Negative SEO – It’s real… and it’s easy!
Ok, before I start I want to make a confession – I’m pissed off! And that’s why I start this post. Because it turns out you could destroy a website for several hours!
Maybe it’s not Negative SEO in the official term, but still…
But let’s start from the very beginning… this blog is relatively new, we are still young and we don’t have so many visits (we are growing, and I’m more than happy, but still – we are newborn baby). As a lot of blogs do – I decided to put some AdSense ads here, to be precise – one tiny little banner at the bottom of the sidebar, labeled “Advertising”. So far so good… I love transparency that’s why I’ll be transparent – 2 weeks ago this blog got only about 50 unique visitors/day and ~150 pageviews/day. In terms of monetization this is nothing, I had running AdSense ad for 2 weeks at the time, without a single click. It was ok for me, I didn’t expect something at this point (to be honest – i didn’t expect anything serious at all). Anyhow – ~150 impressions/day were some start, even without the clicks.
Yep, with my “newborn” blog and zero clicks so far I got the bad news:
It was strange… I knew for sure I didn’t violate any “Google Laws”, I even didn’t had any clicks… So there was quick consideration request – I described the situation believing in Google and knowing this was some kind of mistake.
Within a week I got a reply… it wasn’t good:
With our advertising programs, we strive to create an online ecosystem that benefits publishers, advertisers and users. For this reason, we sometimes have to take action against accounts that demonstrate behavior toward users or advertisers that may negatively impact how the ecosystem is perceived. In your case, we have detected invalid activity on your site and your account has been disabled.
I was frustrated… I was a threat for Google Advertisers? How? Why? Then I remembered – I was testing a new (for me) tracking software – MouseFlow. Fast and furious I started to check all recordings… and then I saw it – one visitor from Cyprus (at least with Cyprus IP address, I don’t know if there were proxy used) landed on the blog and clicked about 30 times on my ad… Click – Refresh – Click – Refresh… X30!
AdSense websites… Beware!
Yep, I was banned from AdSense for all eternity… and I didn’t had a chance. You know what? I don’t care! I don’t care at all, my ad were there just for case. The problem? It turns out you could easily ban any website from AdSense. Although Google stated there won’t be bans for invalid clicks – it seems there are! And what if I’m on some AdSense niche and I have several competitors? Well… I’ll click on their ads like hell… and they are gone for good. I have zero experience with this kind of business, but i suppose if I had an AdSense driven website and I’m exiled from Google I’ll just drop it.
There is the problem, and it’s a big one. I know companies like Google don’t have the time to deal with every complain/consideration request. And that’s the problem. I am sure nobody took a look at my problem when I sent that consideration request. If someone did – they would noticed that my blog isn’t threat for their advertisers. As I said – I don’t care. But other people do! And while there are hundreds of people manipulating the AdSense program, making 1000′s of dollars with false clicks, it seems there are others – honest bloggers writing for pleasure and trying to take some cash to pay for their domain/hosting… and they are easy target for AdSense bans.
I’ll be happy if you share your opinion on that.
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