If you've read my book, you already know that Google AdSense can be a great way to monetize your Web site, if you choose to travel that path, but that it's imperative that you do not click on the ads that show up on your pages.
There are a couple of reasons for this, including the fact that it defrauds the advertiser out of their marketing expenditure for a click that by definition won't convert into a customer, but perhaps the biggest reason is simply that you can get kicked out of the AdSense program entirely if their system detects even a small amount of fraudulent clicking.
Which is why this article by Search Engine Watch blogger Jennifer "Jenstar" Slegg is so interesting to ponder: Botnet clicking AdSense ads revealed.
I've always wondered what those spyware programs do when they end up wedged in a PC, figuring that more likely than not they're trying to sniff out account passwords for sites like Paypal and credit card and other personally identifiable information. Perhaps some of them are used for what are called DDOS or "distributed denial of service" attacks where thousands of systems hammer on a target server, basically shutting it down because it cannot respond fast enough.
But now there's another problem: maybe, just maybe, the spyware or virus that you just got attached to an innocent message or executable or game is going to be part of a digital network of Google AdSense fraud bots, and every so often it will reach out onto the net and get a set of URLs that are pages that contain AdSense ads. Then the bot will "click" on those ads once every so often.
Now extend that scenario just a little bit: you get infected, have no idea, but Google does, and it correlates the IP address of a system running the AdSenseBot with your PC, which you use to log in and check your AdSense stats every so often.
And you'd never even know why.
As if we needed another reason to be paranoid on the Internet, eh?
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