RE: GOOGLE ADSENSE LEAK BY FORMER EMPLOYEE (NOT A FAKE!)
NOTE: The following comments made regarding Google Adsense Leak is an OPINION based on our own experience of dealing with Adsense publishers and Google Adwords advertisers.
We do not believe the Google Adsense Leak (Google Adsense Leak) is fake at all. Even if it is fake, it has brought attention to a very valid and concerning problem that Google Adsense publishers face.
We work with many concerned publishers who are a victim of Google Adsense Quality Team. Our company TEA Software specializes in detecting click fraud, and one of the technologies we offer is called Ad Safe Delivery, which prevents the ads from displaying to a botnet and other types of click fraud.
First I will comment our opinion on the Google Adsense Leak itself.
In the first quarter of 2009 there was a "sit-down" from the AdSense division higher ups to talk about new emerging issues and the role we (the employees in the AdSense division needed to play. It was a very long meeting, and it was very detailed and intense. What it boiled down to was that Google had suffered some very serious losses in the financial department several months earlier. They kept saying how we "needed to tighten the belts" and they didnt want it to come from Google employees pockets.
So they were going to (in their words) "carry out extreme quality control on AdSense publishers". When one of my fellow co-workers asked what they meant by that. Their response was that AdSense itself hands out too many checks each month to publishers, and that the checks were too large and that needed to end right away. Many of the employees were not pleased about this (like myself). But they were successful in scaring the rest into thinking it would be their jobs and their money that would be on the line if they didnt participate. The meeting left many confused as to how this was going to happen.
What did they mean by extreme quality control? A few other smaller meetings occur with certain key people in the AdSense division that furthered the idea and procedure they planned on implementing.
There were lots of rumors and quiet talking amongst the employees, there was lots of speculations, some came true and some didnt. But the word was that they were planning to cut off a large portion of publishers payments.
If such meeting did take place, I think that it was communicated to the team in an unorganized matter, which did not explain the core problem of WHY the new policies are being put in place. The core problem that Google faces is a publisher can purchase traffic for $0.001 and get paid $1.00 for it, quickly racking up the Adsense account. Considering that most publishers that install Adsense are unlikely to make that sum so quickly, especially if you consider their Alexa ranking, domain age, etc. they would be red flagged.
We are assuming that the leadership team did not feel the need to make examples of how the Google system can be defrauded so they just told everyone these are the new rules, and this individual along with others took it to heart as something is not right.
As a result, an Adsense publisher making too much money can have their domain name red flagged by the system, and then the Google Adsense Quality Team would evaluate it. Except the evaluation will be very one sided, as the team is looking at all the negatives points only. Its like racist profiling done by a computer (Google Adsense Quality Detection) and then the cops (Google Employees) are very careless in analyzing the results.
The AdSense division had enormous pressure from the company to make up for financial losses, and for Google's lack of reaching certain internal financial goals for the quarter prior. So the push was on.
Google has one of the best Clickfraud technologies in the world, but they use it for their benefit. Here is an example, if a visitors comes into your website and leaves in five seconds, and that visitor is on a blacklist as a previously known botnet, then it is most likely a botnet and the advertiser should not be billed. However in reality there is no right answer, we do not know if its a true botnet or not, and Google takes advantage of it. Google will consider that click as a false positive and bill the advertisers because there is no 100% proof that it was a fake botnet.
However, when Google is advertising other third party partner ads (Ex: Ask.com), and those publishers use a Clickfraud technology like TEA Software, then Google wont get paid for that click. TEA Software works in the advertisers favor NOT Google. So if we feel a click is suspicious and brings no value to the website, then we consider that click to be a botnet visitor and should not be billed. So when Google said they are facing loses, I am assuming that the third party partners were not paying Google for the suspicious clicks, while Google was paying for them to the publishers and thus the losses.
It is understandable for Google to treat suspicious clicks as valid because if they didnt they would lose billions of dollars in ad revenue.
The bans of April 2012 came fast and furious. Absolutely none of them were investigated, nor were they justified in any way.
I would not be surprised, if you try to unban your account with Adsense you will be faced with an automated system that has no human intervention. There is no second chances, no investigation, no one to speak to. Once you get banned you are done.
Internal changes to the policy were constant. They wanted to make it more efficient and streamlined. They saw its current process as having too much human involvement and oversight. They wanted it more automated and less involved.
I have to agree with the statement, and this is very concerning. There is a source of traffic called CPV (Cost Per View), even a whole forum about ithttp://www.cpvden.com/. The traffic is 95% of the time botnets that is sent from Hijacked computer and has no value to the advertiser. TEA Software detects 100% of such traffic and considers it fraudulent, but if you look at it through Google Analytics it will look 100% legit. We call CPV traffic HUMAN LIKE BOTNETS because they look human but they are botnets indeed. For every $1 spent on CPV traffic, Adsense will pay you about $10 - $100 in return, yes thats right if you buy $1,000 in traffic you can see $100,000 in return by the end of the month. However, you will probably never see that money because Google Adsense will ban your account right before payday and most likely keep it. We know this because several of our customers faced Adsense Sabotage and right before the payday their accounts were banned (Screenshots available if necessary).
TEA Software can detect CPV traffic, and we believe Google can too. So why continue collecting money and sending that traffic to advertisers if you plan to ban the account before pay day? Why treat this traffic as real in Google Analytics when you know it is fake?
Even though we have seen people (on CPV forums) defraud Google using CPV traffic and get very large pay checks, eventually the Google Adsense Quality Team would ban their accounts. There is a bigger concern about this situation and that is ADSENSE SABOTAGE. If you want to destroy your competitor who relies on Adsense, then just buy $100 of CPV traffic, send it to their website for a week and then their Google Adsense account will be suspended forever. Bottom line is everyone publishing ads without Clickfraud detection and ad safe delivery is at risk of losing their Adsense account. If you dont believe this, than just buy $100 of traffic from directCPV.com, send it to your Adsense website and see what happens.
It first began with just altering data reports for Analytics account holders that also had an AdSense account, but they ran into too many issues and decided it would be simpler just to skew the report data across the board to remain consistent and implement features globally.
You can find an interesting post here about Google Analytics failing to show accurate results - http://community.shoppingcartelite.com/blog/google-analytics-fail, I am not sure if this was done on purpose for Adsense or other reasons or it is just a bug that has been ignored, but Google Analytics does not detect 100% of the website traffic. If you want to see proof yourself just purchase any third party analytics tool and compare the results yourself.
Now if the statement from the leak is true, I am assuming that Google Analytics will not register suspicious botnets that trigger the ads, and may not payout the publishers for them, but still bill the advertisers for the traffic that came through the ad. Since we work with Google Adwords advertisers, we see botnet traffic come from Google Adwords daily. We always wondered why this would happen as it should NEVER EVER HAPPEN!, After all if Google can detect Clickfraud, why not intercept the traffic prior to sending it to the website? So after reading the statement above we believe that it may be true that Google will allow botnets to go through if they are false positives bypassing their detection system altogether.
A competitor or malicious person would actively go to their competitors website(s) or pick a random website running AdSense and begin multiple-clicking and overclicking ads, which they would do over and over again. Of course this would trigger an invalid clicking related ban, mainly because it could not be proven if the publisher was actually behind the clicking. This was internally referred to as "Click-Bombing". Many innocent publishers would get caught up in bans for invalid clicks which they were not involved in and were never told about.
This issue has been in the awareness of Google for a very long time but nothing was done to rectify the issue and probably never will be. Thus if someone wants to ruin a Google AdSense publishers account, all you would have to do is go to their website, and start click-bombing their Google Ads over and over again, it will lead the servers to detect invalid clicks and poof, they get banned. The publisher would be completely innocent and unaware of the occurrence but be blamed for it anyways.
Regardless if the Google Adsense Leak is true or not, the statement about Adsense Sabotage through click bombing is 100% REAL AND IS NOT AN OPINION. Again, if you simply purchase $100 of traffic on directcpv.com, the publisher will get banned for it with no way of protecting himself in the future, and no one to speak to in Google.
This is a valid problem that TEA Software has solved if you are an Adsense Publisher. Unfortunately Google Adsense TOS is not clear if a publisher is allowed to use a company like TEA Software. TEA software can protect the publisher and ensure Google Adsense only sees legitimate traffic, so there is no reason for it not to be allowed.
We believe their TOS is very open ended because if Google will depend on TEA Software to deliver the ads, they would put billions of dollars into the control of a startup. If TEA software is to succeed then the publisher would face a double edged sword, dont use TEA and risk your account being banned through Adsense Sabotage, or use TEA and one day Google might have a problem with letting TEA Software control the ad delivery.
Google can be more transparent about how much clickfraud is being detected by disclosing such information without specific details on the Adsense Dashboard. Google can give more warnings to the publishers and give them second chances to fix it by working with a company like TEA Software.
We believe Google may ignoring this problem because whatever they do will affect their revenue negatively and since we are talking about billions of dollars, why bother when it works? Ignorance is Bliss especially when so much money is in jeopardy.