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.
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.
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.