Click Fraud and Adsense

May 2, 2007

With every good invention in the world of the internet comes a group of malicious individuals. This has become an increasing problem, for example viruses and trojan horse programs came along with mp3 downloads, video downloads and program downloads. This trend has also found its way into the world of PPC advertising and has its effects on Google Adsense publishers.

Click fraud is a real problem that has perhaps not received its due attention and in this post I will discuss the issue in depth and how it affects Adsense publishers. I will also give some tips on how to avoid being a victim or if you have fallen prey to click fraud, I will give some tips on the steps to follow.

So what is click fraud anyway? Well, a definition from Wikipedia is as follows:

"Click fraud is a type of internet crime that occurs in pay per click online advertising when a person, automated script, or computer program imitates a legitimate user of a web browser clicking on an ad, for the purpose of generating a charge per click without having actual interest in the target of the ad's link. Click fraud is the subject of some controversy and increasing litigation due to the advertising networks being a key beneficiary of the fraud."

Click fraud has a double bad impact. On the one hand, for advertisers using the Google Adwords program click fraud results in very high bills paid for advertising expenses. This issue saw Google facing class action lawsuits back in 2005 so it is a serious problem. On the other hand for publishers using the Google Adsense program, click fraud results in invalid clicks and that means your adsense account will be banned and this affects your earnings. Sometimes, Google will warn you that you have invalid clicks, in this case you then need to ask Google for help on tracking where this activity is coming from or why they suggest this. On the other hand, if you pick up or detect invalid clicks before Google does, then send an email to Google immediately and request help from them.

As an adsense publisher you can no longer be blind. There are means and ways of preventing your site or blog from becoming the victim of click fraud. Some of these ways are to use software and code to detect user behavior and to track IP addresses and so on. In the case of click fraud, prevention is the cure because if you do not watch and track your ads, Google might not be nice enough to warn you about invalid clicks. Not all software does exactly what you need but I have come across a few that I tried and would make a recommendation on.

Some of the software you can use is as follows:


  1. Onestat - allows you to sign up for a free trial for 4 weeks. This software allows you to track unique visitors, visitor behavior, search engines and online commerce and advertising campaigns. They have different pricing depending on the size of your site but for small to medium sites you pay as little as $10.42 per month for the service.
  2. asRep - also allows you test it. This is a script that you install on your webpages and it allows you to track exactly what happens with your visitors, referrers and adsense activity.


If there is an important activity for you as an adsense publisher, you should not be blind to what is going on with your ads. Although the adsense program itself provides some stats, it is best to use other tracking software so that you can get the full picture and second opinion if you will on your adsense performance.

Hope this post was of help to you.



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