Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Google to reveal click fraud data

Google announced this morning on their adwords blog that they will now be revealing click fraud data to advertisers.

The functionality is a bit buried in the reports section, but its there nevertheless. One quick downside I see already is that this data is only available at the campaign level, not the adgroup or keyword level. A quick check on a couple of our campaigns shows Google reporting click fraud at less than 5%. While this is a great step, Google still needs to give advertisers better tools for identifying fraudulent clicks and garbage traffic. At NETexponent we rely on a combination of 3rd party tools and reports that help us identify keywords, countries, and content distribution partners that may be sending unprofitable traffic. While the engines may not deem them "fraudulent", by eliminating wastage we're able to continually reduce costs and re-allocate dollars back into the best keywords.

I'm sure there will be a flurry of blogging on this subject in the coming hours and days, stay tuned...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Google Being Evil Again?

I recently posted about Google Lab's questionable product called Web Accelerator, and it seems that there may be some other skeletons lurking in the closet. When reviewing some referring URL logs for a Google campaign, I came across many URLs with the prefix which I found especially curious since I know we had previously added that domain to our blocked list on content distribution due to poor results. After doing some research I came across this interesting post: - included is a response from Google when questioned about Oingo:

I understand that you're concerned that your ads may be appearing on [Google-owned-parking service].com even though you've added this URL to the site exclusion tool. [Google-owned-parking service].com is part of the Adsense for Domains networks and although most of these sites may be excluded with the site exclusion tool there are some exceptions that may not. This is due to the fact that some of these sites are of a hybrid type and are considered both part of the search and the content network. Oingo is one of these exceptions. To learn about the difference between the search and the content network please visit

To effectively filter your ads from this site you may want to consider opting certain campaigns out of the search network.

If you opt out of the search network, your ad will no longer appear on your unwanted site, nor will it appear on any other site in the search network. However, opting out of the search network may significantly reduce your ad coverage and visibility to prospects.

I have known for some time that Google has owned this company and that it involved parked domains, but it just hit me as to just how serious a conflict of interest we have here folks. The fact that they consider traffic from these domains to be "search" means that we not only pay the search rate for this traffic, but that we also can't opt out of traffic from these sites unless we drop the entire search network which include AOL and

The other aspect of this that is really compelling is that Google is now penalizing sites for having "thin" content by incorporating a landing page quality score into PPC campaigns. So on one side you have sites penalized for lack of real content, yet Google is rewarding these same sites by giving them a cut of the search revenue and by preventing advertisers from eliminating these sites from their campaigns.

Some examples of actual domains I found:

Thanks to Steve and Vinny for sparking the discussion during the last Affiliate Summit.