Google and splog fraud

I can no way to report fraudulant splogs to Google — and that’s a scandal that will affect Google’s own reputation and the value of its advertising. Like others, I’m victimized by a limp-dick spammer copying my text to put up ads and get paid from Google. I’d tell Google about it to protect both them and me. But I can find no means to do that. Come on, Google, you don’t want to make money off theft and fraud. That would be … evil. And besides, it will make you far more vulnerable to the distributed ad networks based on trust that are coming …. soon.

  • kat

    Why can’t you just use their contact forms? I have in the past and I even got a response. Good luck in disabling the limpdick guy.
    Like these:
    http://www.google.com/tm_complaint.html
    http://local.google.com/support/bin/request.py
    http://local.google.com/support/bin/request.py?contact_type=suggestion&submit=Continue

  • http://michaelzimmer.org Michael Zimmer

    “limp-dick”??

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    kat: thanks much! but, unfortunately, i don’t think those are the right forms for the issues: they cover trademark (not copyright) and local. this is about a combination of copyright violation and, more important for google, click fraud. i can’t find such forms. if anyone can, i’d gratefully use them.

  • rick gregory
  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Nick:
    I was all grateful and eager to report the miscreant slime but the google page hangs. It seems this is a page meant to report spam on google search pages rather than pages using ad sense as spam and perhaps it doesn’t want to take it.
    So close…

  • Steve Levy

    Why is it Google’s responsibility to fight this battle of yours?

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Well, Steve, I’d say that it’s Google’s fight since people are using it for click fraud and if that gets out of hand so will the fall in Google’s trust and ad rates. I would hope that Google would care about defrauding its advertisers and would be willing to fight that, eh?

  • http://michaelzimmer.org Michael Zimmer

    How is this different than iFilm posting the Jon Stewart Crossfire clip (just one of many examples) on their site (presumably without permission from the copyright holder) and making money off of their own on-site advertising? Am I missing something?

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Well, Michael, as a copyright violation, not much.
    But you are missing someting: This takes any content with the sole purpose of defrauding Google Adsense and the people who pay for ads there. It is clickfraud. The fact that I’m used in that process only adds to the irritation. But Google should care about clickfraud because if it does not, you can watch that Google stock go falling fast when advertisers lose faith in the system because of such fraud.

  • http://blog.outer-court.com Philipp Lenssen

    I’ve contacted Google about this before. Turns out you need to send a snail mail to their DMCA copyright complaint form. Nah, I’ll pass that one. Google should really clean up their splogs…

    Recently, my friend Miel took one shadow blog/ blogiarist down via a community effort (people complaining, flagging the blog as spam, etc.):
    http://google.blognewschannel.com/index.php/archives/2006/01/09/rajesh-youre-messing-with-the-wrong-people/

  • Eileen

    Jeff,

    Try this?

    “… The AdSense team has asked me to announce a new reporting feature, similar to the “spamreport” that Matt Cutts announced at the WebmasterWorld conference last month, but this time, the purpose of the reporting feature is for reporting publishers engaging in click fraud.

    If you know of a publisher engaging in click fraud, you can now report them anonymously by clicking the “Ads by Google” on that publisher’s site, and then including the term “invalid clicks” in the comment field. And if you do not wish to stay anonymous, you can include your email address as well.

    So what exactly is an invalid click? Google includes an “invalid click” definition on their AdSense support site.

    Invalid clicks are clicks generated through prohibited methods. These prohibited methods include but are not limited to: repeated manual clicks, or the use of robots, automated clicking tools, or other deceptive software.

    It seems that AdSense is taking a significant step up in catching as much publisher click fraud as possible. Click fraud has once again hit the news, with the recent lawsuit Click Defense (who, ironically, continue to advertise via Adwords) filed against Google.

    And it also serves as a reminder of something David Kramer, a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati who represents Google said in February following the lawsuit Google filed (and subsequently won a default judgment on) against former AdSense publisher Auction Experts International.

    The suit won’t be Google’s last to combat click fraud, said Palo Alto attorney David Kramer, who represents the company.

    So what kinds of things should be reported with the new “invalid clicks” tag instead of the “spamreport” tag? Click bot activity (programs that automatically click AdSense ads), click rings (where a group of publishers band together for the sole purpose of clicking each others ads, usually on a rotation basis), explicitly inciting clicks (often by sending emails asking for clicks, requesting clicks before another action – such as a download – can be done, or requesting clicks in a private area of the site that the mediabot cannot access), and hiring people to click.

    Things such as “Please click our ads” listed above an AdSense ad unit would still fall under “spamreport” for being an AdSense terms/policies violation.

    It could also work for advertisers who notice a high number of suspected fraudulent clicks coming from one AdSense site. They could then go to the site and report suspected fraudulent clicks, including details from their own data of why they suspect the publisher may be committing click fraud. …”

    http://www.jensense.com/archives/2005/07/reporting_publi.html

  • Eileen

    There’s also this:

    “If you want to report splogs using AdSense, click on the Ads by Gooooogle link, then click on ’send Google your thoughts on the ads you just saw’, change the subject on the pull down to ‘report a violation’ and make an appropriate comment.” http://www.michaelpollitt.com/wordpress/index.php

    Apparently, policing is accomplished via termination of AdSense accounts.

  • Pingback: michaelzimmer.org » Blog Archive » Ethics of Blogiarism

  • http://michaelzimmer.org/2006/01/16/ethics-of-blogiarism/ Michael Zimmer

    But how is it clickfraud. If I’m looking for particular content, and I find it on your site, or some site that harvested your content, and then click on an advertisement – either way it is a valid click. Sure, you’re cheated out of the “value” of your content if I click an ad somewhere else, but it still is a valid click. The people who paid for the ad are still getting a click from a potential customer. All I see here is how you miss out on the revenue, but not fraud against the advertiser.

    You haven’t convinced me that they are “defrauding Google Adsense and the people who pay for ads there,” unless I’m just totally missing something here.

  • http://thedisneyblog.typepad.com John Frost

    M.Zimmer, I think Jarvis is using ‘click fraud’ in a broader sense than you. It is fraud to take someones work and present it as your own and google is supporting this fraud by monetizing it. That is where the trust and reputation issues come in. Cut off the money. Cut off the fraud. It’s that simple.

    The other issue is one of copyright. But ‘scrape and splog’ technology makes it unfeasible for any sole content producer (as most bloggers are) to effectively police, persue, and follow up via the decidedly un-techy DCMA procedures (if you can find where to send the notices). And I don’t think there is a solution to that without opening up multiple cans of worms (politics, free speech, etc). Although I think there is a great side business for someone like blogads to get into. Auto-search the net for splogs of their customers and dash off DCMA requests for a small fee. It’s a protection for their content, advertisers, and publishers.

    I stand by Jarvis’ assertion that the shortest route to ending splogs is to remove their ability to many money off the practice. Right now Google provides the lion share of that money and they’re doing the least policing of the system. That’s what needs to be fixed.

  • Jim

    One solution may be to encrypt the feed and then give each subscriber a key to decrypt the feed. The key could decrypt the page. It would add a step for users, but it could be done automatically within the browser. If a splog is publishing your feed, it would need to use your key which would be unique and easily tracked to each splog. Copyright the key and everything published could be protected. The ads could work with the key so you get credit for the ads related to your content.

  • Jim

    Another approach may be putting the text into a graphic.
    The feed would include a brief summary and the story would be
    encoded in a jpeg or some other format. The ad could be the
    graphic background, so each post is formatted with the ad.
    This would make the ad more visible and make it run as a part of the content instead of beside the content. Clicking the ad content area of the post would then launch more information about the ad. Put the links to the content where the ads are now as a link bar that replaces the ad bar.

  • Pingback: Om Malik on Broadband : » Its a Splog Planet

  • http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/ Tom Keating

    If you want just a couple clicks to report a splog to Google, try the Firefox Splog Reporter extension. It may not get them removed, but feels good to quickly report a splogger.

    http://splogreporter.com/?p=extensions

    Ironically, I was thinking about blogging this extension today on my VoIP & Gadgets blog

  • http://www.fightsplog.com Toivo Lainevool

    One commenter has already mentioned the most efficient way to report sploggers who use AdSense to Google – the ‘Ads by Google’ link on every AdSense ads. For a more complete list of things you can do to report splog, see http://www.fightsplog.com/take-action.php

  • Pingback: Texas Venture Capital Web 2.0 Blog » Blog Archive » TopTenSources Opt-in…

  • Pingback: Protect Your Content! « Alpesh Nakars’ Blogosphere

  • Pingback: Protect Your Content! « Alpesh Nakars’ Blogosphere