Google is billing advertisers for paid search clicks when, in fact, no searches have taken place. This is click fraud. Let me explain how this works. Suppose someone goes to a parked domain like iowagop.com. This is what they'll see:
Next, they see the "hot" list. Hot what? Clicking the "Iowa Straw Poll" link, they'll see a page populated with Google AdSense for Domains ads:
Let's suppose they click on one of these ads, provided by Google via DomainSponsor. When did a search occur? Is clicking on a link equivalent to typing keywords into a search box? No, this is a fake search. Google classifies these kinds of paid clicks as search clicks because they occur on a parked domain that has a search box on the site. That's fraud - click fraud, distribution fraud, syndication fraud. Call it what you like. It's fraud. I'm going to call it fake searches click fraud
, to make it clear what's going on here.
Now, how do I know about this particular example? I paid for these clicks during a recent AdWords experiment. That experiment was mentioned on the Wired site
. Hmm, maybe if Wired decides to write a nice story about this fake searches click fraud, Google and/or DomainSponsor (owned by Oversee.net) will cease this practice of charging AdWords advertisers for fake search clicks. ;-)
Why am I writing about this now? Since first blogging about this garbage traffic from parked domains issue
back in January, I was under the impression that Google was working to provide more transparency for advertisers and more control over ad distribution
. Instead, they've become inexplicably opaque
about ad distribution
. Still, with Google being a bit more open
about click fraud issues
, I was certain they'd deal with this subset of click fraud, these fake searches on parked domains. For a company that's been blasting other
companies' paid links as spam
, they need to clean their own house, first.
Note to Matt Cutts
: Even though you work on the organic search side at Google, you've been talking about invalid clicks
and click fraud
. How about dealing with *these* invalid clicks: Google paid links farmed out to DomainSponsor and generating fake search clicks, billed to advertisers? TIA. Maybe have this meeting
Note to Shuman Ghosemajumder
: I know you've read some of my previous blog posts about click fraud
. Thanks. I do hope you read this one and realize how serious a problem fake searches click fraud has become. Whether it needs fixing in AdWords (perhaps with the creation of a domain network, separate from the search network) or something needs to be addressed with your distribution partner, DomainSponsor, please fix it. We can't trust what you say about click fraud, if Google is actually perpetrating fake searches click fraud via parked domains.
Note to AdWords advertisers: Try this method of blocking all DomainSponsor parked domain traffic
. Or, call 1-866-2-Google and ask for manual exclusion. Perhaps if this revenue stream dries up, Google and/or DomainSponsor will solve the fake searches click fraud problem.
Note to domainers: I'm not talking about direct navigation and generic keyword domain names
). I'm talking about fake search clicks from other types of parked domains. I agree that domainers are not responsible
for the quality of traffic
that leaves your parked domains. However, the parking companies and PPC providers are responsible for delivering targeted traffic. I suspect you can appreciate my frustration with Google and DomainSponsor.Related Posts:AdWords Team Sabotages Google Corporate Mission & PhilosophyDistribution Fraud is the Real Click FraudNot Search Engine Spam
, adsense for domains
, click fraud
, invalid clicks
, matt cutts
, shuman ghosemajumder