Google AdSense duplicate advertisers

DMZ · October 21, 2006 at 3:54 pm · Filed Under Off-topic ranting, Site information 

In our occasional forays into using Google AdSense, one of the problems that’s made it not worth using is duplicate advertisers, particularly one company that I didn’t like because they ran those “free with survey” offers that you can find all kinds of complaints about all over the internet using barely different names and URLs which are all fronts for the same company with the same offer. I, being finicky and crotchety, don’t want USSM readers to see ads from them. But when they run many, many different sites, it’s hard to block.

I’ve been tinkering around with it a little more this weekend (obviously) and it’s back.

To wit:
a, “Free All-Star Baseball” game

b, “Free Baseball Blanket” game

I’ve written the Google people really nice, detailed letters about this where I say “here’s what’s happening, it means we get ad bars filled with three similar scammy ads from companies that are supposed to be different but are not, here’s why it’s a pain to watch and monitor…”

Google’s terms of service for advertisers expressly prohibits this. It can’t be that hard for Google to know these are all the same people: it’s the same company, for starters, so it’s likely the payment information is the same, but moreover, each child site carries identical information, each has the same contact information – heck, the same phone number.

That Google doesn’t stamp this out makes Adsense a lot less attractive.


13 Responses to “Google AdSense duplicate advertisers”

  1. Mat on October 21st, 2006 3:59 pm

    I, being finicky and crotchety, don’t want USSM readers to see ads from them.

    That Google doesn’t stamp this out makes Adsense a lot less attractive.

    I don’t think it’s just a case of you being finicky and crotchety, though. It seems like it must make their product less effective in addition to being less attractive. When glancing at the links, it’s pretty easy to spot when all of the links are worthless copies of each other, so I really have no desire to explore those ads. If they got rid of that problem, I’d be a lot more likely to start clicking the links.

  2. DMZ on October 21st, 2006 4:01 pm

    Ugh. Which reminds me, I’ve bot a bit of cleaning up to do, layout-wise.

  3. Funkatron on October 21st, 2006 4:04 pm

    [nuked, see following comments]

  4. DMZ on October 21st, 2006 4:07 pm

    We get a ton of weird ads related to the Mercury SUV “hybrid” and outboard motor stuff too, which is strange.

    Man, two ad things look baaaaaaaad sandwiched that close together, I’ve got to move that.

  5. joser on October 21st, 2006 4:51 pm

    Well, “Mariner” is a brand name for several things, so any kind of simplistic heuristic is going to match that up no matter how little sense it might actually make.

    Thanks for making the effort to police this, particularly since it ends up costing you money (as well as time/effort).

  6. Josh on October 21st, 2006 4:52 pm

    A few things you could try, Derek:

    Yahoo Publisher – It’s in beta, but it’s good. I’ve been using it for a few months and haven’t had very many ads that I didn’t approve of (I’m really selective). It may have something to do with my content not bringing ads that I don’t like, or maybe the network actually is better that way. Who knows.

    Affiliate Marketing – Sign up for a bunch of lead-based networks. Choose from thousands of opportunities and select the ones you think your audience would like. You can even make them into rotating text ads that “look” like Google/Yahoo’s ads. If you don’t know much about these I can list some of the better networks for you. Some are scams and others aren’t worth touching but I’ve been using some good to great ones for a long time and they are reliable.

    Accept my apologies if you’ve already checked out these avenues and didn’t like them. Just trying to give a few ideas.

    3 – Even saying that in jest is enough to get his account canned. I know it was a joke but it’s a good excuse for Google if they see it.

  7. bug on October 21st, 2006 5:03 pm

    I’ve become so inured to those, I didn’t even realize this site had them. I guess I just don’t see them these days.

  8. DMZ on October 21st, 2006 7:52 pm

    Generally speaking, we don’t. I tinker with the site design/scalability/etc on weekends when traffic’s down, and this weekend I’m tinkering with AdSense.

  9. Funkatron on October 22nd, 2006 12:57 am

    Re: Josh’s Addendum: Really? That’s bizarre.

    I don’t think much of Google’s ad program, as someone that has used it from the other end. For a small business not selling motor boats or other luxury items, it isn’t very economical. You end up paying fifty cents to a dollar per click, trying to compete with Amazon and Ebay, who bid up every word and proper name they possibly can.

    We were also charged for a lot of clicks that seemingly came from robots – as they were off of pages that no human need ever visit – blank pages with three google ads, etc.

  10. Josh on October 22nd, 2006 1:32 am

    Sounds pretty accurate, Funkatron. I’ve never been a CPC advertiser and I don’t think I’d want to be. It would be fine with the good affiliates but you’d really run into trouble with others. There are so many ways to lose out: competitors clicking, random people clicking because they feel like screwing someone over, publishers clicking their own links, thousands of internet surfers being paid a penny to click the links, etc.

    Advertisers are catching on, and Google knows that. They’re overly sensitive, and although it’s right on the spot in a lot of cases, people are given the boot for truly nothing at times. I still think lead/sale/acquisition-based will hold out longer in the end, because it’s not as easily manipulated. Nothing’s perfect though.

    I’m sorry to hear about your losses. I hope you were able to gain back some credit for the illegitimate clicks.

  11. Goob on October 22nd, 2006 10:47 am

    I’ve sent about five different complaints to Google over certain scam companies showing up on my different websites and I’ve never heard back from Google. If you do manage to find an e-mail address that illicits an actual human response, then please share!

    I’d love to give Yahoo Publishers a try, but every time I try and get into the Beta, they tell me, “thanks, but we’re currently full right now, blah blah blah…” I hear they are leaps and bounds better than Adsense though.

    Adsense seems to have trouble with blogs. It’s almost as if they’d prefer sites with lots of stagnant content that never changes, thus giving them a chance to zero in on what the site is about. Blogs, with their constantly changing content, seem to confuse the living daylights out of Adsense. The problem is that even though this is an obvious niche site (baseball, even deeper, Mariners baseball) to us, Adsense has trouble telling that because the word “baseball” isn’t actually typed over and over again. It would be silly for the USSM crew to use that word often because it’s a given to use that they’re writing about it, but Adsense isn’t 100% sure what’s going on here. Thus, to “be safe,” Adsense shows us not only ads for baseball related stuff, but for Mariner hybrids and USS Eisenhower embroidery items.

    To be fair, Adsense is actually pretty smart at computing which ads are being clicked versus which ads aren’t and thus will show similar ads to the ones that are more often clicked. It just takes time to get rid of those crap ads

    One trick I’ve found with Adsense that doesn’t really make any sense, but seems to work, it this. Use the “block sites” feature pretty liberally for the first week or two you have Adsense on the site. You’ll find that even though you’re blocking the scam sites and companies whose ads you don’t like, you’ll still basically get more of the same. Finally, after 10 or 14 days, just completely erase your block sites list. Maybe copy and paste it into a text file in case your worried about having to do it all over again, but basically after you wipe your block list clean, the ads suddenly shape up. You’ll stop seeing most irrelevant ads, plus all the bad ads you’d previously blocked. Like I said, it makes no sense to me why this happens, but I’ve had it happen twice on two different sites, so it’s worth a shot.

    One final note – Josh is right about comment 3. I’m sure you meant no harm whatsoever funk, but DMZ might want to edit that simply so Google doesn’t use it to nix his account.

  12. Funkatron on October 22nd, 2006 11:30 am

    Actually one decent thing about the media frenzy and lovefest over Google and Yahoo’s ad programs is that some print places are dramatically lowering their advertising fees – so we’ve been getting good deals.

    We ended up taking a wash on the Google program more or less, and I just finally wiped my hands of it once the clicks I suspected of being bogus started to outnumber the sensible ones.

    And apologies to DMZ & Folks – I was not aware that Google did that.

  13. DMZ on October 22nd, 2006 11:57 am

    No sweat. Buy my book.

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