Adsense: Would the real clicks please stand up?

By | December 14, 2007

It’s Friday again, thank goodness…! So what’s in this round up?

Adsense: Big White Elephand

First, Adsense again. I’ve blogged on using Adsense on a number of occasions in the past year: Why it is a waste of time; canceling your account; and being banned from Adsense. What I didn’t know was how much a waste of time it really is for most websites.

“…one suspects they (Adsense) are even taking legitimate clicks and counting them as invalid

Today, though I was looking through my MyBlogLog stats because I noticed that this week I’d been stumbled a number of times and nearly doubled my recent average in terms of stats (Analytics own figures). I only have the ‘free’ package, but that was enough to confirm my worst fears. Take a look:

adsenseless

It’s quite small, but Adsense generated the most clicks that day (nearly 50% of the clicks, according to MyBlogLog… So then I went to compare the clicks on Adsense’s own statistics, and sure enough. I had a similar jump in traffic and page views as the stats showed, but let’s say I was quite shocked by the difference. (ed.) I had no clicks at all. None. Zip.

So who is wrong?

This only leads me to one of three possibilities: MyBlogLog is wrong; Adsense is wrong; or Analytics is wrong. But since Analytics broadly agrees with MyBlogLog stats (in terms of overall numbers). I’m left with the obvious: that Adsense is just not recording all the clicks. This wouldn’t be surprising as we know that Adsense does use statistical and tracking methods to calculate to drop ‘invalid’ clicks.

So, then I went back and checked six days’ worth of data. Then I checked the total number of clicks on Adsense using MyBlogLog. Unfortunately, as Adsense TOS states clearly, I cannot disclose “click-through rates or other statistics relating to Site performance in the Program provided to You by Google”. But I will say this: it seems that a large percentage of the clicks are simply not being recorded on my Adsense any more. Webmaster World has an interesting discussion on this.

Fraudulent vs. Invalid

I cannot know how many of those clicks that Adsense invalided were actually fraudulent, rather than just invalid. I don’t think that even Google knows this accurately. What does surprise me though is that the extent of the false positives is likely to be much larger. In other words, Google may be invalidating a larger number of clicks than you are actually getting, clicks that would otherwise be valid, but for the ‘inaccuracy’ in their algorythms.

Another blogger noted this, too. “I found this article that generally agrees with this: Google feels strongly that the absolute $ amount of invalid click refunds given has stayed the same or declined since 2004, all while advertiser requests have gone up by at least 2-3X. This means there’s a huge amount of false positives, a point I tend to agree with.”

Would the real clicks please stand up?

Now I can see why we aren’t allowed to reveal the actual stats. Google just doesn’t want you to know the REAL truth about Adsense before you activate the program. And that is that Google’s program is largely a waste of time for many small publishers and bloggers. It’s ugly, you can’t effectively control it, you have no choice of advertising, and you’re liable to waste a lot of time tweaking it only to discover that are a large number of false positives. Worse, once you do start generating revenue, it is possible to be banned from the system, which has happened to many prominent bloggers.

For sure, Google has introduced a number of changes in the last few months to its Google program, and is continually implementing improvements for Advertisers and Publishers. What is happening is that the impact of these changes willl increase the quality of clicks for advertisers, but for publishers it’s meaning a decreasing revenue, as InvestorBlogger is experiencing.

So check your MyBlogLog stats for your websites, you’ll only get the top ten clicks, but then you can compare those results with the Adsense results. Let me know via email what you are getting.

Author: InvestorBlogger

Investorblogger.com takes you on a 'Random Walk To Wealth' through money, investing, blogging and tech. We'll explore my insights, mistakes, and experiences together.