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Understand Google's advertising policies, including ad approval status and account suspension
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Someone is advertising our website without our company permission

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi, someone is advertising our website home page without our knowledge and our permission to do so. We noticed it when suddenly cpc traffic in Google Analytics started to appear without us having any active ads on our adwords account. Obviously someone is doing it for whatever reason which we don't understand ! Any suggestions on how we could stop/ remove this fake ad would be very much appreciated. 

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Someone is advertising our website without our company permission

Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 2
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭

Hey Simona, how are things? (really cool name Smiley Very Happy)

 

It's very strange that someone is advertising for your website, if you don't have any relation to that. Usually people advertise to ones website when they're trying to sell affiliate products.

 

But, if you don't have any affiliate relation in any level, that's very odd indeed.

 

I think that Google Analytics will be your best friend to try and pull some useful information from it. Usually when someone send traffic to someone page, they tend to include parameters on their campaign URLs to have ways to track everything. In that case, you could go onto your GA account, at the left menu goes to: Aquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium and then select "Google / CPC".

 

From there, you could try and add a "Secondary Dimension" (this button is right below the chart) and test different metrics that may help you find some information. One thing that I can think of as secondary dimension:

 

  • Destination URL (there will be some variations on this metrics. Be careful not to select the Adwords one, since the account used to drive traffic to you is probably not linked with your GA, so that would show nothing)

You could also try to reach Adwords Support, explain the situation, give them your website URL and ask them to check if there're indeed someone else advertising for you. You can do this here:

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/8206?hl=en&hlrm=en

 

Hope this helps.

 

Cheers,

Leandro Martinez


Leandro Martinez | Basta1Click

Re: Someone is advertising our website without our company permission

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 3
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
Hi @Simona Č,
please read this article (you will understand it using Google translate). Maybe You are a victim, like explained:
http://escapestudio.hr/blog/google-adwords/adwords-unistio-oglasivaca-zbog-konkurenciju/

Re: Someone is advertising our website without our company permission

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Leandro, Miroslav

 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the situation we are experiencing at the moment.

 

Just to clarify we don’t have any affiliate relations in any level, hence we do advertising with AdWords ourselves.

 

Unfortunately, but Google Analytics doesn’t say much – all data is set to “(not set)” or “(not provided)”. We can see that there is additional campaign active with the name “(not set)”. That’s all what I can see.

 

Leandro, I did try to contact AdWords support by e-mail, explained the situation, attached the hyper link to the ad but no actions were taken so far, fake ads are still running.

 

I did some investigation on this for last couple of days and this post explains very well what we are experiencing at the moment: https://www.en.adwords-community.com/t5/Ad-Approval-Policy/Could-competitors-double-serve-against-my.... So for example if we will start our own campaign now we could face double-serving issue? Even if we are a legitimate owner of our domain we can be suspended just because someone wants to harm our business?

 

Miroslav, thank you for you post, I didn’t think about this until I saw you article today (I did managed to understand the point of it with G Translator Smiley Happy). So looks like there is another way how to suspend someone’s URL on AdWords forever?!

 

Until now I didn’t think it is so easy to harm someone’s business on AdWords, I always thought google tools generally are very safe to use and can be used with confidence. It’s so unfair that we as a legitimate owner of our domain can’t stop this from happening with AdWords settings. We have our domain linked and verified with Goggle Webmaster, why not to have the same with AdWords ? Or why not to have an option within AdWords which could allow us to choose if we want to allow affiliate advertising of our domain?

 

It is so unfair that now literally we have to sit and wait for worse.

 

If some has any ideas if it is possible to overcome this – we would be very grateful.

Re: Someone is advertising our website without our company permission

[ Edited ]
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 5
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆

Hi @Simona Č,

maybe the fastest way to protect yourself, is to claim your site as trademark. Try here:
https://services.google.com/inquiry/aw_tmcomplaint

Re: Someone is advertising our website without our company permission

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor
Hi Simona
Can you check the average visit or session duration and the bounce rate of this traffic?

This is a well known problem with GA and it's called a "ghost referrer" or simply a spam referrer. Essentially, it's a spammer remotely loading your GA code and deliberately skewing your stats. Usually, they will enter thir own site as the referrer or trigger an event or conversion with some custom text inside your analytics account.

It's extremely unlikely that someone is actually sending paid traffic to your site and I can assure you that there is no risk to your site or your AdWords account from this sort of activity.

Unfortunately, it's a bit of a pain to stop. You cannot add this traffic to a referral exclusion list. You have to filter it out. Here's a great article on this topic that will help you fix your problem http://www.lunametrics.com/blog/2015/03/19/eliminating-dumb-ghost-referral-traffic/

Finally, it's important to note too that you were unlikely deliberately targeted. These spammer pick a random set of GA property IDs and just blast the spam out. These are not real visitors and the only damage they are doing is skewing your stats. They're not real visitors and as such are not actually loading a line of HTML from your site. They're wasting the or own bandwidth.

You just have to be proactive (which you are already doing) and remove these using a filter as per the link above.

Hope that helps. Let me know if you need some further assistance.

Re: Someone is advertising our website without our company permission

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Miroslav, this is definitely what we will be looking at as soon as possible.

 

Currently, if we will be running our ads in parallel with the fake ads will it harm our AdWords account in any way? Is there a possibility that our AdWords account can be suspended because of these fake ads? Or should we wait until we get an answer from Google AdWords support? 

Re: Someone is advertising our website without our company permission

Top Contributor
# 8
Top Contributor
Hi Simona,
Unfortunately, the trademark route won't solve this. It is a waste of time. They're not actually advertising. Please see my post above.

Re: Someone is advertising our website without our company permission

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi @Dave_Davis,

 

Sorry didn't see your post as I was typing an answer for @mvarga.

 

I'm aware of ghost referrals and hits from bots. I have a filter set in GA for this. I'm sure it is not a case.

I can see an actual fake ad in google search when I search for corresponding keywords which point to our domain (landing page is our home page). I was surprised that someone is doing it as well because at the beginning I thought it is an early christmas for us - someone is spending there money to advertise us. But after doing some browsing found that this could be used as a technique to disable competitors AdWord account (or to ban a particular URL from Adwords). Now we don't know what to do - can we continue running our ads, won't we be suspended? 

Re: Someone is advertising our website without our company permission

Top Contributor
# 10
Top Contributor
Hi Simona
Thanks for the reply.

If you can see the ad then it's a completely different story, you are correct. You just mentioned GA only in your original post that I assumed it was the common problem.

The best option for you now is to contact AdWords support by phone. They'll be able to give you more information. Nobody here on the forum can look into the accounts advertising this domain so they are the only ones that can give further information.

I think it's also important to file a proper support request so that they have a record of you complaining about this as early as possible (do it today).

I just read the post of @mvarga and this could be a possibility. I would log a support request immediately and follow up by phone or live chat tomorrow when they're back in the office.