Friday, February 21, 2020

AdSense Extortion Scheme

Brian Krebs (Hacker News):

Google declined to discuss this reader’s account, saying its contracts prevent the company from commenting publicly on a specific partner’s status or enforcement actions. But in a statement shared with KrebsOnSecurity, the company said the message appears to be a classic threat of sabotage, wherein an actor attempts to trigger an enforcement action against a publisher by sending invalid traffic to their inventory.

“We hear a lot about the potential for sabotage, it’s extremely rare in practice, and we have built some safeguards in place to prevent sabotage from succeeding,” the statement explained. “For example, we have detection mechanisms in place to proactively detect potential sabotage and take it into account in our enforcement systems.”

I don’t really believe that because even without bad actors the AdSense/AdWords system seems untrustworthy. The amounts you have to bid often don’t make sense, and there’s no one to help you.


However, it seems that as soon as we went over a certain amount, our budgets started getting exceeded by about 10am in the morning.

But our competitors ads kept going.

We contacted Google to find out what was going on. None of these clicks were even resulting in business, contacts, nothing. So we assumed the worst, our competitor was having someone click all our ads.

This process started the downward spiral for our business. Not being able to stay live in Adwords long enough to get any new business was devastating and I sure as heck wasn’t going to participate in clicking on my competitors ads because that’s fraud as far as I know. SO, we just suffered and I couldn’t get any support from Google.

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