Today, I'm going to write about a subject that was brought to my attention in an interesting way. As you are well aware, I have created the Niche Websites Hub where I openly asked all readers to suggest topics that I should write about. This page has been up for over 9 months and has over 110 comments. Not one person ever suggested writing about “Click bombing”.
Then I happened upon a post on a different blog and somehow my name came up in the comments, oh snap! I found it a bit amusing that one of the readers commenting there was a bit upset and was calling me out because I had never written about the subject of “Click bombing”. They were somehow implying that I was avoiding the subject.
Well, all they had to do was ask and I'd be more than happy to write about it!
That offer still stands. If you have a subject that you want written about, just submit it to the Niche Website Hub and it will get added to the list that's already there.
Anyway, that individual never asked me, but I'm going to write about it because I had some other readers express interest in the subject on the Niche Pursuits Facebook Page.
What is Click bombing?
So first of all, what is Click bombing? Essentially, click bombing is when your adsense ads gets click MUCH more than normal. For example, if a malicious user goes to your website and clicks on one of your adsense ads 100 times – this would be click bombing. This malicious user is trying to send tons of invalid clicks in hopes of getting your Google Adsense account banned. This is a worst case scenario.
The reality is that Google is very serious about invalid click activity. The most common occurrence by far is when users either click their own ads a bunch of times or ask others to click as for them. Google is smart. They can detect this pretty easily and there is no faster way to get your account shut down. So, don't click bomb yourself! Never EVER click your own ads.
Overall, I have personally never had anyone “click bomb” my account. I have been using Google Adsense for a long time and haven't run into the issue. However, that doesn't mean that it doesn't occur.
Accounts do get shut down by Google and click bombing does occur. Like I said, its never happened to me and I don't know anyone personally that its ever happened to, so my guess is that its pretty rare out of the millions of Google Adsense users. If you want more information from Google on the subject of Invalid Clicks, I suggest reading here.
What to Do if You Suspect Click Bombing
However, if you suspect that your ads are getting clicked a highly unusual amount of times, you should report it to Google immediately. Google has set up a Invalid Clicks Contact Form right here. This essentially will allow you to disclose what you believe is going on with your account and to let them know you are not familiar with where the clicks are generated.
Ideally, you would be able to prevent invalid clicks on your account from ever happening. Remember that most invalid clicks on Google Adsense ads are created by people clicking on their own ads or somehow trying to game the system. So, as simple as this sounds – this is the number one preventative measure – don't try to artificially increase your own Google Adsense earnings.
How To Detect if Someone is Bombing Your Account
If you suspect that someone is click bombing your account, you can try to verify by looking at your Google Analytics and other web logs from your server. You can use Google Analytics to see where visitors are coming from and what sort of activity they are performing on your site.
Further your web logs on your server can help you see if 1 IP address is sending all the traffic or spending an unusual amount of time on your site. Overall, use your analytics or any other tracking tool to find out if you are getting unusual traffic.
Obviously, your first sign will likely be huge spike in clicks in your Google Adsense account. So, if you notice anything unusual in your Adsense account, it may be worth digging deeper.
However, there are a couple of tools available to help prevent a malicious user from repeatedly clicking your ads.
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How to Restrict Who Sees Ads
Now, there actually are some ways that you can prevent who is seeing your ads. For example, the Who Sees Ads Plugin, will allow you to only show ads to visitors from search engines or other criteria that you set. If only visitors from search engines see ads, you are much more likely to get valid clicks because this is high quality traffic.
I have never used this particular plugin, so can't say much about its effectiveness. However, it does look like it hasn't been updated in a couple of years, so there might be better options out there.
But here is an option to hard code only showing ads to search engine visitors here.
Finally, there are ways to program your site so that it prevents multiple clicks from the same IP address. If you search around you can find both code to implement this yourself and products that you can just install. I haven't used either of the options so I can't reliably give a recommendation on any of these.
Bottom Line – Be Aware!
Overall, people do get their Adsense Accounts banned. I think its very rare for your account to get banned unless you are either producing invalid activity or in some other way manipulating your earnings.
However, it can happen to legitimate Adsense publishers as it did to Jef Ponskanzer as discussed on SErountable.com. But even then Jef was able to appeal his account being banned (only after 3 tries). In fact, he wrote a post about it here…which is very interesting. Turns out that the amount of clicks he was getting went up by a factor of 8, while his page views remained the same.
Either way, you should be very careful with how you interact with Google Adsense, and hopefully the above post has given you helpful methods for both detecting and avoiding click bombing in the future.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Have you ever been click bombed or detected other invalid activity on your account? Or if you have other ideas for preventing invalid activity, we'd love to hear about it.