Adsense click fraud is a fools’ game

Click fraud is the act of clicking on ads for the purpose of  falsely acquiring income from advertisers.  It’s equivalent to paying in cash for false leads. Click fraud is a breach of the Google Adsense Terms of Service and policies. Reporting publishers for click fraud will result in their accounts being banned and blacklisted.

Click fraud is  a fools’ game

Clicking on your friend’s blog advertising for them and/or forming a click fraud community, within a social network and expecting that you will not be detected by their Admin and by Google is stupid.

Google defines invalid clicks as:

Manual clicks intended to increase publisher’s advertising
Clicks by automated tools, robots, or other deceptive software.

So how does Google detect click fraud activities on your website? How would they know which clicks are invalid? Google AdSense team uses three powerful tools to detect invalid clicks:

Detection and filtering techniques: Each click on an AdSense ad is monitored by Google system. Google will record the IP of each click, the time of the click, duplicate clicks and various click patterns. Google will use these factors and filter out potential invalid clicks.

Advanced monitoring techniques: Google uses its proprietary software to monitor click fraud activity. They are constantly working to improve their click fraud detection technology.

The Google Team: In addition, Google has a team that uses specialized tools and techniques to examine individual case of click fraud. When Google system detects potentially invalid clicks, a member of this team will examines the affected account.
Don’t Get Banned By Google

How to report click fraud
If you know a publisher engaging in click fraud and generating invalid clicks, you can now report the publisher by going to his or her site, clicking on the “Ads by Google” and including “invalid clicks” in the comment field. You can remain anonymous, or include your email address when you submit it.

Google is specifically targeting invalid clicks, such as click bots, click rings, “hired to click”, etc.

Advertisers who track fraudulently generated clicks to a single publisher should also be able to report this way (although you should also go through the AdWords report method as well).

Some webmasters use Google Adsense to generate 100% of their website income and the account may hold many different websites. In that case, every website is disabled at one time. An automatic disqualification can be devastating, especially when Google has no obligation to explain its decision in detail so read the contract! Not only does the account become disabled, but also existing click-through earnings are refunded back to the advertisers.

Is it that easy to get an account banned? Yes it is. The terms of service every Google Adsense Webmaster accepts, clearly describes the easy do’s and don’ts.

  • Do use the Adsense approved formats only.
  • Do keep your click-through data and income private.
  • Don’t display Adsense on registration or thank you pages.
  • Don’t use Adsense code and a competitor’s content-targeted advertisement on the same page.
  • Don’t encourage anyone else to click on ads.

For a complete list, read the Adsense policies and terms.

The easiest method an account can be banned is by a webmaster clicking on the site’s own ads. Just how many click-throughs are needed to get a site banned isn’t exposed for obvious reasons, but Google Adsense watches for multiple clicks from the same domain.  Spikes in click-through percentages are red flags. A site that rises from a consistent 1% click-through rate to a 10% click-through rate rapidly could become suspect. The actual percentage that creates the flag isn’t made public for obvious reasons.

What’s the safest way to protect an account?
Don’t click on the site’s own ads ever.

Deceptive practices work for a short time, but they always come back to hurt the originator.

Read also: 15 Common Mistakes that Violate Google Adsense TOS
Top 10 AdSense Don’ts

Note: Using Enforcement to Crack Down on ‘Click Fraud’ Microsoft filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Western Washington outlining a massive click fraud scheme believed to have impacted Microsoft’s advertising platform and potentially other networks. The case is Microsoft v. Lam, et. al., case number 09-cv-0815.

Related posts found in this blog:
Play it again, Sam: No Adsense, No Advertising
Adsense
Adsense and Ads Off Upgrades

52 thoughts on “Adsense click fraud is a fools’ game

    • I’m glad you liked this post. You’re welcome. It’s high time those who are actual bloggers creating high quality original content started reporting the leeches and click fraud fools so we can purge them from the blogosphere.

  1. Someone mentioned accounts are blocked by IP addressses. What about those that run proxy servers for this purposes?
    I don’t think the time it takes for this is worth the money (or the risk for that manner)
    My 2 cents

    Al

    • I agree that it’s not worth the time and effort. It’s a senseless and unethical practice. All that one gains is few pennies until they get caught, and then their reputation is shot.

  2. Google are getting very good at detecting click fraud patterns but are in a tricky position. If they punish all publishers for irregular click patterns then they are leaving the door open to potential sabotage.

    I do know that when sites are caught out they are banned from the SERPS, adsense accounts are shut down and IP addresses are blocked. A brand new site which suddenly gains hundreds of new visitors everyday and a healthy CTR will be highlighted and banned within a week. I think Google will only improve on cracking down on these scum.

    • I’m pretty sure Google is hard at work when it comes to detecting click fraud. Like you I have observed the revolving door effect. Google needs to act and does act because advertisers will not be continuing to contract with them if they don’t. What blows my mind is the stupidity factor of some click fraud types I have met on forums. They actually tell me they are defrauding Google rather than the advertisers. Frankly, I’m tired of explaining it to them.

  3. I don’t even understand why people try to commit click fraud… I mean, its pennies we are dealing with here… You’d be better off getting a job at your local fast-food joint or better yet… why not spend some time actually promoting your website through a legitimate channel and write some quality content… Good article and it is just something I will never understand why people do this.

    Enjoyed it like usual. Another one of your finest :)

    • @roguedeals
      Thanks for the compliment. I do agree with you and cannot fathom for the life of me why anyone would get into click fraud. Good web hosting is inexpensive. If you want to make money then spend some, and if you won’t do that then look for other work.

  4. What has Google done to stop the click-farms in China? I remember this was a problem a few years ago. For a cut of the take there used to be – or still are? – overseas clickers, mostly in China, who in a deal with certain sites, click on ads to generate revenue.

    • I have no information at all about China but I do know there are paid to click schemes out there. I’m strongly encouraged by the swift and decisive action Admin takes when we report. They delete all such crappola from the site.

    • I do too and I’m glad that Blog Catalog C Admin takes this seriously. When we mark these PMs as “spam,” then they know who to give the boot to. Co-owner of BC TonyB stated if any member breaches the TOS they are subject to removal.

  5. Agreed! Honestly, I fail to understand the psychology of these click-beggars ….. I mean if they spend the same amount of time in doing anything ethical rather than wasting their own as well as everyone else’s time by begging for clicks/engaging in fraud communities I’m sure they are going to earn much more (both money as well as respect)!

    • None of what I have provided is “secret”. All of it is available to every Adsense publisher. However, I do believe that many do not read the contracts they sign, and when they do seek Google Adsense information they don’t go to the source, instead they rely on the hearsay of presumed blogger “friends”.

  6. Unbelievable that people are willing to do this. Thank you for the info. For those that are doing this, it would be really sad to see their hard work undone because of a few cents.

  7. Thanks to all of you Blog Catalog members for responding to my broadcast. I have been reporting every click fraud invitation I get as a PM in my BC shoutbox. I have been reporting every click fraud thread I see posted to the BC General Discussion forum. I have been reporting every click fraud group I see formed at BC. I have also been reporting every thread in any BC group that’s either advocating or inviting click fraud. I have not been doing so secretly. I have had the courage to identify myself and state the facts.

    Remarkably, yesterday a member posted at “retaliation” thread to the BC General Discussion forum naming me and personally attacking me, in contravention of the TOS and the forum guidelines for forum posting, and even had the audacity to pose as a victim in it. The truth is that she has had numerous click fraud and click my affiliate link threads reported and removed by BC Admin from forum threads and from group threads as well. In addition, she also formed three click fraud groups that have been deleted.

    Will I give in and roll over and play dead for those fools who are committing and advocating click fraud, and attempting to intimidate me?

    Not on your life!

    BC Admin and Google Adsense are well aware of the situation and in order to make any headway what’s required is for BC members like us to continue to report, report, report.

  8. Thanks for post this – unfortunately the people that are into get rich quick stuff don’t care.

    I guess compare to Bernie Madoff type fraud this is kinda minor BUT still wrong and stupid.

    • The latest euphemistic terminology is now “I tapped your ads. Please tap mine.” And thses click fraud requests are being indiscriminately spammed into the shoutboxes of those who don’t even have advertising on their blogs. Arrrggghhh!

  9. Good word to the wise. You would think people could figure this out, even if they were unprincipled enough to participate, but some are always looking for a loophole. They are usually the ones who think they are being cheated. Go figure! This may settle out a few of them.

    • I hope that those who beginner bloggers who were sucked into click fraud on the advice of “friends” will smarten up, read the terms of their contract and honor them.

    • The sad thing is that these unethical people are pervasive in the blogosphere and in social networks and their gimmicky behaviors reflect badly on all of the rest of us.

    • I agree that most of these blogs are free hosted on blogspot and rarely have any valuable content, let, alone unique content. It seems many have been led to believe that one can make an income by blogging, even when they lack expertise in any niche, and have no writing or blogging skills.

  10. Totally agree, it is stupid, all the work you put into getting your blogs and websites established just to loose a main source of internet income for a quick few pennies. Don’t do it.

    My only worry with this is that a competitor website could maliciously target you and get you banned if it really is that easy to do. What protection is there against false accusation?

    Other than that if someone does practice fraudulently then they deserve to be banned.

    • IMO they ought to also be banned from every social network where they are spreading their click fraud infection as well as being banned by Google Adsense.

  11. Another pillar post. The URL link for this post should be provided to anyone who has questions about violating Adsense TOS. Having said that, I need to check my own pages because I might be breaking the rules myself. Time to fix it!

  12. Yes, it’s fool and dangerous sister. Someone can get banned from this game. Please see my blog, I made a post about it too. Adsense Secret : Do and Do Not!

    • I’ll visit your blog and read your post. The point that’s being missed here is that these fools are NOT defrauding Google. They are defrauding the little guys who contract with Google Adsense. Well, I know several business people who are so fed up that they will no longer contract. What these click fraud fools are achieving is running off advertisers and diluting the value of each click.

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