Heads Up – Phenom Click Fraud Article

I hadn’t planned on being back online full swing til Monday or so, but after only a couple hours sleep tonight I was woken by someone’s car alarm screeeeeching away. So what’s a girl to do at 4:30 a.m. and wide awake? Catch up on all the blog posts she missed the past week! 😉 I don’t seem to have missed all that much. But here’s the Pay Per Click fraud article promised over at AGoToGuy’s blog:

Pay Per Click Advertising Fraud – The Inside Story

Let me state, that I will be disclosing some common business practices in the pay per click business model. Some of these comments will make a lot of advertisers extremely unhappy. It may draw backlash from some of the engines also. Frankly, I don’t really care. My only concern is that someone from inside the industry finally addresses the issue of click fraud head on without skirting the truth. I am sure I will lose few friends in the industry over this article. I will be confirming some of the pay per click advertiser’s biggest concerns and telling you the real story about the PPC business model from behind the scenes. This is my insider information. It’s what I know from working within the search engine market and talking to employees of other engines. Out of respect for those people I will not name names and I will not point fingers. This is an industry wide issue and that is how I am approaching it.

This is one of those *must reads*.

I don’t expect I’ll be back full swing for a couple more days, but wanted to shout out a big ‘hey thanks’ to all those blog spammers that took the time to send a few spammy posts my way while I was offline. Classy. 🙄

Adsense Cheese Sites Benefit Who?

I never felt good about building what I call ‘Adsense Cheese Sites’. You know the type of site I’m talking about – yet word is – a lot of people are making a lot of money on these kinds of pages, grabbing the cash while it’s there. I’ve chosen ‘not to go there’ for several reasons and I really don’t judge anyone who went for it (too easy to happen when there’s no method of quality control in place), but here’s an interesting thread over at Webmaster World:

AdSense Common Thread In The AdSense Threads: Me, My, Mine

I just scanned the AdSense posts to confirm a nagging feeling and, I regret to confirm that what I knew intuitively was confirmed: ~ 85% of the discussion is about “me”: My income, my money, my stats are down, how do I make more money, how do you make money so I can learn how I can make money, me, money, me, money.

Dear AdSensers: Why isn’t your discussion, thread after thread after thread, about “What can I do to generate qualified leads that will convert well for advertisers so that advertisers are happy and that brings in more advertisers and there’s more money in the pot . . .”

The thread does cause pause for thought. I certainly agree that it’s in the adsense publishers best interests to provide quality visitors to adwords advertisers. Good sales = Good $ per click.

I personally do *not* advertise my adword campaigns on content. Good Lord no! But if I had control over which sites in the content network displayed my ads, or which sites *didn’t* display my ads, hmmmm, I’d be very open to that and take another look at advertising on content.

Threadwatch has posted PPC Self-Policing Does Not Replace Source Exclusion

The PPC companies created many tools for advertisers to track conversions – why haven’t they given advertisers the ability to use that information to make the most of our money? Instead the PPC companies have decided to take the position that self-policing is better than giving advertisers control.

The post mentions BlowSearch Offers Source Exclusion; When Will The Majors Do The Same?

Another Search Engine Strategies, and another show where I heard plenty of advertisers asking yet again for the ability to pick and choose exactly where their ads show up, when they buy into the search networks run by Google & Yahoo. Please, sir, may I have some exclusion? As usual, neither of the majors offered any hope of this. Is it beyond the capabilities of those two giants to offer source exclusion? No, it’s just something they continue to choose not to do.

I agree that the biggies can offer source exclusion. Of course they can. And they choose not to do so. Doing some basic math of 2 +2 = 4 and we know why: More pages displaying the ads = more traffic = more clicks = more profits.

I don’t know how long that will last though. It just takes one major player to offer this feature to advertisers, pay their publishers a premium rate and guess who’s got game? Publishers would be striving to provide *both* quality pages and traffic while Advertisers would have price wars over the best publishers.

Win Win for everyone I say.

Watch For It: Microsoft’s Paid Search

Word on the street, or in this case ThreadWatch, is that Microsoft will announce its pilot program tomorrow for paid search ads. The scoop comes from Dallas News Microsoft Plans Internet Search Ad Sales:

The prototype is in its early stages, the people said. The service probably won’t be ready for six months to a year, one person said. Yahoo spokeswoman Gaude Paez and Google’s Steve Langdon didn’t immediately return phone messages seeking comment.

Price War Talk:

MSN’s entry into the market may start a price war for advertisers, said Martin Pyykkonen, an analyst at Janco Partners Inc. in Greenwood Village, Colorado.

Microsoft spokeswoman Karen Redetzki declined to comment. Microsoft is holding briefings with reporters tomorrow, she said. MSN is holding a conference for its advertisers this week and plans to make the announcement there, the people said.

Things are really starting to cook for the contextual advertising market.

Good news for both advertisers and publishers!

Advertising With PPC

Here’s an article from Search Engine Guide that discusses the benefits of advertising on 2nd tier ppc search engines:

What’s The Deal With “Other� PPC Search Engines?

In general, you will find that if it takes you 20 clicks to get 1 sale on Google, it may take you 200 visitors to get 1 sale on a minor search engine. However, since it all comes down to ROI, you might wind up paying the same or even less per sale, as the bids are significantly lower on the 2nd Tier engine where it took 200 clicks to make 1 sale.

I agree that it comes down to ROI, and that if you’re profiting from 2nd tier ppc engines – heck they shouldn’t be blindly dismissed. *However* I have a problem with feeding pigs. I feel if you feed a pig, it encourages the pig to flourish and grow. I’m talking about click fraud and the lower tier engines have *HUGE* issues with allowing their feeds to be run through incentive sites (see this article here: Stop Click Fraud). And incentive sites aren’t their only problem.

If you want to still try advertising on ppc engines other than Google and Overture (which have their click fraud problems too, but not near as rampant), here’s some advice:

Watch your stats like a hawk. I mean it. If you have a ppc engine sending you decent traffic but the vast majority only hitting the landing page and not moving around, you could be looking at incentivized traffic. Are they buying? Are they signing up? Are they moving around your site? No? Run fast and far away.

Chances are you’re going to want to dump and run once you see your lower level ppc engine traffic quality, so only pay the absolute minimum amount necessary in your account. Makes it possible for a quick zip-zip getaway.

Don’t expect the same conversion rates that you receive from adwords. Remember, you’re comparing bananas (lower tier engines) to rich chocolate (adwords). The traffic quality *is not the same*. One reason why is that Google doesn’t have to rely on 3rd tier engines and incentivized traffic to get clicks.

Don’t bid high. If an engine farms out its traffic to lesser quality engines and incentive sites, you’ll find that there is a higher click rate on the top results, keep your bid low enough to stay below the fold or better yet – on the second page. Lower click through rates yes, but far less fraudulent traffic as well.

If you wish to pursue traffic from the lower tier engines, I wish you well. Some people, depending on what they advertise, can make it work for them. So here’s a shot of whisky to bolster your spirits, good luck and remember – you willingly paid for it! 😆

Click Fraud Awareness

More talk about paid clickers and click fraud, but only reveals a small part of what’s going on out there. Seth Godin has an entry about it on his blog:

The Secret Army Of Ad Clickers

If you’re cost per click doesn’t match your yield, perhaps it’s because there are thousands of people getting paid to click on your links…

My favorite smart 11 year old had the same question. “Why don’t they just pay people to click the links?” he wants to know.

Seth then placed this link at the end of of entry:

Link: Google Search: earn rupees clicking ads showing 954 results for various forums and websites teaching and instructing how to earn money (rupees) by clicking ppc ads.

Every few weeks PPC Click Fraud is mentioned. A few months ago this was posted somewhere on the Warrior Forum:

Stop Click Fraud

This article explains where your Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC) budget really ends up.

The feeds clamp down on the se’s Just Enough to calm the real advertisers at times, and we see occasionally Mass Crackdowns. The SE’s, In Turn, tighten the screws on the ptr po’s [program owners], to Cover their dexteriors with the feeds, and the ptr PO’s, (wise ones, lol), crack down on Themselves, And their database, (for a time), then things calm, and all slides back into complete mayham, and gross abuse by ALL THREE PARTIES once More.

The article outlines the massive paid clicking rings organized here in NORTH AMERICA! Never mind some poor country overseas. There are thousands doing it riiiiiiight here. So what countries do you target your ads to now?

I’m thinking there are a lot of affiliates making money off Adsense – no one *really* wants an uproar, do they? But Google Adsense isn’t the only target – it’s all PPC. Sorry to say it.

I won’t do Content when I advertise and there aren’t many ppc engines I’d touch with a ten foot pole :cool:. That paid clicking mess needs cleaning up.

Thanks to Search Brains for the article find.