Google Gone AWOL

It’s now been two weeks since Google last responded to my mails. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, given it’s taken them two years to get back to me in the past. But frankly, this is getting annoying.If you don’t feel like reading my previous post on the issue, here’s a brief summary; My problems began a few weeks ago following a traffic spike to one of my sites. I noticed my AdSense click-through stats were significantly lower than those reported by MyBlogLog, and stayed lower after the spike had tailed off.Naturally, I fired off an email to Google questioning the stats, did some research and looked at other methods of verifying what I was seeing.I’ve now done further research into the problem, including:

  • Removing all click-tracking for a period and monitoring AdSense stats
  • Monitoring the CTR of other ads and links on the site
  • Delivering AdSense ads through my own ad server and monitoring click-throughs from there

The results from all these tests indicate that AdSense simply isn’t logging the majority of ad clicks on my site.My personal opinion is that some kind of over-zealous anti-fraud measures have automatically kicked in following the spike, but with no feedback from Google whatsoever, there’s little I can do.But my main discovery was that several other people appear to have noticed the exact same behaviour (some links below). So I’m not alone.My concern is that there is a genuine problem with AdSense reporting and most publishers will never notice because they have nothing to compare their stats against.With that in mind, my advice to all AdSense publishers is to use some kind of click-logging package (MyBlogLog or one of the free AdSense stats scripts) and monitor:

  • Any noticeable difference in AdSense stats when you implement the click-logging (to see if the logging is somehow interfering with AdSense).
  • Differences between AdSense’s official stats and your own. Note that there will always be a minor difference, but if your own logs show several times more clicks than AdSense reports, there may be an issue.

I should say that you should always be careful not to break the AdSense TOS by clicking your own ads or modifying Google’s Javascript. Most packages that track clicks (including MyBlogLog) do not alter the Javascript code and do not break the TOS, but do check and be careful.Finally, if anyone from Google happens to read this, I would really appreciate a reply to my emails. When your staff give up and stop responding in the middle of a conversation, it does not inspire confidence. And if there is a problem with AdSense stats, tell publishers about it.Further Reading:

7 thoughts on “Google Gone AWOL

  1. @Randy: I’m in the UK and so cannot use YPN even if I wanted to.

    I think the answer to your question is simply that most publishers would want ALL their clicks recorded properly, regardless of who is serving the ads.

  2. If they recorded *all* clicks, advertisers would flip out — since a decent percentage of all ad clicks are fraudulent. It sound like you’re saying Google is going too far the *other* way, but that seems like it would be hard to prove. You see a click on an ad. Is it “real” or “fraudulent”? How would you know? (How would *they* know?)

    They *shouldn’t* be showing *every* click in your AdSense stats, but how they measure fraud and how you measure fraud are obviously different.

  3. That’s interesting, because Google claims only less than 10 percent of clicks are bogus, and if it was proven that infact they’d been telling advertisers one figure but penalising publishers with a much higher figure that would be serious fraud, and as we know 1 percentage point difference is worth 100,000,000 Dollars per annum in revenue. Anyway soon they are supposed to open up information about which sites in the network generate clicks so that will be easy to test.

  4. The question I have with regard to determining fraudulent clicks or not is this…

    For all the clicks that google are not counting in my reports, there not paying me for are Google receiving revenue for those clicks themselves?

    How would we know one way or another.

    The term “Self proclaimed God” springs to mind.

  5. I am noticing the exact same problem and just filed a support request with adsense but I’m not to confident that I’ll get a satisfying answer after reading all these comments. In the past 3 days I’ve received a huge spike in traffic on a particular post from stumbleupon. MyBlogLog is showing a fairly average CTR but adsense is reporting 10 – 100 times less clicks. I mean it’s like it’s not even counting any of the clicks that came from this new traffic at all. My best guess is that their fraud detection algorithm is viewing these as invalid clicks because it was a huge spike in traffic all from one source. That’s extremely disappointing if that’s the case.

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