With the recent rash of Adsense account bannings (discussed here, here, and here, in case you missed it) itâ€™s obvious that anyone can get ANY Adsense account banned. Not just your own, anyoneâ€™s. Not only will the account be banned but the publisher will also forfeit all unpaid income in their account. Please note, I do NOT condone using these methods. I am merely trying to draw attention to a growing problem in Googleâ€™s Adsense/Adwords system.
1. Use the targeted accountâ€™s publisher ID â€“ This is perhaps the most glaring weakness in the Adsense system. Anyone can find the publisher id of a site by simply looking at the pageâ€™s source code. If I wanted to target a competitorâ€™s account, I would simply have to view the source code of one of their pages with Adsense ads on it, and find the 16 digit publisher ID within the code that would look something like this:
google_ad_client = “pub-############”
After that, the possibilities are nearly endless. You can create pages that blatantly violate Googleâ€™s Terms of Service (TOS) , instruct visitors to click the ads that are surrounded by adult content, place Adsense ads on those pages (using the targetâ€™s publisher ID of course), and sit back and wait for the account to be banned. If you are really inpatient, you can even report the pages yourself! Obviously precautions would need to be taken such as private registration for your domain, or better yet the use of a free hosting provider. With a little common sense the risks of being caught using this method would be minimal.
2. Click on the targetâ€™s ads â€“ This is another shockingly simple method. Simply use a proxy to mask your IP, navigate to a page with ads from the targeted publisher, and click as many ads as possible. The targeted publisherâ€™s click through ratio (CTR) will skyrocket as will his or her earnings and red flags will be shooting up like wild flowers over at the Google-Plex. This action can be repeated several times over the course of the day (normally using several different proxies) and a ban is certain to be handed down. This method does constitute click fraud and could even have legal ramifications if caught, however, the use of proxies eliminates almost all the risk involved. This method doesnâ€™t even require that much technical knowledge, as a simple Google search for the term â€œproxy serverâ€ would provide more than enough information to perpetrate this method.
Hereâ€™s the beauty of the whole issue. As evidenced by their automated responses these account bans are almost certainly handed out programmatically. That means one must simply trip a certain number of filters to bring about an account ban. While account reinstatements do occur, they are extremely rare and very difficult to obtain. These two methods will certainly get ANY Adsense account banned, and even if the targeted publisher manages to get their account reinstated, they will have forfeited weeksâ€™ worth of income and untold amounts of time. Once again, let me emphasize that I do NOT endorse the use of these methods. I am simply trying to expose the gaping holes in Googleâ€™s business model. Hopefully these weaknesses will be addressed and fewer and fewer innocent publishers will be punished for actions not their own.