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Google Releases Analysis of Click-Fraud Detection 117

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the other-side-of-the-coin dept.
fragmentate writes "This morning Google released information about their analysis of the exaggerated click-fraud numbers. Without pointing fingers, they mention that click-fraud analysis companies need to clean up their methods. From the post, 'A rigorous technical analysis by Google engineers has found fundamental flaws in the work of several click fraud consultants - flaws that help explain why widely quoted estimates of the size of the click fraud problem are exaggerated.' They even point out some obvious shortcomings of the methods used. The entire report [PDF] is available with their complete analysis."
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Google Releases Analysis of Click-Fraud Detection

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  • Our own analysis. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:44PM (#15871484) Homepage
    For the past few years we have had ads running on adsense... 2 weeks ago, we decided we would rather lose the sales that adsense was bringing in than continue to pay google for ads that weren't generating enough revenue.

    For comparison, our conversion rates:

    Google Search: 3.5%
    Google adsense: 0.25%

    I don't know what other companies are doing.. but I wouldn't be surprised companies are considering dropping adsense. There is just to much fraud.

    Meanwhile, two friends of mine had their google accounts cancelled and funds withdrawn because Google accused them of click-fraud. Of course they had nothing to do with it and when they pleaded their cases to Google they got no reply. Google doesn't have to care because they have so many other willing partners. They were even willing to provide click logs and etc. But they just ignored ignored it. I guess it's cheaper to just cancel accounts who are suspected of click-fraud then actually investigate. But if all it takes is a few malicious users with some scripting knowledge and open proxies to ruin my revenue why should I as a publisher use Google Adsense?
    • by y5 (993724)

      Google Search: 3.5%
      Google adsense: 0.25%

      This is what kills me. Companies are so willing to fork over a ton of money for cost-per-click (CPC) advertising, when so many sites are not friendly to search engine spiders for organic (non-paid) searches. It's one of the biggest, and most overlooked reasons to use standards-based design practices. And it's free to do so (at least, if it's done the first time)!

      In many cases, CPC advertising is another example of throwing money at a problem for a band-aid.

      • by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @12:02AM (#15871533) Homepage
        My company has about 2MM in sales annually, and we spend almost $500,000 a year on Google Adwords. Over 90% of our sales come from Google. We're getting a conversion rate that is less then one percent and it's gotten worse over time. If it continues to drop we'll have no choice but reduce our adwords cost-per-click limit and take our advertising dollars elsewhere. No matter how you spell it, that means problems for the GOOG.
        • 500K / (2M * .9)

          Wow! 28% of revenue is for adwords? What the heck are you selling?

          Just curious...
          • Hmmm... Hosting.

            Nice site. Nice story. I will keep you in mind in the future.
            • No. Not hosting. The link you clicked on is an affiliation link to DreamHost, which he'll get money if you sign up with their hosting plans. I presume he has nothing to do with running DreamHost, other than making money from it. See DreamHost promo-code [hostingfu.com].

              In my book, people who posted direct affiliation link on Slashdot should have their creditibility discounted. Because of his affiliation link, I can wildly guess his industry might be affiliation related. Because of his high proportion of advertisement cos

              • Slasdot has own guidelines (some not written) too. I am sure if one spares time to report that crook to Admin, he will get his account/IP banned.

                It is not some "flame" or "Troll" moderators should handle. It is directly abusing Slashdot comments. Anyone posted it should be banned.

                Does that crook have homepage with dozens of affiliate links, IE exploits etc? You can bet. There is one more thing you can be sure. Google adsense embedded.

                That is the root of problem. Zero quality control.
              • In my book, people who posted direct affiliation link on Slashdot should have their creditibility discounted.

                Also people who have the word 'troll' right in their user name.
          • Capitalism is quickly becoming just as inefficent as communism once were. As companies has dicovered that advertising/marketing is far better at selling products than quality or even price. It is an armsrace that is very costly for society.

            Just look at tv advertising. 2.5 hours per day times 17minutes is over 40 minutes per day. Using a salary of $10, and assuming only half of advertising time is wasted time for the watcher (The rest is spent going to the toilet), that makes $100 wasted per month and perso
        • 90% of 2MM is 1.8MM. You are getting 1.88MM off google and you claim less than 1% conversion? Could you elaborate on the numbers?
        • MOD PARENT DOWN (Score:3, Informative)

          by spuke4000 (587845)
          The parent's comment was just ripped off verbatim from another thread about click fraud. Here's the original. [slashdot.org]
      • To clarify: CPC advertising, such as Adsense, is fine, but it should be used only as a supplement, after focusing on organic search results. This includes standards-based design, properly using meta tags, backlinking, etc.
    • Day job involves webhosting - relatively expensive ads as pay-per-click goes. We dropped adsense a while back, and have had no regrets. Many, many more conversions through search.

    • Re:Our own analysis. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by FliesLikeABrick (943848) <ryan@u13.net> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @01:01AM (#15871702)
      I ran adsense on a couple of gaming sites I'm responsible for, and my account got suspended (well, more or less I got suspended permanently since they can block me via tons of the personal info they had with my registration). I went through their appeals process and, after a long wait, got a canned response. Nobody was taking the time to personally investigate anything in the appeals, or at least it felt this way. I had logs and lots of other information and background, as well as a compromise to pull the ads from those sites and preserve a good record (aka working account) for future use. I had been planning some new major sites that would use adsense as a major revenue channel (via legit means, not some "omg click and get a free ipod" thing), but they apparently trust no one. Parent post was correct in saying that they seem to just point and close any accounts with a hint of odd activity without thinking twice, since they have thousands (millions?) of other sources of trickle income to them. I'm not a google fanboy, but I'm a strong supporter. This experience is the single, but very large, mar on their reputation, as far as I'm concerned. ... Oh, and also that nonsense with MySpace, but business is business I suppose.
    • That resonates with my personal experience from the other side. My search results are usually much more on target than the ads presented alongside the search. I've said for a long time that Google is its own worst enemy -- the search is so good that the ad targetting can never be as good.
    • Jerk city troll is just that, a troll. This is like the 7th time I've seen this exact post from him regarding adsense stories.
    • Yup. Happened to us too. (a small community run special interest portal). What's worse is that it put us on some sort of 'internet advertising blacklist' that, 2 years later, we are still on so no other internet advertiser will touch us with a barge pole. The only way around this is to change our domain name but we already have significant investment in our brand (stickers, shirts, etc) and can't afford to do that. So we continue to run by soliciting donations from our user community.

      Google do no evil?

      • >Black List

        I would think that there is something else.

        maybe you have too much overseas traffic that can not generate conversion. I would research again before you state black list.

        Onepoint
        • No need to 'research again'. Several of the other advertisers we tried to sign up readily and independantly told us that we were on a blacklist.

          The blacklist isn't some gigantic state secret. What is secret is how to get removed from the blacklist.

    • What about your "neighbours"? Complete lack of quality control. I have seen stolen opensource programs advertised as "Run Windows Vista on your Mac" (total bs btw) on high quality Mac sites. How? Google Ads enabled.

      They allow those criminals, lamers to advertise. They allow pirate software forums to have Google ads and they expect to overcome "fraud".

      Check http://groups.google.com/ [google.com] and see the crap posted to Usenet using Google groups. People naively report those criminals to Google groups and get "We don't
    • I took an e-commerce marketing class last spring. According to my professor, most internet advertising has a conversion rate of about a quarter of one percent. If your search conversion is over three percent, it shouldn't surprise you that your ad conversion is less than 1/6 of that rate. If three percent of people searching for something like your site end up converting, it should come as no surprise that only a significant fraction of that number is converting from ads which are less specificially targett
    • For comparison, our conversion rates:

      Google Search: 3.5%
      Google adsense: 0.25%

      Interesting enough, those numbers come very close to mine.
      My company also dropped adsense/adwords as means of advertisement. The ROI just isn't worth it.

      On the other hand, Adwords/Adsense proved to be the most effective method of having people e-mailing resumes to us. So, for recruiting, it really works. The number of resumes received during our campains was 3 times the usual number we receive.

  • by OverlordQ (264228) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:47PM (#15871495) Journal
    We have seen some instances of reports showing 1.5 times the number of clicks in our logs - for example, in one case 1,278 clicks were claimed as being "fraudulent" by the consultant while only 850 actually even appeared as clicks in Google's logs.

    So how many total clicks did they claim to get including the fraudulent ones? Or are they claming >100% were fake, heh.
    • Or maybe it really is that bad. It depends on how you collect this data thus creating an error margin, and if there is a sufficiently huge volume of fraud, well... the results can look very skewed but be correct nonetheless.

      The biggest problem is tracking the click through to the action verifiably. Once a user clicks and ad and goes to WidgetsForSale.Com, the WidgetsForSale folks would need to track their activity and determine whether a sale results (q: within how long?), and report those sales results to
      • You just described the business model Commission Junction has used since 2000. It works but you must work with the advertiser to make sure the pixel is correct. Google's payment system will make this easier. It can also stop fraud on the advertiser side where they say they were paid X when in fact they were paid Y.
    • Think about it this way: If some people make a living out of just crying wolf... guess what they'll do? Cry wolf. Lots. Invent gazillions of wolves to scare their customers with. Tell them that 250% of the North American wolves are in their backyard.

      So, yes, basically that's what they claimed in that case: that 150% of the clicks were fraudulent. Literally.

      Are you surprised?

      All these "click fraud consultants" are people making their money by crying wolf. Unlike any other kind of consultant, they don't even
  • by e2mtt (629911) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:50PM (#15871507) Homepage
    In this case, it sounds like some are crying "click fraud" in order to pay less for the clicks their ads generate. If they can claim large amounts of fraudulent clicks, they pay less to Google.

    Sure click fraud exists, but I imagine these "consultants" are advertising themselves as a way to pay Google less, while still having a high volume ad campaign. Taken to the logical extreme, any click-through that doesn't result in a sale was a fraudulent one.
    • by Tau_Xi (958303) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:55PM (#15871516)
      If they report that google has a very low amount of click fraud, then they see the job as a failure. This kind of thing happens all the time. A small problem gets blown way out of proportion in order to make it look like something is being accomplished.
    • Taken to the logical extreme, any click-through that doesn't result in a sale was a fraudulent one.

      Why stop there? One group took it even farther- they said that some clicks which resulted in sales were still fraudulent!

      Events identified as fraudulent in these reports, which actually match real clicks in our logs, often converted at nearly the same rate (and in some cases better) compared to other clicks. For example, in one case where 800 paid clicks were marked as fraudulent, the rate of conversion for

    • How much its revenue does Google derive from advertising? That's the money that needs following.
    • This is all horse shit. I didn't read the report and I personally do not care what claims were made in it. What I know is from personal experience, which is that when I use Adsense, I have my marketing campaign money raped from bullshit clicks from bullshit webpages. Top that with the fact that not a *SINGLE* contact I have made with a customer has come from a click through via their content network and it points to a blatent flaw in their business model.

      After reading all the stories on here that are rig
  • gasp (Score:5, Funny)

    by spykemail (983593) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:53PM (#15871514) Homepage
    Consultants fudging number for the people paying them? Say it ain't so! Next thing you know you'll be able to hire "expert" witnesses to testify in defense of science fiction over science fact... oh, wait.
  • by googisgod (855166) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @12:00AM (#15871528)
    It takes a set of balls a mile wide for Google to throw out this report that basically says "If you had access to our secret click data, you'd know how completely wrong you are about clickfraud." "Oh, I'm sorry, you don't have access to our secret click data? Tough shit."

    Look- Google could end the entire debate over clickfraud and the clickfraud detecting companies by doing one thing- for every click, tell the advertiser/publisher the IP and time of the click. That's it. That's all. They won't do it in a million years, though, not until government regulation starts to force some kind of auditing- like that which exists in every other advertising media on planet earth. (tv, radio, magazines, newspapers)

    Remember how Google just recently admitted that they charged advertisers for two valid clicks whenever they "doubleclicked" on an ad? They kept doing that practice from 2003 until march of 2005. They raked in tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit profits, none of which they are going to return. If Google had been giving out IP and time data back then, independent parties could have spotted what Google was up to immediately and you can be damn sure the practice would have stopped a lot sooner.

    Oh BTW- I know Google likes to use the "user privacy" as a reason not to reveal IPs to advertisers. But that excuse falls completely short since both the publishing website AND the advertiser both already should be seeing that IP in their own server logs. The only reason Google refuses to attach IPs to clicks is because it would allow people to see things like the doubleclick scam, or see that their clicks are coming from a country who can't even read the language of their advertisement, etc etc.

    Google, stop issuing these stupid public relation stunt "studies" saying how all the clickfraud detection companies are barking up the wrong tree when it is YOUR FAULT for not releasing data that could let people do an accurate job of keeping you in line.

    I know it's fun not being accountable to anyone, but Google my friend, you only get to pull that stunt as long as you're a monopoly. Eventually, with increased competition from yahoo and microsoft, you'll actually have to start treating your business partners with some modicum of respect.

    • by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @12:06AM (#15871546) Homepage
      It's not that simple. Google is a middle-man, they're not creating the ads. Joes Pizza shop pays Google to display their ad when certain keywords are found on a web-page. They pay different rates for different words, and they pay by the number of times their ad is displayed.

      Click-fraud hurts Joes Pizza because hey's paying Google to show his ad to potential customers, but during click-fraud, no-one is actually seeing it. He's paying for nothing. Google just takes a cut of what Joe paid, and passes the rest on to the websites that actually displayed the ads (or claimed they did).

      Google only cares about this because if Joe thinks he's paying for nothing (i.e. no real people are actually seeing his ads, and all the "clicks" he's charged for are actually fraud), he might stop paying Google to farm out his ads. If that happens, Google loses their revenue stream.

      Lots of clicks are good for Google, they get to charge Joes Pizza more. But they're only good if Joe thinks he's getting his message out to lots of people.
      • by jone1941 (516270) <(jone1941) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @12:41AM (#15871645) Homepage
        Google does not pay per impression, they pay per click. This is the reason that click fraud is so frustrating. The parents suggestions are perfectly reasonable. Providing the person creating the add and paying google with a means to audit their bill is perfectly reasonable. Does your mobile phone carrier just sent you a bill at the end of the month with minutes used and a dollar amount? They provide you with a list of phone calls made (at least mine does). Having a bill that you can audit against your records gives the bidder peice of mind. There is no ethical argument against it. As is always the case with business...there is of course a business case against it.
        • Yeah if a you get 100 clicks on an ad from the same IP its obviously click fraud. But then google bans them for that now anyway. And google is better able to detect this than the advertiser because they can analyse all clicks over their entire adsense system whereas the advertiser can only analyse the clicks for just their ad.

          The difficult thing to detect is when open proxies and zombie networks are used. How does and advertiser know going to know if those 100 distinct IP addresses are a zombie network o

          • That wasn't exactly the point of the post. You have no way of knowing right now if google is doing something illegal/unethical. The initial post for this thread mentions specifically that double clicks were being billed twice for several years. It was nice of them to tell us that after they fixed it, but how do we know something equally unethical isn't happening. Again, I would love to hear an ethical argument about why google should not provide detailed billing to its customers. You've provided a sing
            • well google is in the best position to determine if a third party is click frauding you. If you think google is click frauding you themselves, then what's to stop them from providing false information in your detailed bill? It's one thing to want a detailed bill from a mechanic, because then you can check to make sure the parts he billed you for are actually there and you can ask around to find out if the amount of labour he charged you for is reasonable. But what does a detailed bill from google do for yo

      • Ummm, what about the ads Google displays on their own website, and collects 100% of the advertising revenue from? Are they still the middleman there?
    • Actually, here's an entertaining idea for privacy concerns. Munge/Obfuscate the IP Address. If I see a bunch of clicks from xxx.xxx.253.99 or from address "Whahoopa" in a day, I can kind of assume that something fishy is going on.
    • I know it's fun not being accountable to anyone, but Google my friend, you only get to pull that stunt as long as you're a monopoly. Eventually, with increased competition from yahoo and microsoft, you'll actually have to start treating your business partners with some modicum of respect.

      Google just libeled the hell out of those guys, so it should be quite easy for them to win a lawsuit, even against the scary Google. They grab a lawyer, they sue, Google can't use the one absolute defense against such a sui

    • It takes a set of balls a mile wide for Google to throw out this report that basically says "If you had access to our secret click data, you'd know how completely wrong you are about clickfraud." "Oh, I'm sorry, you don't have access to our secret click data? Tough shit."

      Nice try, but this shows you didn't even look at the report. The report prove that the auditing firms are making exagerated estimates using just the data provided by the auditing program and the advertiser's server logs.

      They did mention t

    • What on earth makes you think IP addresses would be in any way useful?

      IP address tells you sweet FA about anything these days. AOL used to run pretty much their entire userbase via a caching web proxy, so every single AOL user showed up with a single IP address. NAT is so widespread now that 2 clicks in a short timespan from the same IP address could mean a user clicking twice on an advert, or it could simply mean two entirely different people that happen to be behind the same caching proxy/NAT router cli

    • It takes a set of balls a mile wide for Google to throw out this report that basically says "If you had access to our secret click data, you'd know how completely wrong you are about clickfraud." "Oh, I'm sorry, you don't have access to our secret click data? Tough shit."

      If you would read TFA you would realize this statement is incorrect. The click auditing firms and site owners themselves have the necessary data to filter out page reload double clicks. The problem is the auditing firms are typically on
    • There's an easy solution here, just change your Apache config to add the HTTP_REFERER to your access_log entries. This will give you all your IP addresses with the HTTP_REFERER, so you can scan for referrals from google.* and find out where those clicks came from.
  • by ezratrumpet (937206) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @12:14AM (#15871575) Journal
    If quotas exist, whether set by man or machine, mechanisms will eventually appear to ensure that quotas are met.

    If Software X must discover Y amount of fradulent clicks, then there will eventually be a means that makes certain that Y amount of fradulent clicks are discovered.

    For Google, how much of the budget depends on discovering X number or Y percent of fraudulent clicks?

    For Microsoft, how many pirated copies of Windows must be discovered each day/week/month/whatever?

    The hypothesis may apply in other cases. How much of a town's civic budget depends on income from traffic violations? What happens if traffic violations fail to raise that revenue?

    Look for quotas. Sometimes the numbers are the answer.
  • Neutral Analysis? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by otisg (92803) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @12:20AM (#15871590) Homepage Journal
    Interesting, but wouldn't it make more sense to have a neutral party do the analysis instead of Google, whose bulk of the revenue comes from those same clicks they analyzed? Having Google do the analysis and reporting is like having Microsoft do Vista benchmarking. That is, if Vista were actually ready.
  • by RallyDriver (49641) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @12:49AM (#15871675) Homepage
    .... for taking these "analysts" to task with some facts, and publically. Many companies would have just deferred to presenting it all in a libel lawsuit.

    Is click fraud an issue? Certainly.

    However, these companies purporting to provide analysis and actually providing nonsense are just as guilty of defrauding the advertisers as the click fraudsters they purport to guard against.

     
    • ... and publically [sic]

      But it's not really public is it, since google have used their own secret data - unavailable and undisclosed to the public - to do the analysis.
    • I don't see any facts in the Google analysis, just ambiguous terms and a demeaning, "You can't see what we won't show you, so you don't know what you're talking about."

      There's been a simple solution to all of this for years and that's to truly open up AdWords to the people that are paying for AdWords; the advertisers.

      They won't do that because being open hurts Google and they know it. Google has something to hide.
      • What about the auto-tagging feature mentioned in the full report, in which a unique identifier is provided for each click (with the advertiser being charged once for each identifier)? Wouldn't an advertiser recording those tags have, effectively, the same data as Google was using in its analysis (the number of clicks actually charged)?

        Don't trust the auto-tags? Compare the number of unique tags you've seen to the number of clicks Google is charging you for.

        What data are you saying Google is hiding that th
  • Log Analysis? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FuryG3 (113706) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @01:10AM (#15871720)
    Sorry for the newbie-question, I'm not someone who uses adsense.

    Can't this 'fraud' be detected through log analysis (referrers, refearing search phrases, etc)? I would think that you could also configure adsense to link to a specific page (yoursite.com/adsense.php), and monitor it that way.

    Am I way off base here?
  • Years ago... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by misleb (129952) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @01:31AM (#15871764)
    I seem to remember years ago people talking about how banner ads and pay-per-click just don't work. What happened? Is Adsense really that effective? People I talk to hardly even notice the text ads, much less click on them. No, this isn't one of those "I never click on an ad" rants. I'm really curious here. What has really changed besides a little targetting?

    My gut feeling is that Google is scamming the world. They took a model that was broken, applied some superficial "fixes" to it and got everyone to believe that banner/text ads are "in" again. Meanwhile, they hide all of their logs in the name of privacy so nobody can really tell who is clicking on what. I would not be at all surprised if 'net advertising has become like email is today... 80% fraud and junk. I trust the consultants over the companies (Google) who have an interest in protecting they're primary source of income. But that is just my gut feeling. The facts could be completely different. :-)

    • Google is the only place I click on ads. If I create a search for something I want to buy, I've found the ads are often better hits for my search than anything else in the search results. I doubt I'm alone.
    • I run Adsense on my art site, which had 1,148,325 hits, 274,550 pageviews, 23,095 visits or 5,577 visitors in July. I had 139,992 ad impressions and 114 clicks. This gives an impression-to-click-ratio of 1228:1, a ridiculously tiny fraction.

      I think these clicks are accidents that earned me a few dollars. Ignoring people who own huge sites like MySpace.com who earn wads of cash from millions of accidental clicks, I don't think anyone's making real money on banner ads.
    • But don't the consultants have an interest in proving google is doing something wrong? If they spend a lot of money and come up with a study that basically says "there is some click fraud but its not really that big of a problem, adsense works pretty good" do you think they'll get allkinds of articles written about that? Do you think anyone is going to hire the consultants to commission further studies, or fire them to devise systems to detect click fraud or whatever?

      You remember Y2K, right? Consultants

    • Re:Years ago... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Prof.Phreak (584152)
      You're likely right.

      I've never imagined "advertising" can -itself- be the bulk of any economy, as it appears to be online. (goog stock goes up, all tech stocks go up... and vice versa).

      I think what's happening is google set themselves up as middleman, they charge folks to have ads listed on their sites... and they pay folks to have stuff appear on other sites. This naturally generates fraud (people want to get paid more)---which results in google charging more---which results in more money flowing -through-
    • Don't. Not unless you can afford establishment advertising.

      Honestly. Advertising can work for the very select top tier products that become the establishment product, but in the long haul, there is only one way to make a product successful and profitable: quality.

      It doesn't have to be the best, it has to work in the customer's situation. If you sell service, do it happily and as close to perfection as possible.

      In all my years of being in business, I have never seen a good return on advertising that turned i
  • The "search engine optimization" crowd now has a convention. [searchengi...tegies.com]. It's on, right now, at the San Jose convention center. New strategies for click fraud are probably being discussed right now.

    All that evil in one place...

    • The "search engine optimization" crowd now has a convention.. It's on, right now, at the San Jose convention center.

      If there were any justice in the world, the road to the San Jose would be lined right now with large billboards giving misleading instructions, trapping conventioneers in endless loops to nowhere.

      Ah, well. A man can dream.
  • I just don't understand it.

    For example, check out Download.com. The number two most popular download is somthing for getting rid of advertisements & spyware.

    Television, there's tons of service providers pitching things to get rid of advertisements.

    The most popular things seem to be applications to share files, freely.

    Browsers, popup blockers, has been for years.

    Sometimes I find it hard to believe that anyone is actually clicking theese ads that really wants what's being sold.
    • Well, I clicked on several in the past week alone. Usually because what was being advertised happened to be what I was looking for and the organic search results didn't show me anything interesting. Let's see, this happened for a couple of careers pages I was checking out for a friend, and an advert for an economics discussion forum. I don't remember clicking on any AdSense ads, but I guess it could happen. I don't remember actually buying anything, but then again, the advertisers weren't selling.

      Remember

    • Every wonder that the click fraud consultants may have a piece of the click generating scene??? "I'll take a server or two on old tanker number 3" Just a thought,,,
    • My father clicks on all sorts of things. He falls for the "Button" that looks like a windows button. The "speed up my PC" button, which installs spyware and actually makes it slower. He clicks on things that blink. He clicks on EVERYTHING. He opens spam. Bascially, if you're over 60, and use a PC, you're the one doing the clicking.

      I spend a few hours a year cleaning his PC and making it usable again. I installed tinyPersonalFirewall a couple of years ago, and that helps with a lot of stuff.
  • ...is that Google does not even allow you to ignore clicks and impressions from your own IP for testing. Plus, the AdSense Preview tool sucks - it's too hard to block illegitimate ads / scammer sites from your own listings and it doesn't work for FireFox.
  • ...that nearly nobody will buy a product he only knows from online ads. If I want to buy something specific, I might google for it, which explains why google searches account for more sales. I might look at ads that are related to what I'm looking for. However, if I google for something else, nothing in hell, including Bill Gates, will make me buy a product that is advertised next to my search results. I might still look at it because of curiosity, but that doesn't mean I'd buy it.

    For example, I really like
  • Google is using the same concept to how lawyers bill their clients. Most lawyers ask from an agreed upon amount to be placed into a trust account, and whenever they do something for their client they simply draw down on what is in the account. They charge for everything from sending emails (no kidding!) to pages that were photocopied on your behalf, and on top of this they kick you in the balls with an hourly rate. Google asks for you to put an amount of money into an account allocated for advertising.
  • Much like how your celluar phone company prints out the list of numbers that called you, Google should provide a list of IPs that contacted the website with the search term. I don't see how it's anymore private than if you called a company because you found it in a phonebook and starting asking questions. What type of personal information is Google worried about releasing? For instance, if I search for "outlook plugin" and a company that sells the plugin shows up in the AdSense links on the side, and I clic
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I got an AdWords account to advertise my Web comic (which I won't name here, to avoid sounding like a whore). Since the comic is free, my idea of a "conversion" is someone coming to my site and looking at several pages instead of leaving immediately. I used keyword ads and got two or three clicks per day and they seemed genuine, but I wanted more clicks, so I allowed Google to show my ad on their "content" network as well, with "accelerated scheduling" to make sure it would use my budget if it could. Whe
  • If you do a search these days you'll end up with these bogus sites that only contain keywords. Some of them even look like mini, useless search sites.

    Here's an example.
    The other day I was trying to do a search on a Dimplex DS5804 electric fireplace stoves.
    So I did a search using: Dimplex DS5804

    http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=dimplex+ds5804 &btnG=Search&meta= [google.ca]
    (today) I get 105 hits but only the top 4-5 are real site (YMMV)
    The rest are these bogus sites, IF they come up at all.

    Since Google does
    • You forget that those bogus sites have ads on them. That is how they make money. They get a user to click thier link in the google search results, and when the user realizes that they aren't going to find the information they are looking for on that site, they might see an ad that looks like it might have the correct information and they click it. You and I would never do that... but obviously someone is.
    • It used to be that when I was using Google to search for something generic, I would get a mix of aggregators/link farms and legit sites in the returned results. Usually the legit sites were near the top and had some relevance to what I was looking for, even if I eventually needed to refine the search to find exactly what I was looking for. In cases where I was searching for something specific, like an appliance name and model number, the results were almost all legit sites.

      These days, even targeted searches
  • I thought Google's solution for this was to transition from a click-based revenue model to a transaction-based revenue model. That is, instead of charging per click, they charge per each successful transaction that occurs as a result of the ad's placement. If 0.05% of clicks result in a sale, for example, they would charge 2000 times one click for each successful sale. Of course, if no sales occur, this would result in less revenue for Google; they would have to enforce a floor charge to ensure they make mo
  • OK, I'm exaggerating. But adsense is really revolutionary. I've just put adsense in my web site. It will give me a small amount of money every month, something enough to pay for the server. I would never have ads from big companies. If I had to sell ads, the earned money wouldn't pay my time.

    Adsense gives a steady flow of money to micro-publishers. Little companies giving money to little publishers. Finally, publishing in the web is economically viable.

    Sure, the announcers get more from their money from

  • I just wanted to shout out a great big “thank you to the people who wrote the following posts which served me as very effective karma whoring material. Keep up the good work, guys!

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=191136&cid=157 14932 [slashdot.org]
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=191136&cid=157 14605 [slashdot.org]
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=191136&cid=157 14541 [slashdot.org]
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=191136&cid=157 14582 [slashdot.org]
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=191136&cid=157 14572 [slashdot.org]
    http://slashdot.org/comme [slashdot.org]
  • Another very obvious source of mistakes by someone trying to audit from using only logs is BOOKMARKS... if a visitor bookmarks the landing page, and the adwords client is using tracking URLs (and anyone with a clue is), then the tracking URL is saved in the bookmark. When the visitor uses the bookmark again to revisit the site a minute, a day or months later, it "looks" like another Adword click. The only difference will be that the referring URL is blank (bookmarked requests do not send a referring UR

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin

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