If you’ve run many ad campaigns on Google in the past, you will know about a thing called Adsense. Adsense places your content on various kosher properties on the internet who have opted in to receive a small payout every time someone views or clicks an ad. It has been around for decades and is one of Google’s oldest and biggest money makers. Google also has other products: Search Ads, Gmail Ads, Local Ads, Youtube Ads, and more.
Since I didn’t have a fortune 500 budget and wanted my targeting specific, my plan was to advertise my e-course on Airbnb (airbnb10k) arbitrage to the specific audience of a Youtube channel based on airbnb. I set it up and looked away for 2 weeks with $20/day of ad spend put towards a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) budget.
When I went back to check on the performance because I hadn’t made any sales, I was horrified to see ZERO views on the channel I chose but $357 spent on worthless ads. In fact, this number would have been much greater if my credit card had not been expired.
Little did I know, google automatically enrolls your Youtube or other ads in Adsense as well and starts to burn through your ad spend placing your ads on any sites that it possibly can, showing your carefully crafted video targeting entrepreneurs to teenagers in random countries playing free video games.
And do they tell you about this? Of course not!
Carefully hidden in your placements menu, you can see the terrible and ineffective placements Google Ads has intentionally tricked you into purchasing, in my case at a CPM of as much as $32.00!
When I dug deeper and looked at the sited, I realized what a racket was happening. Here are just a few examples of sites blatantly created just to farm a more-than-complicit Adsense campaign.
Some of these sites have somehow been getting views and worthless clicks but are not even up due to a server error. This is just blatant fraud now.
So I went to Google support thinking “Their goal is to make me a better customer by making the entire marketing experience more seamless for all parties.. not to make money off of obvious scam sites. Support will help me out when I point out that I did not ask for Adsense or authorize spend on it! Right?”
NOPE! This is all part of their strategy to dupe you. Here is the response from support:
When a dishonest company has as much unchecked power as Google, bad things begin to happen to their users and customers simply because a monopoly can respond with middle finger to complaints. It is no surprise to me now why in 2018, google removed the “Don’t be evil.” clause from its code of conduct.
Thanks to the incredible amount of money taken with this scheme and the massive pool of victims, this would appear to be a red letter day for a class action firm, and I certainly hope one does soon.