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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Davos Question? Google? Mirror, please.

I honestly think Google's being a bit hypocritical and pretentious posing the Davos Question:
What one thing do you think that countries, companies or individuals must do to make the world a better place in 2008?
I bet most Googlers have no idea the company they work for is either actively engaged in fraudulent activities or, at the very least, passively allowing fraud on its own advertising network. I'd like to see Google eliminate distribution fraud in 2008. They've had all of 2007 to solve the problem and have not. I know they're well aware of the problem. If you're not familiar with distribution fraud, read these posts:
I included the dates to emphasize how long Google has known about the problem. They've actually known since 2005. Influential search engine industry veteran Danny Sullivan wrote a scathing article, Google AdSense For Domains Program Overdue For Reform, in 2005. He didn't use the term "distribution fraud" in that article, but that's what he was referring to. I learned of the very apropos term, distribution fraud, from this blog.

Anyway, I'm tired of seeing these kinds of garbage clicks from the AdWords search network in my clients' server logs:

google adwords click fraud example
(Click the above image for details.)
So, fetch that mirror Google. How are you going to answer the Davos Question?

BTW, it's great that you're devoting software engineering resources to projects like better flight stats, but it'd be even better if you could allocate some software engineers to tackle the problem of missing data from advertiser reports. This is one of the best quotes about Google from 2007, from Niki Scevak:
You can’t help but smile at certain comments by Google, home to the veritable oceans of Phd scholars in computer science research and highly skilled software engineers... Imagine the sophisticated the technology needed to split out direct navigation sites!
I hope for actual transparency in 2008 and the elimination of AdWords distribution fraud. Practice what you preach, Google. Please.

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Anonymous robojiannis said...

Come on... Google said we should think about it over christmas. There are much worst things happening than fraud.

I wonder if they actually listen, though...

Wed Dec 19, 04:10:00 AM EST  
Blogger Adrian P. said...

Interesting note on this click fraud:

As you know there is two options: syndication across 'trusted' Google network (AOL, Ask, Mapquest, etc.) and then Content Targeting. From what I understand you can opt out of certain domains in Content Targeting, so I asked my Google rep if the same is optional for Syndication. The answer was no. I mentioned that, well, we probably are getting junk traffic from and didn't want to be there. They said that (aka is part of the Google syndication network, which to me only reinforced what you're saying: they're knowingly and actively involved in distribution fraud...

Thu Dec 20, 11:35:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there some point that you think Google's deception will "back-fire" on them -- and affect their profitability negatively?

You've mentioned that you are a GOOG shareholder. At what point would the "fraud" Google is engaged in (or allowing) cause you decide to sell your stock?

Sun Dec 30, 02:07:00 AM EST  
Blogger Richard said...

Interesting observation, Adrian. I'm not certain if distribution fraud is intentional on Google's part or a result of poor design. Either Google is more arrogant than people realize or not as competent as people think.

I'm still confused as to why they don't split out AdSense for Domains traffic onto a new domain network on the AdWords side. That would resolve the perception that Google is perpetrating click fraud. Plus, it would solve the technical problem at the same time.

Tue Jan 01, 11:02:00 PM EST  
Blogger Richard said...

As a GOOG shareholder, yes, I am concerned that the distribution fraud variety of click fraud will have a negative impact on the stock. It could become a PR nightmare. However, since there isn't viable competition, where else are PPC advertisers going to put their money? If Yahoo had a more robust system and dealt with fraud more openly, I would be concerned.

In some ways, there is upside for GOOG stock in two ways. First, I'm hopeful that they'll actually solve the distribution fraud problem in the next few months. If that is the case, that's good press for Google and could boost the shares. If they don't solve the problem soon, they'll continue to earn revenue from the extra distribution.

Also, while distribution fraud can have a devastating impact on a single advertiser's ad campaign, on aggregate clicks from distribution fraud are a small percentage of total clicks.

Tue Jan 01, 11:09:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fri Oct 30, 03:48:00 AM EDT  

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