.net, email mo. Hingi ka tips, malay mo tulungan ka nya. :)

  12. Avatar for retz retz says:

    @jepoy – i received several email ive recevied several emails with the same thought…
    well may karma sila sa 2.0

    @jun – it’s hard to earn in adsense without visitors mano pa
    ang clickflip. paano magkaroon ng visitors para sa
    clickflip, well same in adsense…SEO!

    @jhay – sobra unfair, the last email they’ll send you

  13. Avatar for alwell alwell says:

    This is the reason why I don’t want to put my adsense websites on the start up page of all of the browsers on my icafe PC. Actually, i’m about to email google support about this if clicks comes from same IP everyday does that mean immediate banning of the site?

    And yes if someone hate your site he/she can play with your site and sabotage your adsense.

    I think the lesson here is spread your sites to different family members name and addresses. If something goes wrong to your account at least your earning won’t be dead in an instant. Its like backup solutions.

  14. Avatar for retz retz says:

    @kuya abe – yeah bakit wala man lang yellow card, red card agad ako?
    @markku & kuya abe – possible pa ba makabalik?
    @jepoy – >_

  15. Avatar for GUrbi GUrbi says:

    Yes, it really happens. I was banned also. Good thing my income is lower than the income of Retz. That’s why you should not optimize your ads nor tell your friends about your association with adsense. However, I have recovered after that incident and now I’m running an adsense alternative. You can take a look at my blog and see what I did.

  16. Avatar for jepoy jepoy says:

    baka mayroon lang naiinggit kay retz at nagclick ng nagclick sa mga ads nya :(

  17. Avatar for Miguel Miguel says:

    The problem with lead generation is that many/most of the affiliate or sales programs require… tada, PayPal!

  18. Avatar for jhay jhay says:

    After all that has been done and poured into Adsense optimization by bloggers and webmasters this would happen? This is so unfair of Google.

    They should atleast implement an appeals system or warning system instead of just banning sites. Maybe this would be the ‘death of Adsense’

  19. Avatar for jun jun says:

    Post it na Abe! =)

    I got an ebook called Adsense is Dead and another one Life After Adsesnse by Scott Boulch.

    His main premise is it’s “hard” to earn thru Adsense. So how toearn? His answer: Click Flipping.

    Anybody into click flipping (calling Marc and the SEOs) ? Ituo nyo naman sa mga noypi.

  20. Avatar for elmer elmer says:

    Hmmm… that means if someone doesn’t like a particular site (i.e. blog competitors etc..) they could just hire a click click army of kids in an internet cafe and boom your adsense $$$ is gone. This is a serious problem that google et. al. need to address this (maybe an appeal process) otherwise the foundation of their biz and yours will soon collapse.

  21. Avatar for Miguel Miguel says:

    I think this development will affect Marc’s masa blogger adsense niche formula. A topic for Saturday!

  22. Avatar for KK KK says:

    Check this article for answers why google is super vigilant now.


  23. Avatar for The Ca t The Ca t says:

    A few months ago, Google just did the banning. A friend of mine who was just hardly a month old blogging got banned because he was just curious what was that ad which appeared in his blog, so he clicked.

    Another friend got banned because clicks coming from his school with one IP were considered click frauds.

    Just because Google has to respond to the clamor of the advertisers and to recoup the payment in the class suit action where they have to pay millions back to the advertisers, they have banned so many that when I visited one forum, the complaints were all the same. No explanation. No appeal.

    Washington Post today’s article carries the news about another class suit action against Google and Yahoo.

    I did not know that there are people particularly in India who get paid just for clicking the ads. There are “websites” who aren’t website at all but just the same, they get the ads and they get the clicks.

    And the poor bloggers who regularly post to their websites so that traffic is high and so are the clicks were banned due to unscrupoluous website operators and network.

  24. Avatar for markku markku says:

    Poor conversion at very high CTR, and I think his earnings just plain skyrocketed with his network of weblogs. He can always appeal to them and beg for reinstatement, maybe even after a few months. I’d do that and even offer to drop the”click-happy” sites if I was in that position.

  25. Avatar for Noemi Noemi says:

    Sometimes I inadevertently click on my ads but I report them immediately to Adsense. They reply back and appreciate that I told them. Maybe Retz just has click happy visitors.

  26. Avatar for Miguel Miguel says:

    My theory is that it’s because Adsense or the advertiser figured out that the clicks don’t lead to conversions or sales.

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