I was recently chatting with a friend about how some very topically slanted groups have been advertising on one of his favorite websites which actually leans the opposite way as the advertisements. I realized something very interesting, we talked about it, and I figured I would share it here.
First, a little background on how Google Ads work. Whenever an advertisement is clicked, the site that provides the link gets paid a small amount of money and the person who posted the advertisement is charged some amount of money. Also, most people who post advertisements set a specific daily budget for their ads because otherwise it is possible that through Google that advertisement could be seen by millions of people an hour and clicked as many times. This could create quite a high bill very quickly.
Another thing to know about Google is that they take their advertisers very seriously, this is their bread and butter so they do not mess around. It is very important for them to identify fraudulent clicks and nip the fraudsters in the bud and then go about their day. This means that Google for little to no reason will completely stop serving ads to a site, stop paying that site for hosting the ads, or at the very least send a nasty-gram to someone who is asking for ads to be clicked. As a website who hosts ads, you sign a strict agreement that allows all of this. I have personally met people who have made mistakes and tried to game the system and been shut off, losing all legitimately (and otherwise) earned money.
Keeping all of this in mind, if you were a reader of a site and could not take the injustice of the advertising you are seeing on a daily basis, you could potentially organize and find a way to game the system. This would be very difficult as you would have to be better, faster, and smarter than the guys in the Google Ads division and you would have to change your tactic in a way that was seemingly random on a day to day basis.
The following is a thought exercise ONLY. DO NOT DO THIS. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS. DO NOT BLAME ME if you get busted, get your favorite site busted, or someone involved gets in trouble. It is not my fault if you choose to take on Google, so please do not give me credit. Reading any further in this article means that you understand that I will not be held liable in any way for your actions or anyone else’s actions with regards to this article or any ideas derived from it that try to game the Google Advertising system (adwords or adsense).
Now that I feel a little bit better about sharing, the following is what I have to say.
Hypothetically, to game the system someone would have to be very organized and have a very large group of people who were dedicated to helping out.
The basic idea would be to seemingly naturally click the advertising on the site in a way that Google could not pinpoint as an organized front. This means that if the group were going up against another group with a huge budget you would need a ton of people.
The rules of engagement would be these:
- Each person can only click ads once per 3 day period
- Each ad that is clicked should be done at different times of the day
- Ads that are clicked should be in different parts of the page, making sure that the main portions of the page are clicked more often than less significant parts of the page, but not clicked significantly more times.
- Different ads would have to be clicked as well as the targeted ad groups, this way it is not specifically apparent why all the ads are being clicked in such a rapidly growing fashion.
- Different numbers of natural page views should be encountered before clicking. This means that entering a page and clicking an ad would not always be ok, sometimes 3 pages in, sometimes 2, sometimes 10. Changing it up makes it look more natural. Time on pages where ads are not clicked is important. Make sure you read the article, or give enough time to scan it.
- All clicks need to seem natural, so opening a page and clicking is probably not going to work.
- There should be NO link between the people clicking and the owners of the site
- The owners of the site should NEVER be made aware that this sort of movement is happening, in order to keep them out of the loop and out of trouble.
- The group leader would have to find a way to ramp up the people clicking the ads, take them in and out of rotation for clicking the ads and manage the group as a whole all while keeping Google in the dark on the efforts of the group.
I imagine there would be some other things that should be taken into account, but these are the highlights. They would have the potential for making it seem like your favorite site is just getting more ad revenue instead of having an organized group of people who are trying to get rid of specific advertising.
This would effectively achieve three goals:
- The unwanted advertising would be gone
- The undesirable advertisers would be charged a boatload of money, causing their coffers to be lessened.
- Your favorite site gets more money, which allows them to get bigger and stronger.