Search Engine Watch
SEO News

Go Back   Search Engine Watch Forums > Search Engines & Directories > Google > Google AdWords
FAQ Members List Calendar Forum Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 06-08-2004   #1
theBPC
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Southern Hemisphere
Posts: 11
theBPC is on a distinguished road
Exclamation Are we all getting ripped off?

I recently came across this article, thanks to a link from a SearchEngineWatch newsletter:

http://www.infosyssec.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1496

This author is arguing that 'click for dollars' scam programs are generating fat paychecks for scam webmasters while wasting LOTS of PPC advertising budgets. This could happen by Mr. Scam Webmaster signing up to have PPC ads displayed on his site. Then, he hires folks to repeatedly clicks those ads.

I'd LOVE to hear some thoughts on this possibility. I checked the two PPC campaigns I'm being paid to manage, and a large chunk of their budget is going to content-distributed sources, i.e. PPC ads being shown on other sites outside normal search engine sites. SO, my clients could be falling prey to this attack.

Thoughts? Comments?
theBPC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2004   #2
AussieWebmaster
Forums Editor, SearchEngineWatch
 
AussieWebmaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: NYC
Posts: 8,153
AussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant future
hmmm

Quote:
Originally Posted by theBPC
I recently came across this article, thanks to a link from a SearchEngineWatch newsletter:

http://www.infosyssec.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1496

This author is arguing that 'click for dollars' scam programs are generating fat paychecks for scam webmasters while wasting LOTS of PPC advertising budgets. This could happen by Mr. Scam Webmaster signing up to have PPC ads displayed on his site. Then, he hires folks to repeatedly clicks those ads.

I'd LOVE to hear some thoughts on this possibility. I checked the two PPC campaigns I'm being paid to manage, and a large chunk of their budget is going to content-distributed sources, i.e. PPC ads being shown on other sites outside normal search engine sites. SO, my clients could be falling prey to this attack.

Thoughts? Comments?
Okay first thing go inside your campaigns and turn off the content search portion is one solution... content has not worked well for many people.
Second get a fraud tracking program.. there are many out there such as at KeywordMax.
AussieWebmaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2004   #3
theBPC
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Southern Hemisphere
Posts: 11
theBPC is on a distinguished road
Thanks, AussieWebmaster - I already deselected the Content Network.
theBPC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2004   #4
seobook
I'm blogging this
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: we are Penn State!
Posts: 1,943
seobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to all
whos clicking who is another fraud tool I have heard of

if you are not on content networks then people are not clicking your ads to generate revenue. competitors may click them to cost you money, but even when this happens it is partially offset by cheaper click price since the effective clickthrough rate has gone up
__________________
The SEO Book
seobook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2004   #5
Jeff Martin
 
Jeff Martin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 364
Jeff Martin is just really niceJeff Martin is just really niceJeff Martin is just really niceJeff Martin is just really nice
I would also like to point out that tracking conversion can be a good indicator of when something isnt right. Not too mention if you have no/low conversion, and your not branding. Thats a good indication to either rewrite your ads or dump those keyword buys all together.
__________________
Jeff Martin - SEW Moderator
Vericlix
Jeff Martin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2004   #6
AussieWebmaster
Forums Editor, SearchEngineWatch
 
AussieWebmaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: NYC
Posts: 8,153
AussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant future
hmmm

Quote:
Originally Posted by theBPC
Thanks, AussieWebmaster - I already deselected the Content Network.
So you had this deselected at the time of the problem? You need to look at the IP addresses of the clicks... if there is a large number of duplicates it could be a competitor looking to waste your money and get you to your budget limits so they can hold the spot for less.
AussieWebmaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2004   #7
andrewgoodman
 
andrewgoodman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Toronto
Posts: 637
andrewgoodman is a name known to allandrewgoodman is a name known to allandrewgoodman is a name known to allandrewgoodman is a name known to allandrewgoodman is a name known to allandrewgoodman is a name known to all
Babies, Bathwater, Etc.

I have a few comments.

- On fraud detection tools, I don't see what they offer over and above the more generic category of analytics / user tracking software. Most analytics packages offer a range of features and certainly anyone using one they're comfortable with and using it to the fullest can glean raw info about potential fraud there, and then use it to report potential violations to Google.

- I don't agree that turning content targeting off is the answer. Turning it off is a decent "when in doubt" answer, but in practice many advertisers are in expensive keyword areas and are also seeking more volume, and *if bid lower*, content targeting can and often is effective. There are ways to bid lower on it to see if it performs for you at a lower average CPC, they're just not widely used or understood.

- The real problem, with Google and Overture both, is that there is not enough channel control over content targeting. Meaning, you cannot even shut off the "bad apples" in the absence of Google/Overture taking action to police them. The technology is obviously there -- in AdSense, for example, you can type URL's into a box as a publisher, and no ads for those URL's will show up on your site. So similarly, as an advertiser, why not be given the ability to block your ad from appearing on sites that seem to be draining your funds by submitting a similar list of "blocked URL's" into the AdWords interface? And here's a neat idea... why not then make an aggregate "most banned sites" list available to advertisers so they can be aware of potential abusers? At the very least, even if not made public, the "most banned sites" list would quickly come to the attention of Google, so they would have a more rational way of policing potential abusers without having to rely on anecdotal evidence and semantic arguments from email and phone customer service exchanges with upset advertisers.

The fraud question is complex and we have to be careful not to paint PPC with a broad brush given the ROI it offers compared to traditional marketing channels. We do have the ability to overcome such problems with creativity mixed with data, and within the boundaries of the marketplace. As long as we are given some better tools to stand up for ourselves as advertisers vs. unscrupulous or simply poor-converting publishers.
andrewgoodman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2004   #8
seobook
I'm blogging this
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: we are Penn State!
Posts: 1,943
seobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to all
Google would never want to publish a *most bad apples in OUR PROGRAM* site, but whoever is the smart marketer who makes one first will likely get a ton of free link popularity from within the seo field.

that is almost a fun enough idea to make me want to learn PHP...
__________________
The SEO Book
seobook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2004   #9
AussieWebmaster
Forums Editor, SearchEngineWatch
 
AussieWebmaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: NYC
Posts: 8,153
AussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant future
hmm

Andrew I agree it can be done with due diligence of log files... but advanced tracking makes it quick and easy... the same goes for the fraud tracking... I am not down on the content search per se, all elements of the internet can be hacked...
I find that search is a better fit and has a better close ratio for me... content can work but it takes a lot of work and there is a bit of a problem when search terms have to be in search to be in content and then you want a good position for search but maybe a lower one for content... I am actually spending some time and money right now trying to solve the puzzle... if I get somewhere with it I will post info here.

I have been vocal to the people at Google about the publication option that places like Blow Search offer. It may come eventually, but not any time soon.

In the mean time a list would give Google something to look at and am sure they would... though the possibility of libel etc. would make it a fine line to walk.
AussieWebmaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2004   #10
theBPC
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Southern Hemisphere
Posts: 11
theBPC is on a distinguished road
Thumbs up

andrewgoodman - that is a great idea of allowing advertisers to opt out of certain sites. However, I don't know if it could really solve the problem. I'm guessing those scam webmasters are pretty slick and could easily move their operations to different domain names in a hurry.

Don't get me wrong: I'm NOT knocking PPC advertising. I think it offers potentially fantastic ROI and value for money. Plus, you don't have to convince customers to try your product or service; they are already actively seeking you!

Another plus is that PPC is a quick fix to SEO issues. I can immediately get on Google's first page when my actual site may rank on page 4,000.

Furthermore, PPC allows Mom and Pop to play with the big boys. I've got one campaign for a small company that usually has their ad ranked #1. Find targeted enough keywords and bingo, bring on the qualified traffic.

All I'm saying is that PART of the system may be flawed, and I would want to warn others of that. I personally have opted out of Content Search.
theBPC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2004   #11
andrewgoodman
 
andrewgoodman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Toronto
Posts: 637
andrewgoodman is a name known to allandrewgoodman is a name known to allandrewgoodman is a name known to allandrewgoodman is a name known to allandrewgoodman is a name known to allandrewgoodman is a name known to all
Not necessarily -- the "scammers" can't use a new domain name, because they'd need to apply and go through an editorial process. Now is the time for Google to make the editorial process more stringent, and stop letting in so many new ones so quickly. The existing base needs to be cleaned up first before they expand.

This used to be a bigger problem for the very reason you state: when GoTo was distributing its listings through low-quality affiliates back in the day, they had limited resources to police new applicants. Now with $billions in the coffers, Overture and Google have the resources to be more watchful of affiliate publishers.

That doesn't mean some bad apples won't sneak in, but if they do so repeatedly, their names and other identifying factors will be associated with the fraud, and I wouldn't want to be in their shoes once someone decides to sue or prosecute.

(The law does catch up. On a different topic, the "father and son spam team" from Kitchener Ontario have paid Yahoo a six-figure settlement and have signed various documents vowing to go out of the business and vowing to go around educating people about how bad spam is. I guess that's a good way to stay out of jail.)

It will also get harder for fraudulent publishers to keep at it, I feel, but along with our own tracking data, we need the PPC players to assist in blocking the bad guys.
andrewgoodman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2004   #12
DanThies
Keyword Research Super Freak
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Texas, y'all
Posts: 142
DanThies is a name known to allDanThies is a name known to allDanThies is a name known to allDanThies is a name known to allDanThies is a name known to allDanThies is a name known to all
I guess my content advertising isn't costing me that much, because I am not even slightly worried about someone in Mumbai happily clicking my listings all night long. In fact, I am almost certain I'm getting a little of that because one of my ads is showing up on a bunch of these "nigritude ultramarine" pages.

Even if I were worried, getting the ability to "opt out" of certain sites wouldn't do me any good anyway, since I would have far less of a clue than Google or Overture about which are the bad ones.

OTOH, I see content advertising as a branding thing anyway. The CTR is so low (like 0.2% or whatever) that it becomes very low cost advertising. When the CPM is 25 cents, you tend to overlook a lot of other factors.

Much more useful would be the ability to create separate campaigns and ads for content-based advertising, so you can control bids, and target different keywords. Let me have a checkbox so the ads *don't* show on Google.com, but only on Adsense. I'd put a bigger budget on that than search advertising.
DanThies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2004   #13
AussieWebmaster
Forums Editor, SearchEngineWatch
 
AussieWebmaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: NYC
Posts: 8,153
AussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant future
hmmm

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanThies
I guess my content advertising isn't costing me that much, because I am not even slightly worried about someone in Mumbai happily clicking my listings all night long. In fact, I am almost certain I'm getting a little of that because one of my ads is showing up on a bunch of these "nigritude ultramarine" pages.
Are they optimzation companies that are using their own pages and running ads for the sake of it as well?

Even if I were worried, getting the ability to "opt out" of certain sites wouldn't do me any good anyway, since I would have far less of a clue than Google or Overture about which are the bad ones.
You could use your log files and click thru to the IP or search query. Found a lot of Japanese female anamie sites in the early days of content search... guess there are a lot of young women who trade currency

OTOH, I see content advertising as a branding thing anyway. The CTR is so low (like 0.2% or whatever) that it becomes very low cost advertising. When the CPM is 25 cents, you tend to overlook a lot of other factors.
I want to advertise at those prices... I am still paying $5 a Click even at reduced rates... 12-14 on the search side... but 12.5 cents a click.... where do I sign?

Much more useful would be the ability to create separate campaigns and ads for content-based advertising, so you can control bids, and target different keywords. Let me have a checkbox so the ads *don't* show on Google.com, but only on Adsense. I'd put a bigger budget on that than search advertising.
Interesting... hey anything to get the option to choose.
It is not like Google does not realize people would like this option.
AussieWebmaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2004   #14
DanThies
Keyword Research Super Freak
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Texas, y'all
Posts: 142
DanThies is a name known to allDanThies is a name known to allDanThies is a name known to allDanThies is a name known to allDanThies is a name known to allDanThies is a name known to all
If you've got a campaign at $5 a click where you've opened it up to Adsense, I think you can expect the worst, because you're in a category where a lot of people will decide that it's worth the risk to rip you off. That's where you see 'em building pages to target your keywords, and people trying to disguise the ads as site navigation.

The "big ticket" keywords in my category are also very expensive. Stuff like "search engine optimization." There are always lower-volume terms, with lower bids. The kind of stuff that doesn't bring in much traffic on searches, is very good for content advertising because you get a lot of exposure very cheaply.

Example: CTR of 0.2%, with a 10 cent bid. That's one click for every 500 impressions, at it will cost you a dime. CPM = 20 cents. That's where we're playing in the Adsense game. Even with a 50 cent bid, you're looking at a CPM of a dollar, and very low risk that your ads are showing up in the wrong place.

Not everyone is interested in branding, though. Having our company's name on a bunch of pages that mention Wordtracker makes a lot of sense, just to build awareness.

Last edited by DanThies : 06-15-2004 at 06:53 PM. Reason: edited for grammar
DanThies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2004   #15
AussieWebmaster
Forums Editor, SearchEngineWatch
 
AussieWebmaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: NYC
Posts: 8,153
AussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant future
hmmm

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanThies
If you've got a campaign at $5 a click where you've opened it up to Adsense, I think you can expect the worst, because you're in a category where a lot of people will decide that it's worth the risk to rip you off. That's where you see 'em building pages to target your keywords, and people trying to disguise the ads as site navigation.

The "big ticket" keywords in my category are also very expensive. Stuff like "search engine optimization." There are always lower-volume terms, with lower bids. The kind of stuff that doesn't bring in much traffic on searches, is very good for content advertising because you get a lot of exposure very cheaply.

Example: CTR of 0.2%, with a 10 cent bid. That's one click for every 500 impressions, at it will cost you a dime. CPM = 20 cents. That's where we're playing in the Adsense game. Even with a 50 cent bid, you're looking at a CPM of a dollar, and very low risk that your ads are showing up in the wrong place.

Not everyone is interested in branding, though. Having our company's name on a bunch of pages that mention Wordtracker makes a lot of sense, just to build awareness.
I would be interested at those rates and may have to get the time to develop it out that way.
AussieWebmaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2004   #16
alexisb
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 3
alexisb is on a distinguished road
Geotargetting

Hi, I just wanted to add that another measure to consider (at least for Adwords, I don't use Overture yet) could be geo targetting. You can only include countries for which you want traffic.

It's a know fact that some people in India or China are "working" in the fraud click industry.

Of course, fraud click could come from everywhere, and this idea won't be useful if you need your ads seen in India and China.

Regards
alexisb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2004   #17
DanThies
Keyword Research Super Freak
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Texas, y'all
Posts: 142
DanThies is a name known to allDanThies is a name known to allDanThies is a name known to allDanThies is a name known to allDanThies is a name known to allDanThies is a name known to all
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexisb
Hi, I just wanted to add that another measure to consider (at least for Adwords, I don't use Overture yet) could be geo targetting. You can only include countries for which you want traffic.

It's a know fact that some people in India or China are "working" in the fraud click industry.
Alexis,

Most advertisers are already limiting their campaigns to specific countries, but the PPCs have no way of detecting where the clicks are coming from if they use a proxy server. Since the folks who do this are already using multiple proxy servers to avoid detection, geo-targeting isn't going to be much of a defense.
DanThies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2004   #18
AussieWebmaster
Forums Editor, SearchEngineWatch
 
AussieWebmaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: NYC
Posts: 8,153
AussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant futureAussieWebmaster has a brilliant future
On another note there are publishers who use AdSense to make a few bucks to put into other areas of marketing while restricting their direct competitors from appearing on their sites.
It seems frustrating that a publisher can restrict who appears while an advertiser cannot do the reverse.
AussieWebmaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2004   #19
alexisb
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 3
alexisb is on a distinguished road
Then we are in trouble

Ouch, I didn't know about the proxy issues to avoid geo targetting, that's bad to read.

Well, then I think the only ones who can, and should, look for solutions for click fraud, are the big PPC networks.
alexisb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2004   #20
kctipton
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 62
kctipton is on a distinguished road
News item:

http://www.newsfactor.com/story.xhtm...story_id=28609

Seems directly related to the opening post of this thread.
kctipton is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off