Adsense, ad-rings and ad-scams

After my article ‘Adwords and Adsense’ I received a few emails from people who were making a lot of money (or so they claimed) from being in a click ring with 100,000 other members.  They all used false email addresses so I couldn’t reply to them individually so I’ll have to do it here.

Don’t you people all realise that you are stealing??  I’m a person who used adwords to advertise my web site and I can tell you that you are STEALING my money!  There is no other way to describe it as it is theft, pure and simple.

From the tone of the emails I don’t think they really care though, as long as they get their money;  I for one hope that google find out who is in this ‘click ring’ and ban the lot of you, do you really think it’s that hard to work out who is in it from the inside?  And please don’t try to convince me that ‘google will never discover us because we are too smart for them’ – Bulldust – you only need one google person to infiltrate it in order to finish it off.  The laws of probability says that google has already infiltrated your ring and is busily gathering info.
And 100,000 members?  I don’t think so, someone would have told google waaaay before you hit that mark.

I actually went through my old adwords account today – did you know that there are some key words that are GUARANTEED to be clicked on?  I have the proof!
Nigerian letter scam, 419 scam and Nigerian scam all had a 100% click through rate!  How good is that?!?
As I have stated before though, not one person clicked any further than the home page so I’m guessing that it was the Nigerian scammers that actually find these sorts of ads and click on them in order to get them off google; or at least push our advertising expenses through the roof (which they succeeded to do with my account, I had to shut it down).
Never fear though, my account will be back.

EDIT : My account didn’t come back; google refuse to give me any information or allow me to get my account back.

ADWORDS and ADSENSE

I better start this off with an explanation of what Adwords and Adsense are; Adwords are what you use to advertise your website on google while Adsense is a method of putting google ads onto your website in order to gain revenue.
Judge it correctly and the money you earn via Adsense can pay your Adwords bill and have a bit left over (now you can anyway, when I first started you couldn’t combine the two).

When I first started with my websites (Koala comics and The best scams) I used adwords to advertise.  I was paying about $4/day (this equates to $120/month, it quickly adds up) in the hope of gaining 50 new readers each day – if one of them turned out to be a paying customer then that would cover my costs, if more than one paid then I would be making a profit; a 2% conversion rate is not too much to ask is it?

So after a month I had spent $230 (2 web sites for one month) but hadn’t produced one customer (remember that I had budgeted for about 60 customers at that time) ; I checked my log files to see that nearly all of the people that arrived from adwords didn’t get past the home page.  This surprised me as an actual issue of the comic is on my web site, surely if people visited my web site knowing that it was a comic book then they would at least read the first page.

I pulled my adwords advertising  as it was costing me money and not gaining me any customers (or readers I surmised).

Several months late I started an Adsense campaign on several of my web sites.  It was a slow process and I researched on how to improve – during this research I discovered click-fraud.

Click-fraud is when your adword campaign is clicked on for the sole reason of earning money and not caring about the advertiser (ME!!).
I couldn’t believe it when I realised that I had been a victim of click fraud – how else do you explain so many ‘targeted’ visitors not going past my home page?

Luckily google is constantly evolving its software to try and uncover click fraud.  As these methods are being discovered the offending accounts are being shut down, but when you read up on the methods that fraudsters are using do they really think that google won’t discover them sooner or later?

Click rings are the biggest example of fraud at the moment – which I also notice is where the ring leaders exploit the people who believe that they are doing the exploiting!
The best example of this is the ‘paid to surf’ programs; this is where you are paid to surf the Internet while being being paid 1-5 cents for each ad you click on.  What you don’t realise is that each click on the ad can be worth up to $60 to the ring leaders but usually around the 10-30 cent mark.

As webmaster of www.thebestscams.com I am daily sent emails from people who wish to know if something is a scam or not; these ‘paid to surf the web’ programs are ultimately fraudulent as they rip off advertisers.

So why are these programs and click fraud ‘fraudulent’?  Some may argue that there are no laws covering these processes – what about common decency of not stealing?  There is no country on this planet that allows stealing, so why is it ‘accepted’ by some on the Internet?
Make no mistake, it is theft, these people steal money from the advertisers (I’m an advertiser and not happy).  And it is theft because I paid for a visitor to visit my site, not some click bot to click on my ads and not even look at it.

If click fraud continues then there will be less advertisers; unfortunately the end result of this is that the only web sites that will be allowed to continue with adwords are large companies – so all your fraudsters should think about it, are you willing to destroy the industry for all the small and medium size businesses and leave the rich to get richer??
I really don’t know why I wrote the previous sentence, the one thing I have learnt about fraudsters is that they have no sympathy for anyone, especially not their victims, and if there is a quick dollar to be made then they will take it no matter what the short term or long term repercussions.