Global Network Navigator in 1993 became the first known commercial website to sell a clickable ad. In 1994, larger scale advertising began to form. Standardized banner ad sizes were made in 1996 giving birth to the banner ads that adorn many sites. It did not take long before the click through rate (CTR) fell.
Self-proclaimed professionals either subcontract the job to armies of clickers in India or China in what we now know as “click farms”, or they automate the process entirely. Before long click fraud was a serious problem for websites.
We received a message from Google recently that our account was cancelled and that they would not pay us. We estimate we are owed about $50. Most likely a click fraud bot was causing problems for Google. We discovered that many others have also had their accounts suspended.
It seems that ads for websites has become a waste of time. Small wonder so many have closed up shop..
A worse prolem is the rise of adblocking targetting adsense sites. Sites like ours have a disproportionate amount of ad blocking.
Advertising networks may try to stop fraud by all parties but often do not know which clicks are legitimate. Unlike fraud committed by the publisher, it is difficult to know who should pay when past click fraud is found. Publishers resent having to pay refunds for something that is not their fault. However, advertisers are adamant that they should not have to pay for phony clicks.
- competitive agencies to advertisers
- competitors to publishers
- friend of the publisher
We have installed alternative CPC ads on the site which have not had any reported problems with click fraud. The footer ads we use now do not earn much but they do have a modest click rate.
We have noticed that public computers at the library no longer use NAT and instead now use a IPv4 address. The Wi-Fi also does not use NAT anymore.
We advertised out site on notice boards at laundromats, libraries and anywhere else we could post a sheet of paper with tear-off tabs with the URL. Eventually with more and more content organic search started delivering vast amounts of traffic.
The site has undergone much change and we intend to carry on. We are disappointed that the large agencies will not provide advertisements of any class or type.
Traffic on the site continues to grow one a sequential basis. perhaps they will be able to do something for us down the road but we are not holding our breath.