Can competitors use up your daily Adwords budget through clicking on your ads?

13 replies
I was having a discussion with a colleague earlier today and she said she had an inkling that one of her competitors (she runs a small business) is getting his team to Google her business and click on her ads to use up all her daily budget.

First of all could this be right? I have heard that Google will block this sort of activity if it is coming from the same IP.

I'd love to clarify this, as at the time it made me think what a crappy play this is, but at the same time how commonly this tactic could be played out.

Anyone out there know if this is the case or not?
#ads #adwords #budget #clicking #competitors #daily
  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Yes - this can be done. But if someone is caught, they will be punished.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rozanne
    This is possible but there is a workaround for this. You can always exclude the ip address for each campaign from your adwords panel.
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    • Profile picture of the author BlossMart
      Originally Posted by Rozanne View Post

      This is possible but there is a workaround for this. You can always exclude the ip address for each campaign from your adwords panel.
      Yep, that's a good way to get around it.

      I haven't really heard of this sort of thing going on - pretty big waste of time if you ask me but I guess if you're desperate people would do it.

      Crazy.
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  • Profile picture of the author yooonpa
    Yes it could be done,
    If your competitors are desperate or just playing on you, you probably get your adwords daily budget run out.
    I assume you already know of some reliable and elite IPs/Proxy services. They could use unlimited IPs, search for your Ads then click over...
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  • Profile picture of the author ppcmaestro
    This is not possible. Google is a very intelligent company. After working on adwords for a decade I have never seen such a thing happening. Google and it's tech is so intelligent that it's servers will trigger an algorithm where you wouldn't be able to access the search engine. It also credits back the spends to its advertisers for fraud clicks. You know about Adsense accounts being banned. Throughout my career I have seen most of the credits on the ad accounts coming from the display Campajgns. These display ads are the ads of Adsense for publishers.
    If there are a few clicks Google will trigger its click fraud tech and stop you from even clicking on your competitors ads or stop showing ads.
    Remember Google is a very advanced and intelligent players and their tech cannot match anyone else's.
    I know this because I manage more than a million spending every quarter in Google and know the insides of Google and its business.
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  • Profile picture of the author James Clifton
    Whether you are running a small or a large online business, this should definitely be a matter of concern. Unfortunately, there are some entrepreneurs who are desperate enough to try to click you out of the business. However, Google is already aware about schemes like these, and it is now exerting an extra effort to protect thriving businesses from malicious activities.

    Thanks to Google, fake clicks from your competitors are now considered invalid clicks. Since Google has a highly sophisticated system, it is able to identify fake clicks and impressions, which are removed from your account.
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  • Profile picture of the author Adwords Expert
    Basically, yes. But Google invest huge amounts of efforts to remove those clicks from the reporting & the billing. In fact - they have special systems to detect those frauds.

    Here's a quote from Google themselves about the way they are dealing with that:
    When Google determines that clicks are invalid, we try to automatically filter them from your reports and payments so that you're not charged for those clicks. If we find that invalid clicks have escaped automatic detection, you may be eligible to receive a credit for those clicks. These credits are called "invalid activity" adjustments.
    From my experience and my clients experience the usage of adwords is safe and is really cost effective.
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  • Profile picture of the author dvz
    No, google knows how to id invalid clicks and it shows how many of them you had each day. they don't count them as valid clicks.
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  • Profile picture of the author intrug
    Even if they click, the Cost per Click of yours will reduce, and eventually will show up higher than the competitors and cost you less. So it is all organic.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Gunner
    I've had a similar problem myself. A competitor of one of my clients was clicking on their ads so anyone telling you that click fraud is not real is naive.
    Even though my client's line of work is infamous for being click fraud heavy (it being a locksmith), I highly advise you to be mindful of your invalid click rate and invalid clicks column (under modify column--->performance--->invalid click rate and amount). This is a good indication as to how much fraudulent activity Google is detecting and filtering out for you.
    That being said, many times i've had my clients come up to me and say that they feel that Google's filters are simply not working well enough for them and that they feel like they are being cheated.
    There are others ways to block fraud except solely relying on Google- that being third party programs which actively detect fraud and block the IP automatically before more damage is done. I've tried a few but the one that definitely came on top was ClickCease.
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  • Profile picture of the author discountsignshop
    Pros: your CTR will get higher, CPC will reduced
    Cons: budget will reduced and fake traffic

    But please keep in mind, Google knows everything
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  • Profile picture of the author Rozanne
    I have seen this happen to many publishers, as far as I know there is nothing that you can do about it. Click fraud is a common practice in this industry.
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  • Profile picture of the author shaond
    I'm sure click fraud exists on AdSense. We've experienced Ad fraud on Outbrain a number of times - here's a screenshot of a site which chewed up all our budget in an hour http://bit.ly/2k2gsC0

    Outbrain initially denied that it was fraud, but when I showed them a video of how the publisher was generating fake clicks (it was obvious from their site) they refunded our budget.
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