This is a heads up for those of you that run make a bit extra by hosting Adsense adverts and how they are defrauding publishers.
The background of our gripe is this. Every day we see how much we have earned through people clicking on adverts that we host on behalf of Google. Everything seems ok and we get paid at the end of the following month. It has been like this for around 6-7 years that we have been with them.
So what's the problem?
Well, we finally checked what went into our account every month - and it didn't add up. Google was deducting around 50-60% of what we should have been receiving and labelling it "Invalid Traffic" but hiding this fact away from us. When we say hiding it, they just weren't openly alerting us to it.
What does that mean?
We have no idea of what Google means by "Invalid Traffic". It doesn't give any details and if our ads were on the public part of our site then maybe we could have put it down to bots clicking etc. But with ours we know this is impossible, our ads aren't visible to bots because of where we place them.
The Adsense we make is on our failed pages for our sites like QuickLoans.co.uk. If applicants fail credit checks, we show them the "Declined" text and show them an advert from Adsense.
For a bot to even see this page, they would need to apply on our live application form, two pages of personal information fields that are strongly verified. That simply isn't going to happen. We can 100% rule out bots.
Now if Google thought we were being dodgy and taking 50% of our income every month, wouldn't they have banned us? Why do they allow us to continue? When we checked, it had been going on for years, and we never knew. These now can't be brushed away with bot clicks. Nor does it make sense for them to claim our pages aren't compliant, if that was the case they would take 100% of our income.
What else does that leave us with?
Google being fraudsters is one of the explanation we can't rule out. If I had heard this from anyone else I'd be sceptical, of course, they are using bots. Even if I thought I knew the guy as being 100% honest I'd think someone else sent the bots. Genuinely with ours, bots couldn't even possibly see the ads.
Needless to say that we have removed them from all of our sites now.