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Botnet attack click fraud

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Since Saturday night we have been targeted with a highly sophisticated botnet attack clicking our ads. We spent £2000 pounds more than would be normal in one day. . Our developers downloaded the server log and we had over 40000 hits to one landing page. We have informed google, and sent over evidence. Their filters are blocking most of the traffic but a significant amount is getting through. We are spending circa 50 k per month. Our data is highly reliable and predictable, as a test for a couple of hours we massively reduced our bids, which dropped our position from an average of 1.6 to 6.6 and our ctr was still over 5 percent in that position. Obviously one of our competitors as decided they can't beat us honestly and has launched this campaign. I am finding no real information out there about how you can protect against this. Any info/ideas/experience of this out there?
1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Botnet attack click fraud

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hello,

 

As you said that you have already informed Google about it, did you receive any response to that?

 

Also, I would like to add there that Google does have highly sophisticated tools and techniques to identify invalid clicks and prevent its advertisers from getting affected. You can find details here: http://www.google.com/ads/adtrafficquality/invalid-click-protection.html

 

Here's the troubleshooter which can be followed step by step to report Invalid Clicks issue to Google: https://support.google.com/adwords/troubleshooter/2557048?hl=en

 

Pankaj

Re: Botnet attack click fraud

Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Robbie,

This does happen from time to time and adwords is usually really good with this kind of thing, whether it is detecting the fraud before you do or dealing with it when you pick it up and they don't.

I would suggest going through the link below to learn more about what you can do at this point.:
http://www.google.com/ads/adtrafficquality/invalid-click-protection.html

That being said, there are a number of articles out there that help you with preventing this kind of thing. I would suggest just doing a google search for something like "adwords protection from click fraud" and finding articles there. lyghtspeedmarketing has a nice article with some higher level stuff that you could implement.

Good Luck

Re: Botnet attack click fraud

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Thanks Clynton,

We have read all the articles including the one you mention, we have installed the software and blocked 136 of the worst offending ip addresses, however I suspect those ones google already has. We have sent over the server logs to google just now, however what concerns me is the size of this network and the amount of different ip addresses at their disposal. This is a live attack so I will keep you posted as to how long it will last. This is not some low level click fraud that is hard to prove, this is large scale organised attempt to shut down our business, and from what the google line about being really good at this I hope is the case.

Re: Botnet attack click fraud

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
A lot of weird events in live analytics are occuring which dont normally occur, On one of our landing pages (one of the ones that we suspect is getting attacked a lot) there was a visitor from somewhere on africa even though this location shouldnt display ads. The city was "CM9". After a few minutes when you hovered over the visit on the map it was saying greater manchester, it then changed to london but its location was middle of africa. It was a tablet device and when u clicked it it brought up the map of the UK, but didnt show the visit until you went back to overview. Being an avid watcher of real time analytics this is not something that has happened to me before which raises my suspicions more. Google is just one big pyramid customer service system and i have no knowledge of how my case is processing as no one can actually tell you. The girl from customer services today said there is not really any more you can do than what you are doing so its just a matter of waiting for the click team to respond as its been escalated to the "concerned team"

Re: Botnet attack click fraud

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
And another visitor coming up initially as "other" under devices with a location in africa with city "YO61" , the device then changes to tablet after 10 seconds. Any ideas what this is? This visitor is on our PPC landing pages that are only in UK.

Re: Botnet attack click fraud

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Google is good at this, lol lol. After 2 weeks we get some foreign support trying to sell the Idea to us that as we increased our budget we were showing to more people, and the spike came when we increased our budget. What a load of dung. Now I can understand how some muppets that happens for and this is a common line they give to people. However if they had bothered to look at the time of our budget increase it was when we were about to run out of budget during the attack, not the other way round. We had to make a choice to stop trading our increase our budget. They never mentioned the fact that our CTR doubled even though are average position was the same, our conversion rate halved and the fraud rate that even they detected was 500 clicks in a day compared to a monthly average of 160. They have just looked at the account for 5 minutes, seen the budget increase on the day if the surge and made an arbitrary decision. I'd respected them more if they had have came back with "we investigated fully, but couldn't find any false clicks" than an absolute common response that novices in adwords may have made. Needless to say it stopped after three days and traffic is back to normal even though we never decreased our budget. Best analytical brains in the business? No sub standard 5 minute look and relayed support Doesn't matter what you spend, when things go wrong not a lot you can do. Hope it doesn't happen again!

There is one possible answer for the surge in traffic which google couldn't explain so came up with that nonsense answer. There was three news articles that weekend in our sector and our ad was talking about price like those news articles. However it doesn't explain the click fraud detection rate increasing 50 fold

Re: Botnet attack click fraud

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
hi
i would like to know if you have found a solution against fake cliks on adwords
i have the same problem
thanks in advance for your answer

Re: Botnet attack click fraud

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
No. And Google after two weeks came back with nonsense about budget being
the reason. Duh we increased our budget when it starting happening as we
reckoned it's better to have some genuine traffic mixed in. CTR doubled and
conversion halved. We got software in and blocked 100 s and 100 s of ips.
We knew it was an attack because normally we have 10 invalid clicks or so
per day. Also we dropped our bids and in position 7 we were getting a 4
percent CTR. The norm in that position would be around 0.4. We were getting
200 invalid clicks per day on Googles records when it was happening. It
died down thankfully. Google was no help at all and they really didn't
understand the issue. They must have key metrics they look for such as
budget increase and when they find it automatically say that's the issue
but they don't bother to look at the timing of it. It was 2 weeks to get a
daft reply and it just wasn't worth our time to try and fight with them
considering the size of our account. We were just happy it was over even if
it cost us 5/10 k. Spend over 1 million dollars per year gets you no better
customer service!! Good luck with your issue. We installed a well known
adwords fraud detector to get the ips. I can't remember he name as we don't
use it anymore as we reached the limit of IPs we could block but if I find
it I'll post it here.

Re: Botnet attack click fraud

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
hi,
thank you for your answer
I understand you because i had the same problem, and the google customer
service is horrible.
the fraud detector has solved the problem or not?

Me i am locking for the best solution for this problem...