I woke up around 4:00 AM in the morning, decided to work on my blog and do a few things online. It has become rather habitual to check my Adsense account about 6 times a day to monitor changes and track earnings. I checked my account that morning and saw something I had never seen before– over 1700 clicks! I was like WTF?! Some many questions came in like what’s going on? Am I dreaming? Who’s doing this? Who have I offended?
Well, those questions were rhetorical and a total waste of time. The reality set in and I saw that 5-year old Adsense account could be terminated just like that. I’ve always abided by Google Adsense’ rules, complied with almost everything in their lengthy policy and corrected my mistakes when issued a warning and now someone’s trying to run me out of business? Well, this can happen to anyone and for the first time in 5 years I’ve been an Adsense publisher, I got a little scared of what could happen.
A couple of weeks later, the same thing happened with over 500 clicks under 2 hours.
Anyway, it’s been about 6 or 7 weeks now and earlier today, I received my first Adsense payment via bank transfer after that little drama with earnings from invalid clicks duly removed. Well, it seems I survived that click bombing.
What could have caused this?
The first time this happened, I suspected it might have been a bot, perhaps a bot was targeted to run us out of business. I noticed all the 1700 clicks came from a particular country with only 3 page views according to Adsense performance report. That was definitely not human. Only the ad unit on the homepage was being targeted and that convinced me even more it was a bot.
Also read: How To Cheat On google Adsense
It was different the second time though but if you’re in this type of scenario, whether it’s a human or a bot doing the ugly job, there are certain things to do to stay safe:
- Report to Google immediately
- Locate and remove the targeted ad units (or all ad units)
- Protect your ads from invalid clicks
- Always monitor your account
1. How report invalid clicks to Google
Google knows this is bound to happen and before you get your account suspended over invalid clicks, it’s best you report to Google immediately. There’s a form you should fill which can be found here.
Submitting this appeal doesn’t guarantee your account won’t be suspended but it might go a long way to help as it helped me. It’s most likely you won’t get a response but be sure you give the correct information and state what you’ve done to control the situation.
2. Locating and removing targeted units
If it’s a bot clicking on your ads, chances are that the homepage ads are being targeted. Regular visitors on this blog might notice I removed ads from the homepage about 6 or 7 weeks ago. This is one of the reason to track your ads through channels and know which ad unit is in which spot.
If you’re unable to locate which ad unit is being targeted, remove all ads temporarily.
3. Protecting your ads from invalid clicks
If you’re using WordPress, you’re lucky as there’s almost a plugin to tackle every problem. In my quest to find a solution, I came across a plugin that blocks your ads from showing to a visitor after a number of set clicks. You may set the plugin to block ads from showing to visitors from a certain IP after 2 clicks.
The only drawback here is that you may be blocking a lot of people using shared IP addresses but still, this plugin is worth installing.
I’m presently using the premium version that sends an email every time it detects invalid activities on your account but there’s a free version you can use before going for the pro version. You only need to wrap your ads in the specified div class to allow the plugin monitor your ads.
4. Always check your account for suspicious activities
Whether you’re a new or an old Adsense publisher, it’s a wise idea to monitor your account and check several times a day. I know a number of Adsense publishers who claim to check their accounts only once in a week but it’s like going to sleep right under a burning rooftop.
Always monitor your account for unusually high CTR. If your CTR goes above 10% and you’re pretty sure it’s unusual, you should consider reporting to Google.
Have you ever experienced this? What are you doing to prevent invalid activities on your Adsense account?