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Click fraud is becoming a huge problem

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# 1
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It's becoming more and  more difficult to measure results lately as we have seen a ton of click fraud activity on numerous accounts.

 

Example:

 

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Lead Type:  Pay Per Click

Campaign: CCL 30% Off

Keyword: +Discount +Shoes


Company: google

Name: Assisyclalpat

Job Title:

Email: gerogeramirson@aol.co.uk

Phone: 1234567

Message:
Get amazing web traffic using amazing xrumer blast today. We are able post your marketing post up to 10K forums around the web, get insane amount of backlinks and incredible web traffic in shortest time. Most affordable and most powerful service for web traffic and backlinks in the world!!!! Price just from $29 your post will be published up to 100000 forums worldwide your website will get insatnt traffic and massive increase in rankings just after few days or weeks. Order now: xrumer

 

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After scrubbing through our clients databases, we have found over 400 lead submissions that look exactly like the lead above. What's even more odd is that our ads run in America only and a large majority of the emails are outside of the united states.

 

We've yet to see a single click fraud credit on all of our accounts. I'm not sure why all of a sudden there is becoming more and more click fraud but there needs to be something in place that helps combat these malicious activities.

 

We run ads on Microsoft AdCenter and we can't find a single lead that is from their ad platform. I talked to our account rep at MicroSoft and they say they have a very great system set in place to combat malicious activies. We can clearly see that their system is working because we don't have a single lead from AdCenter that is spammy. Not sure why that is but it strikes us odd that Google is not doing anything about this.

 

What's your thoughts on this activity?

 

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Click fraud is becoming a huge problem

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# 2
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can you check if you're being billed for these? It doesn't help that Adwords & Analytics don't provide IP data. But you syhould be able to trace them through time if you have the the conversion tracking set up.

Re: Click fraud is becoming a huge problem

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# 3
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Yes, because on our branding accounts, we have seen negatives for click activities, but for our clients accounts, we don't see anything. This has been ongoing for roughly around 6 months and after doing research I've found that a software company created an application that specifically goes around and clicks business ads in order to spam... the indexed page for the software was about 7 months ago as well.

Re: Click fraud is becoming a huge problem

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

Hello;

This is a specific case that should be investigated by Google's click fraud team. Have you reported the case to Google ?

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

Re: Click fraud is becoming a huge problem

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# 5
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Well, I wouldn't use the terminology "specific case" because that would imply that this is something that is only happening to us and yes we have been in talks with our account manager regarding the issue and they are trying to investigate.

 

We also experience more of these spam lead submissions and registrations happening with online display.

Re: Click fraud is becoming a huge problem

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# 6
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Hello Drock,

 

First of all, can you confirm that these spam messages actually are coming through AdWords to your site? Do/did you recored the GCLID? If not, do that first and verify the source of this activity. There is a big chance that this activity does not come through AdWords. If it does, it would help the Ad Traffic Quality team (who investigates potential click fraud) if you can provide them with the GCLIDs so they can narrow the activity down and verify if you have been charged for these clicks or not.

 

Keep in mind that if you are not charged, then that is where the buck stops for Google. Google can not be help responsible what someone does when they come to your site as long as they don't charge for the clicks. That said, if this activity was a result of click spam for which you were charged then they can credit you and make sure this activity does not gets charged for again.

 

You may also want to read up on http://www.google.com/ads/adtrafficquality/advertisers/best-practices-for-generating-leads.html#get-...

 

To better understand how to identify traffic coming from Google I recommend you read this article: http://www.google.com/ads/adtrafficquality/advertisers/better-understand-your-ad-traffic.html

 

Last but not least, if you do identify that the traffic producing these spam messages comes through AdWords do also check the referrals (especially with the display network) and see if you can block the category where your ads are shown (e.g. if the traffic is coming from properties such as YouTube or parked domains). 

 

I hope this helps,

 

Fili

 

-- former Google support engineer on the Ad Traffic Quality team :smileyhappy:

 

find me at http://fili.org/

Re: Click fraud is becoming a huge problem

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# 7
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Hi Fili,

 

Perhaps you didn't take the time to look at the information that I provided. If you had taken as much time to read my original post as you did to write your response, you would have known that we were using ValueTrack to pass adwords data to our contact forms. How do you think we were able to scrub our customers database to find all of this malicious activity?

 

We understand Google is no responsible for what users do when they come to our site but they need to be held accountable for malicious activities from companies looking to use sponsored listings as a way to advertise their products and services through lead capture forms.

 

We do not need to read up on best practices for generating leads. We do just fine with generating leads for our clients. This isn't our first day on the job my friend, we've been in business for many years not only providing superior customer support but also high quality leads that drive revenue.

 

It doesn't strike me odd that a former Google support engineer on the Ad Traffic Quality team wouldn't do their due dillegence and read what was presented. The level of support we've received from the adwords teams has been below industry standards. We now know why this is... just do a Google search and you will find a large community of individuals who are upset with the poor customer support that they have received.

 

Anyhoot, I'm in talks with an old co-worker of mine that is now employed with Google. We are in the works of getting things sistuated, it's just a bit upsetting that in order to receive support, you need an "IN" to be taken seriously.

Re: Click fraud is becoming a huge problem

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 8
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Hello Drock,

 

Please be aware I did read all your posts in this thread, and I did not see a single GCLID referenced in your posts. I don't know what ValueTrack is because this is irrelevant compared to GCLIDs. So unless you actually record the GCLIDs you can not be sure that this traffic is coming from Google AdWords clicks. It is as simple as that. As explained in the articles I shared.

 

To address your second concern regarding responsibility: Google can only be held responsible for if they charge for the traffic they sent to you or not through AdWords. And can not be held responsible for any possible action that is taken on your side (be it becoming a customer or spamming you). The charge for the click is the only thing they can be held rsponsible for. You need to take responsibility for your own lead generation form and record the right details. If you do this, then you can prevent the spam messages from ever reaching you (this is actually quite easy in most cases). Of course, it is good to let Google know about the GCLIDs (as mentioned earlier) of any suspicious activity you may detect.

 

Regarding your qualifications, sorry to hear that you feel you need to defend yourself. I did not think this was your first day on the job. It never crossed my mind. Don't worry Smiley Happy 

 

Regarding needing to be "IN", that is nonsense. Any AdWords customer can address their concerns by sending an email to or phone AdWords support. In addition, there is this other article that helps you get the support you need. See also http://www.google.com/ads/adtrafficquality/advertisers/click-investigation-request.html

 

Please do take a few minutes to read the articles I shared as they will help you. And yes, do let AdWords know about any suspicious activity you come across. They want to know this. However, be sure to record the right details and forward these (send them GCLIDs). This will make it easier and better for you and them.

 

Hope this helps Smiley Happy

 

Fili

 

 

-- former Google support engineer on the Ad Traffic Quality team :smileyhappy:

 

find me at http://fili.org/

Re: Click fraud is becoming a huge problem

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# 9
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LOL, you don't know what "valuetrack" is and you use to work for Google? LOL!!!

 

GCLID information is stored in the database my friend as another hidden field in the web form and also stored as cookie data for returning visitors.

 

It shouldn't be up to us to do all the investigation work and present it to our vendor (google). That's be like taking your car into the mechanic shop and then them asking you to buy the parts and deliver it to them the next morning. You are clearly not understanding the problem is happening within the middle-man (Google). It is Google's job to make sure malicious activity is not occuring before they click-through to customers websites.

 

To your response about needing an IN as nonsense, how many Adwords accounts do you currently manage day in and day out? We manage Thousands of adwords accounts day in and day out and it's known that you need an "IN" in order to get real support. You can contact customer support all day long and you will not get good customer service. How do I know this? Oh yea, we have an employee who worked for Google in India, I'm sure I don't need to explain to you how their customer support computers are set now do I Smiley Wink

 

We've already sent our server logs to Google, just waiting to hear back.

 

Lastly, all of our web forms have a number of different levels of spam detection built in.


1.) We verify email addresses by pinging the mail server to make sure that the email address is valid. This is called Email Verification, just incase you are unaware of this methodology.

 

2.) We have a honey pot setup for all web forms, so that if a hidden field has info in it, then the lead form never gets submitted.

 

3.) We have captcha for all of our lead forms.

 

You must know that no matter what you do, spammers find a way to easily detect all methods and get around it. Email verification? spammers use valid emails now. Honey Pot? Spammers are able to detect this very easily. Captchas? There are warehouses full of people that sit down and capture the captchas all day and you can buy the answers to the captchas now... the list goes on and on my friend.

 

Considering over 90% of Google revenue comes from paid search, you would think that they would invest more money into technology that is able to combat these spammers doing illegal and fraudulent activities.... but instead they invest money on failed products that nobody uses. Lets get with the program here, us advertisers are getting the short end of the stick.

Re: Click fraud is becoming a huge problem

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# 10
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Here's education about valuetrack for you.

 

ValueTrack is our easy-to-use AdWords URL-tagging feature. ValueTrack works with Google Analytics or your own tracking solution to provide detailed, useful data about each click on your ad. You can use this information to fine-tune your campaigns and settings for better performance.

 

Don't say I never did anything for you Smiley Wink

 

Educate yourself my friend before posting on these forums. It doesn't look good to state you use to work for Google on the Ad Quality Team and not know what ValueTrack is... Anyone who is anyone in this industry knows how important this is, especially for integrating data into CRM and for simple database marketing.