THEN, one of our other competitors started outspending us a bit in Adwords. It hurt, but wasn't the end of the world because we could afford to spend just a little more.
However, it seems that as soon as we went over a certain amount, our budgets started getting exceeded by about 10am in the morning.
But our competitors ads kept going.
We contacted Google to find out what was going on. None of these clicks were even resulting in business, contacts, nothing. So we assumed the worst, our competitor was having someone click all our ads.
This process started the downward spiral for our business. Not being able to stay live in Adwords long enough to get any new business was devastating and I sure as heck wasn't going to participate in clicking on my competitors ads because that's fraud as far as I know. SO, we just suffered and I couldn't get any support from Google.
In other news, the business has been closed for a year and Bing still lists it as open with photos, etc. We've tried marking it closed OVER AND OVER again and nothing is changing. We finally got on the phone to them and they actually said they can't change the search results. It's irritating to see a year old business open on Bing that's closed everywhere else.
Sorry to hear about your experience. That sucks.
Locksmiths are now a restricted business as grey hat marketers figured it was an industry with a high ticket price and autonomous demand, and the search term was always "locksmith <city>" - so they set up sites that would flood the results, demand payment upfront for a call out, and then have a virtual assistant forward the business on to an actual locksmith in the city - essentially scooping hundreds of dollars for doing nothing but obfuscating who the real locksmiths are and forwarding the leads on them.
Flowers are the same as you describe. It's depressing to see how easy it is to make money if you're a total scumbag.
Disclaimer: I work for G, but not in search or ads. Opinions are mine.
That's their product. Their customers are the people buying ads.
The people using their search engine are really more customers who pay input for service. The company sustains itself by processing the product and selling it to another group of customers pay- which is a significant difference as they have agency.
Look at the game free to play model and why pay to win is doomed to failure. There may be "whales" - the customers who pay signficant ammounts of cash but the demand the free players as content effectively. If a pay to win content is sold and drives off the free to play the whales will follow for lack of content. Proper "product" would be game AI or employees as a "rented" or "spoiling" product equivalent. The free players are customers who provide input mediated through the game server to create a product which is sold to cash customers.
Despite the dystopian rhetoric the input customers aren't like livestock because they aren't transfereable, have the agency and can meaningfully opt out.
Bing can't just buy 10 m billion users from Google to try to improve their user base. They need to get their user base directly no matter how they reach them.
Google itself is doing much the same thing and profiting from it. They have become the go-to source for many people looking for a locksmith, when there are other ways to find them.
Maybe there's more to this than has been described, but on the surface, it seems like a common business model.
> Doesn't Google prevent click fraud?
> Google does detect click fraud, but does not prevent it. Instead, Google will give back credit to your account days after the fraud took place and only after you claim it. The immediate result would be that your ad budget would be exhausted and your ad will not be online for hours or even days. In addition, Google's click fraud characteristics are identical for all advertisers. While 10 clicks from the same IP address in a period of a day is completely normal for one advertiser, another might see this as nothing but click fraud. ClickCease will keep your ad online and will configure the service to best suit your business needs.
These were clicks I knew well, as we ran groups of ads from several businesses in the areas that all did the same thing. I knew by the pattern, there was no way 200 people from 8a -9a clicked over to this business's ad, and could also tell by the lack of calls / appointments.
The real kicker was these ads are limited to only show basically along a 5 mile path of highway, very few rooftops in that area - as to get mobile searchers on that side of town - so they were convinced hundreds of people driving down the highway had all clicked over for info and no appointments while driving.
They said no proof, no refund, have a nice day.
Rampant fraud = lack of trust in your product/service, which can destroy your whole business.
The internet fraud you hear about is only the tip of the iceberg, and there's much more of it that is prevented by various companies (either Google, Cloudflare, etc.)
They dominate search traffic (in the markets/countries they exist for). Businesses don't use AdWords because they "trust" Google. They suffer through using AdWords because it's the only game in town.
"If advertisers believed the company's operation were fraud-filled, they could take their money elsewhere and the business would falter."
That's it, in a nutshell.
(and if they had 100 people working on this in 2015; you better believe that number is much higher now)
Maybe Google had more competition in 2015.
Although I find even that difficult to take seriously.
Where else would they "take their money"? Facebook? I doubt that Facebook ads show up in web searches.
And where would that be, exactly?
It's in in Dutch, but it's the typical misleading, copyright infringing ad you would find on shady porn sites.
Why does Google allow this ad? Don't they have the competence to filter it? It's the same company creating a great spam filter on gmail and leading in a lot of AI fields. Surely they could. But they just don't care when they get paid for it.
On the other hand, when they don't get paid or it negatively affects them, they're always happy to make changes "to protect the users" (e.g. changing chrome so adblock plus stops working etc.)
The most simple explanation is because they make money with it, and get away with it. A good question is why they get away with it.
As for people in The Netherlands, my mother got scammed by a fake locksmith. He asked her to pay with PIN, and he did not fix the problem (which we found out eventually). Total scumbag, yet he was first hit on Google. Here's some good advice on how to find a good locksmith (slotenmaker) in Dutch .
Think about it would take to detect it algorithmically. Even if an image is copyrighted there is no mechanism to tell if the source actually has permission from it especially with the "born copyrighted" doctrine. Even if there was some vast self defeating registered copyrighted images database (containing images of everything copyrighted) it woukd be possible to distort images to be human recognizible but not machine recognized.
The "alternatives" of demanded manual ad control would mean massively disadvantaging smaller business by marginal costs. Oops.
This has been my conclusion several times after digging deep into some weird data and discovering one of these...'grey areas' where it seems like if they cared about their customers they'd be doing something about it, but presumably they prefer having revenue from unsophisticated ad buyers.
Some of the things they turn on by default are straight up rackets, "Search Partners" for example. Companies like ask.com are arbitraging keyword traffic by buying ads to their own search results pages. These are "Search Partners" that show the ads you're paying Google for, but they're full of dark patterns to make you click the ads, and cost the same as a click directly from the Google results!
Could you elaborate?
That's a great way of putting it and 100% accurate. Fast food joints set a minimal customer service level magnitudes better than Google.
Google has a lot of really good tools, that they could sell to enterprise. You could argue that they have the only viable Office365 alternative for non-tech enterprise. But they just don’t seem to know how to sell it because their advertising monopoly infects everything they do.
The single place they’ve been successful is in education, and even there they are struggling to keep supplying what schools actually want + privacy. So I fully expect to see them driven out of this space in the coming decade.
It is sort of a "cars don't handle rugged terrain as well as horses" thing, it isn't crippling when the use case is paved roads. It may suck for your use case but it makes sense.
I helped them fix a lot of bugs and broken processes, but I'm better than most at making reports. If they had to deal with bad developers blaming Google for problems that had nothing to do with Google, that would waste a lot of time. But on the other hand, if we didn't pay for support, those problems probably never would have been fixed, and I don't think we were ever compensated or given discount support for helping.
The only place I've gotten actual support from Google was with Ads and my company at the time was spending 9 figures.
> Not true... you just have to pay for it. I worked for A fortune 100 company
It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that there only about 100 companies who can afford Fortune 100-ish level support..............................................
Seems insanely high, especially compared to the next step down which is only $250/mo per user... you could get by with a separate account with a single master user that controlled all the deployments and billing and only pay $3,000/yr. What you get for that extra $147,000+/year is that you talk directly with the lowest level engineer actually working on the problem rather than relaying messages that lose context... but you'll still need to know what you're talking about and be able to actually help the engineer rather than spin them in circles, or you'll be kept at bay.
For consumers, https://one.google.com/about/support is the way to pay for the support, since they claim "Cross-Google" support. I haven't used Google One support (even though I am a member as I have a subscription to their storage plan), so I don't know how good it is though, and it's not super clear how "cross" it really is. https://one.google.com/support says 2-3 min response for phone/chat though.
It took multiple escalations to people responsible for the specific service and the issue was entirely Google's service having an error. Meanwhile production was hard-down that whole time.
If Google marked organic traffic as fraudulent, their algorithm has a long way to go before they can start distinguishing between sabotage and actually fraudulent traffic.
Even now, more than a decade later, I refuse to use many Google services (such as their cloud) because I know they built part of their business by stealing from people like me.
I wonder if you could file a complaint today in small claims. Do you have any records from the time?
So we live in a future where our activity is bounded by a variety of quality scores. You're mostly a human, your site's increased traffic is less legitimate...every Taylorist-Goodhartian aspect of existence is priced into the marketplaces of society.
Perhaps a decent analogy could be Black Mirror's "Nosedive" episode, but with endless dimensions instead of just one (which admittedly could be a derived score from the dimensional ratings), and ratings that aren't derived from the moods of peers and other interactors, but passively gathered from everyday behavior.
I think this is the NPR show episode: https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2019/04/24/716854013/epis...
That turns the web into a walled garden you can't access without submitting to google's tracking. If they'd just drop the pretense of not being a walled garden this wouldn't even be a problem that needed solving.
The problem with relying on ML on one side is it can be gamed by ML on the other.
As an example, you only have to learn how to emulate a single 'human like' pattern to fool the ML, where you target function is a simple fool or not fool ML - once you achieved fooled you are done.
Whereas to drive a car you need to deal with all the infinite variation in inputs you might experience in driving a car, with complex target functions ie safety versus speed.
Even without quotes nothing useful comes up.
Would you be so kind to leave us a useful link?
Usually the challenge i get is like may be 6 squares and one circle and I need to click on the circle. Apologies, I thought its easy to look this up because I have nt used Google search in a while and when I just searched this just now it's the first result I got on my images section.
but actually this one is better: https://twirpz.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/qwant-grabs-ip-ad...
I do agree on the accountability part. When I can't take part in normal life without a certain product, it governs people's lives and they should be held to similar standards as other governing bodies.
Thanks for the video btw.
Every individual I know who's run google ads has been banned right before a payout at some point. They generally all in the range of $3000-6000. It's an amount that's a decent sum, but only to people who don't have deep enough pockets to afford a lawyer to go against a megacorp.
I'm not convinced it's not intentional. The banned people probably aren't generating that much in profit for google, and seizing a few thousand dollars from a customer who's likely to just cancel services at some point probably has a better payoff after a certain threshold. No google employee will ever explain how it works and there's zero support, so I doubt my mind will ever be changed on this subject. One thing I do know is Google isn't a stupid company--just evil. The problem has been too consistently occurring and too consistently ignored that it can't just be incompetence. Say it's spam and show a couple suspicious figures if anyone really tries to investigate and you get off clean.
If the company in the article successfully sued for the $5,000 they were being extorted over that wouldn't even matter. A few of those lawsuits wouldn't matter. A few thousand of those lawsuits wouldn't even matter.
The European Commission last year issued a massive lawsuit against Google Adsense of $1.6 billion . Google marked that EC fine down in its SEC filings on page 86 of their 10-K . European Commission fees constitute an effective tax of 1.0% in 2019, which they add to various other factors for a total tax rate of 13.3%. Page 89 shows that Google revenue was $160B, while expenses were $40B.
Google isn't moral, they don't see this fine as a mistake to be learned from. It's an operating expense. They won't change their tune unless it's more profitable to do so.
This is exactly how Microsoft grew evil.
When the complex system of people and laws and org charts and incentives and procedures that is the organism known as Google makes a decision, whether or not a particular decision is virtuous or not is insignificant.
Even if it was, trying to change their behavior through occasional social interaction is as unlikely to make Google provide good customer service as brushing your teeth without water is unlikely to fix California central valley aquifer depletion. There's a system that rewards Google with billions of dollars and a system that sprays water into the desert that you're fighting against. Ignoring that system, and advocating that people pour emotional effort into ineffective responses, is so unhelpful as to be counterproductive.
True but you can influence an organism by influencing its cells too. Think global, act local.
We live in a world where 99.9999999999999% of people are completely replaceable. Specially for a trillion dollar company.
Unfortunately that stance is naive in my opinion.
It's not that they couldn't replace them, it's just a lot cheaper to change some policies. If you're threatened with half your R&D staff walking out over some project in China, how hard is that decision, really?
Imho, the problem is that Googlers are paid a lot of money to not care, and that works pretty well.
I'm not sure about that. Google's crappy support is deeply, deeply embedded in their culture -- for all the benefits, it's one of the downsides of their PhD-heavy, engineering-first mentality, because engineers and academics loathe dealing with people, and to the extent that it's necessary for some system, regard that as a sign that system was improperly designed.
Google would need a major culture shift to start having good support, and unfortunately it's the exact kind of culture shift that would anger and alienate a lot of Googlers. Don't count on this changing anytime soon.
I once had a location-based file sharing website banned by Google -- all Chrome browsers would pop up a warning. It actually potentially could have been monetized but I lost all the users due to Google's unexplained ban.
Google has shown time and again they do not care. I don't even know if they employ human support reps, I've never actually spoken to anyone who represents google other than recruiters.
At what point in relative size is a company too large for the government to handle and the government has to go to war with it in order to keep power?
I.e. Is there a theoretical size in which the corporation (or effectively any other organisation) can just say "no" to the government?
I don't think there is a set number though. It probably depends a lot more on what the business does and how central it is to the health of the economy. It's the "too big to fail" debate, and at various times in the recent past, we have determined several automakers and financial institutions to fall into that category. I think if you are too big for the government to let you fail, you are too big for the government to try to shut you down.
If you wait until the gov't get involved, it's going to be a much more painful, slow, bureaucratic process and you'll probably end up in a far worse position than if you just self-corrected in the first place.
A good example are drug prices. If drug companies were smart, they'd find a compromise. If they wait for Washington to do, they're really not going to like the solution.
The problem with the assumption that governments can do something is that it relies on the notion that they are independent from the businesses. That's most certainly not the case today. Representatives have a lot more interest in keeping Google happy than their constituents.
The reason why the government is so 'big and bloated' is that your cut-off point for state intervention is >> than someone else who is less fortunate in the lottery of life. Think about that for a minute or two: would you be just as libertarian if you were say a single mom with three kids?
I'm a big empathy fan but defending the growth of state power on grounds of being shorted in the lottery of life pretty much always leads to more abuse and only temporary mitigation of suffering. Not to mention the fans of big government tend to be like alleged anti-violence people. They always seem to be fine with big government and using violence as long as it serves what they think is right. Then those same people either freak out on dirty cops and prosecutors or look the other way if those dirty cops and prosecutors are targeting people they hate.
We are so far from a free market state that any invocation of libertarian bent rings kind of hollow. The game is rigged and the safety net exists in one form or another in most places that would allow one the opportunity to post on a website instead looking after their basic survival. The issue now is not the lottery the issue now is trying to fix all the broken things that were allegedly created to help alleviate the effects of the lottery.
So, feel free to invoke 'principles' while banging on those more inclined to want liberty than safety but as someone who worked their way up from a worse start than just having a single mom the last thing I trust are people inclined to social engineering "looking out for me".
The arguments against libertarians are almost always some absolutist interpretation of some anarchist movie is world or worse Somalia which has tons of tribal systems, failed states (which includes a fair judicial system and enforcement of the law which markets absolutely depend on) and very little developed capitalist industries.
In reality most libertarians want a smaller government than is currently in place, they don’t want zero government. They most certainly don’t want an unstable state without centralize state run courts or law enforcement (outside of a very tiny extremist minority, a far smaller minority in the world than those who want actual vanguard communism again).
I’m a pragmatic libertarian leaning person which means that being realistic means compromise that some industry just simply makes more sense (as the amount of trouble it would cause to be market based via uncontrollable externalities). You could even factor in the amount of natural political meddling like we see in the US healthcare markets, which creates fake pseudo markets that provide few of the benefits of a real market where a single centralized public insurance option may actually be the least evil option, since the alternative has long ago become unrealistic. But that said I’d go as far as up to 50%+ up industry intervention and pro-social projects (ie helping the poor) are actually making things worse off overall had they not existed at all.
Thomas Sowell has written some great books documenting hundreds of cases of gov intervention coming with good intentions that have backfired (ie. rent control in Toronto and NYC in the 70s and 80s which dramatically reduced the supply of new low income development because no one wanted to build with rent control when they could build somewhere else).
I recommend “Wealth, Poverty, and Politics” by Sowell as a starter.
For other examples of failures of gov run central industry making them worse off than before I highly recommend reading the Venezuela economy Wikipedia about all the stuff they did after declaring capitalism is old and dead, creating mass starvation and unnecessary poverty in what could have been the most successful country in South America. Meanwhile countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong adopted markets after having large state run industry and dramatically increased the wealth of their entire country in a short few decades.
But I believe markets are just one tool that a wise society employs to create a prosperous world where everyone has the basic necessities and access to resources to allow them to flourish.
Honestly, it sounds like you and I aren't too far apart.
But, in any case, many libertarians are in favor of UBI, for example - the whole point of which is to solve the "lottery" problem without creating a bureaucratic monstrosity that is means-tested welfare.
If you could strip this away, there would be no corporate veil, and you could sue the person who failed to act (or whom acted wrongly) and did you wrong. Think of bankers at Wells Fargo creating false accounts in customer names...hire investigator or do your own, sue, discover, repeat...there would be MUCH MORE downside to bad behavior, even if the upside is there.
I think personally that organizations like GORE would exist, and who knows what else might emerge...more co-ops?
Of course this does require 3rd-party alternate court systems (maybe like cert issuers, but held to the same liability standard above?)...our current system cannot handle this, so it may be largely academic thoughts.
If suits only happened when businesses actually did something that truly did damage to society, then I'd agree. But reality is far from this.
a natural state would not have technology.
I would also tend to be libertarian if technology didn't exist. Technology changes the game:
- you can process millions of transactions a minute without a bottle neck from humans
- you can produce plastic, and lots of it
- you can migrate hundreds of thousand of human around the world, which would normally be an invasion
- you can destroy the environment (not so easy without technology)
- you can addict an entire generation of humans to a device (video games, porn, social media)
Without technology there is only so much a person or organization can do.
In the online world there is no concept of local. You can't protect your clients. But then, why should clients pay up - there is an infinite supply of copycats.
Everyone would get so many of them that the "genuine" threats would get lost among the fake ones.
Alternatively somebody uses the same technique to send massive amounts of fake Adsense traffic to multiple businesses without any warning thus forcing Google to improve their customer service or validation algorithms...
So the internet will turn into the United States Postal Service then w.r.t. advertisements vs legitimate correspondence?
Because otherwise their ad income stops.
How does "I might get extorted again by someone else" factor into this?
The value of the ad income may be more than paying the extortion when it happens once. That doesn't mean it's more when it happens more than once.
No there is not, as the number of botnets is big, but limited. And I can imagine something like online turfs to actually happen, with criminal hacker groups setting up areas. And taking other groups down, if they mess with their turf. (afaik some crackers take already good care of their botnets so they do not get under the control of other groups and effectivly remote admin their bot computers and patching)
Now while there is never such a thing as 100% security, right now the average number is frightening low. So the root problem is that the average tech stack is just too vulnerable. There is way too much truth in that:
And our government agencies don't seem too eager to change that.
Add in the fact that there are botnets available to rent, and you create a near-infinite supply.
There is no such thing online.
On Twitch, "Followers" is a tracked and important metric for streamers (publishers). Therefore there's obviously a lot of benefit to buying fake bot followers and inflating your count.
However, sometimes misguided fans of streamers will buy bot followers for them intending to be helpful (or even to spam them with inappropriately named followers).
From Twitch.tv's perspective, tracking down who issued the bot followers is of paramount importance since they have an interest in preventing gaming of the system without catching innocent streamers in the crossfire.
Twitch actually maintains a help page on what to do when you're being spammed by followers, and it includes a statement that they won't punish people who haven't paid for spam. In my experience, whatever mechanisms they're using under the hood seem to be reasonably effective - I have yet to see someone incorrectly banned for this.
Because they barely ever ban bots, even the most obvious ones.
I've seen streamers get follow and spam botted by thousands or tens of thousands of accounts within hours or minutes. All accounts had random character names and were created within a couple hours of each other.
All reported multiple times by multiple people over months yet no action at all. I have lists with a total of 60k clear and obvious bots reported to Twitch over and over again even by the partnered streamers affected and all were completely ignored and the accounts still alive.
I've been a mod for a couple big streamers for a while and it's absolutely crazy how many reports of follow and spam bots, blatant abuse and ToS infractions Twitch completely ignores. Especially in the last year or so it just keeps getting worse.
I would really not list them as a good example of dealing with bots in any way.
To avoid bots from inflating viewers, they have banned non-partnered/affiliate channels from appearing in the directory if they have above a certain amount of viewers.
While this solves the bot problem, it ensures that new channels will never become popular. Because if you begin to become popular, your channel will literally disappear and you cannot grow.
(And on a side note, there are a lot of large streamers today that admit they used bots to promote their channel when they were first starting out, years ago. Sometimes, gaming the system is the best way to win.)
Emphasis on almost. It requires an application and approval. Most importantly, being an affiliate/partner is not appealing to some people, since you have to sign an exclusivity contract.
Not generally. Specific ones may be, but so far it's always been on a case-by-case basis.
For other content, it can be seen as a loss of income for the streamer if they are demonetized due to viewbots, and for those where it isn't - it is effectively ad fraud since Twitch revenue is based on those engagement numbers
Fraud detection costs money. If there is no money changing hands, why spend the money on detection?
By "paying for clicks", I was thinking that they'd be paying some service to click on the ads, rather than writing their own scripts or doing it manually.
To protect their business by protecting their reputation.
The scale of Google's advertising business(es) means that a loss in revenue from poor public perception of their ads is likely to be far more than a few thousand small ad buyers (those spending <US$5000/mo) getting cut off, which would barely register as a rounding error (<0.1% of just AdWords revenue alone.)
A rare anecdote of Joe Schmo not getting his 97.54 payout is effectively meaningless.
Not to defend Google here but... how did you determine this? By seeing those < 0.01% of issues where it goes wrong? How did you determine the magnitude here and how do you know the systems aren't right in > 99.999999% cases?
Google's willingness to shut down a lot of things on what seem like a very surface level fingerprinting means it's pretty rock solid to predict what will happen.
Google wants you to believe both that it can detect a website owner doing bad things (blackhat SEO, click fraud on ads on their site to earn more money, etc), yet simultaneously that they can catch any bad actors faking those things to damage you (negative SEO, click fraud to terminate your own accounts, etc)
That obviously isn't possible. Google cannot determine the intent behind anonymized actions. They just want you to believe that they can in order to discourage people from trying to game the system.
I've heard of Twitter and YouTube accounts being suspended for buying followers, but anyone with $5 can send tens of thousands of fake followers at anyone's account.
The only real solution these services have is to silently ignore the faked traffic whenever they observe it. Anything else can be gamed from either side.
This wouldn't ring so hollow if Google didn't have such a reputation for blindly automating fraud detection. I seriously doubt it is actually possible to differentiate the two. The fraudulent activity that is visible to Google is the same regardless of the intention of the client that paid for it, be it a beneficiary or an adversary. Any signal that is deemed fraud by Google can eventually be simulated by an adversary.
This way, malicious publishers will have significantly limited incentive to engage in such behavior. In the short-term, their upside is heavily limited. And in the long-term, they risk being caught and banned.
And at the same time, malicious blackmailers will also lose most of their leverage, like in the example given above. Even if the victim doesn't pay up, their income stream still remains mostly stable. And meanwhile, the attacker is spending a ton of resources on generating fake traffic that isn't earning them any money. This will eventually lead to the "business model" going extinct, which in itself solves the problem as well.
Usually, this is because you can easily detect some of the anomalous behavior but not all of it. So you'll have some activity which is obviously anomalous, some which is obviously legitimate, and some which could be either. And sometimes when you've detected some that are obviously anomalous, most of the rest of the activity ends up being in the category of "could be either" with almost none left in the obviously legitimate.
So from Google's point of view, I'm sure they ban the account so that they 1) don't end up paying a lot of money to users for the "could be either" activity, and 2) don't need to keep expending server resources continuously categorizing and serving the obviously anomalous traffic.
Google's plan is to make it sufficiently expensive to avoid detection in the aggregate that selling fake clicks isn't a viable business proposition. The fraudsters have inverted the game: they can't beat Google's detection algorithms, so they can't sell you fake clicks, but they can sell you protection from their fake clicks.
Google's move at this point seems to be lessening the punishment for fake clicks so it's still not economically viable to sell them but also not economically viable to use them as a threat.
The publisher wants to show little clickfraud to keep their rates high, but don't get the data to handle nor often have the technical resources to prevent it if they knew. The advertiser doesn't really understand the modern ad market so sees "fraud" and will go to the agency that promises zero fraud, even if they're more expensive than just eating the fraud. The ad server doesn't really care per se, and can't do much because (outside RTB optimization) the publishers are the only ones who can really do the work to prevent the fraud. But they need to keep the publisher and agency happy, so they measure it. Both the publisher and agency get unhappy if the numbers are high, no matter how true they are or how inefficient it would be to bring them down - so the ad servers are either incentivized to lie (in practice meaning, not investing much in fraud detection) or to kick publishers with high fraud rates off.
(The closely-related question is why fraudulent clicks matter at all, when CPM/CPC rates should pretty quickly decline in proportion to target the same number of real people for the same price. But no matter how much we tried to sell actually useful features - e.g. no ads for your vacation planning service on a news article about a plane crash - all any customer ever cared about was click fraud!)
Put another way: someone testing Google Ads with a $100 ad buy is (my guess) 1000x more valuable than a (new to Google) publisher someone showing $100 worth of ads. If the former experiences fraud, they leave. If the latter has their $ yanked by google, eh, there's still trillions of ad slots per day available.
Put another way, actual relationships with customers solve this problem trivially.
The amazing thing to me is Google treats almost everyone the same. From a site getting $5 a month to $5,000 to $50,000. About the only difference I've noticed is I sometimes get to have conference calls with people who have the same suggestions. I've provided Google with billions of (legit!) ad impressions over the years and wouldn't even get a phone call before being kicked off.
If the fraud rate is high enough, they likely can't pick out any real users anymore, as they get lost in the noise.
> Please keep in mind that it's your responsibility to prevent invalid activity from occurring in your account, and this form does not absolve you of that responsibility.
How is some random lay person running a wordpress site going to know how to prevent invalid activity when anyone could do this to them? I hate that corporate speak too about they can't comment and how they have tools, without addressing the concern people have. I resent how much power Google and Facebook have over small businesses that have an online presence. I hope the Justice Department takes a real good look at all this bullshit and breaks these giant, powerful companies up so that we end up with small companies, that care about their customers.
But good luck getting hold of a real human to explain the situation to.
One famous example: Send a PayPal transaction with the word "bitcoin" to somebody. Your account (burned in the process) and the receivers account will get blocked. Welcome to the new AI world.
> If there are concerns about invalid traffic, they should communicate that to us, and our Ad Traffic Quality team will monitor and evaluate their accounts as needed.
Given all the comments here, and everything else I've read about Google having ~no human support, this is plainly bullshit.
I'm not sure if I'm still thrilled by cryptocurrencies. It seems to me that they are mostly wasting energy and helping criminals set up their businesses.
ie when a resource is both essential and limited ( user attention in this case, land in the original case ) the person controlling that resource takes a share of the value generated by people using the resource that approaches break-even. ie all the profit.
ie to put it another way - if you need customers and the only route is through Google, then you will have pay almost all your profits to Google for that attention.
Eg: Carbon, AdThrive, MediaVine, etc.
The blackmailer(s) responded with a single alphabet "k" and it was sorted within hours of the first email.
> “We have a help center on our website with tips for AdSense publishers on sabotage,” the statement continues. “There’s also a form we provide for publishers to contact us if they believe they are the victims of sabotage. We encourage publishers to disengage from any communication or further action with parties that signal that they will drive invalid traffic to their web properties. If there are concerns about invalid traffic, they should communicate that to us, and our Ad Traffic Quality team will monitor and evaluate their accounts as needed.”
Google seems to show no outward no interest in actually unbanning anyone once they're banned, do they care if you tell them beforehand that you're concerned someone is messing with your ads?
And if they do care, does that even help / wouldn't the "ban this guy" script just run anyway?
I've had ~$150 sitting in my adsense account for about 4 years now because I'm unable to cash out. Their 'input bank information' page is broken, seems like my old banking information is stuck filled out and I can't remove it. Won't let me put new information in either. And the link to the help site leads to a 404.
I've tried various forms to reach a person and they've all been fruitless. Google is just holding my money hostage with no recourse.
They even send me a 'your payments are on hold' email every few months to basically say 'remember, we stole your money and theres nothing you can do about it!'. Thanks Google, I almost forgot that you're the definition of faceless corporation again.
So anyway the credit card tied to that has expired (years ago I thought).
Then Google emails me their "update your payment information" email ... and points me to a Gsuite login.
Bro (Google) I don't have a Gsuite account ... and my regular Google account has valid payment options. Every form of help just points back to Gsuite...
Blogger doesn't appear to have any of the old information as far as the domain being purchased.
I managed to get the domain registrar to help. There was no way to contact Google, it was just an infinite loop telling me to login to Gsuite.
Of course, IANAL, TINLA.
I've also got another grandfathered in free gsuite account I've been using for personal things for about 7 years, changing from that would be a nightmare.
I suppose I'm part of the problem, being unwilling to do something about it because I have more to lose than gain.
Business / $12 month
"Unlimited cloud storage (or 1TB per user if fewer than 5 users)"
Effectively you get unlimited storage for $12 + taxes/month.
It's a pretty smoking deal if you don't mind the (seemingly minuscule) chance that one day they'll ask for more money or pull the plug. In my use case all the data is easily retrieved again so it would only be a minor inconvenience.
I don't think anyone is silly enough to suggest putting captchas on ads.
You want to attack (send fake traffic to) example.com, but example.com has implemented a captcha system (think cloudflare interstitial). If you directed your bots to visit example.com, they'd have to solve the captcha to view the ads. However, there's nothing stopping you from solving the captcha once, getting the page source, and serving that to your bots. This works because example.com doesn't serve any ads directly, it only embeds a <script> or <iframe> element to adsense. Since the bots are under your control, it's trivial to set up the redirection (eg. hosts file or HTTP proxy). HTTPS isn't a problem either because you can MITMing yourself with a self signed certificate, which is not a problem either as you can get your bots to trust that certificate.
From the perspective of the adsense script, it's impossible to tell whether the bot is visiting the real example.com or a fake version, since the browser is under the attacker's control. The only way to mitigate this attack would be some sort of one time use token that's generated server-side by example.com, and authenticated by adsense each time it tries to display an ad, which I doubt adsense supports.