Evil Tricks to Earn Clicks (on AdSense)
AdSense is, for the online writer who would rather prove themselves awesome than have success handed to them on a platter, a godsend. It's a chance for those of us who just love to write to express ourselves and earn some cash in the process. Often a respectable amount, to boot.
Unfortunately, for every hard-working joe and jane that tries to snag readers with solid material and long hours, there are cheaters. Quick-to-riches online trawlers who use every underhanded tactic they can think of to get page views and, ultimately, those AdSense clicks that earn them the big bucks.
This is not a guide on how to use those tricks. This is, instead, a wall of infamy. An attempt to show these scammers for what they are, both as hack writers and as money-grubbers looking to use technical hitches to snag money from Google. If you see these tricks in action, let the appropriate authorities know, freeing up all that ad money for those of us who actually earned it.
Enough talk. Let's dig into this rogue's gallery.
Has your work ever been plagiarized?
Most prolific online writers have run across this problem at least once, if not more than once, while wandering the waves of the web. Somebody's copied and pasted their work wholesale, claiming all that effort for their own. Run one of your more popular articles through a search engine and you may just catch this in action.
Dealing with plagiarists, fortunately, is pretty easy, as they've generally stolen from other authors as well. Either notify the other authors and let them deal with the problem or take up the issue with the owner of the domain. Even a hint of legal turbulence is usually enough to get the material taken down.
This sounds nice, but it's not. These bloggers - yes, they're usually bloggers - will copy and paste an article, and leave your name on the top... but that's all. And when you see the article, you're left to wonder if you should be flattered or not, and whether you should raise a fuss.
Don't. Most of the time, these articles don't include links back to pages where YOUR ads are located, which means the plagiarist is still getting all the money. Either go to them directly or jump on the domain's owners to get the article taken down.
One thing to note, however: some of these bloggers don't know that they're doing wrong. An odd proportion of the Internet seems to think that all material found online is public domain, and, thus, open to all to share. That's not the way it works, and the faster they learn as much, the better.
These writers may be eloquent. They might be downright brilliant. But, all too often, they're lying about their stories.
Why? Because lies, notably radical lies, generate traffic. They catch eyes. They get attention, if only for a few days until the lie is exposed, and draw thousands of people to have a look. And a few will probably click on ads accidentally. Prime examples of this are popular site closures and the deaths of celebrities.
Unfortunately, most such liars just get away with what they're doing since their subjects don't care one way or another, so a good way to deal with them is to avoid their sites. Blacklist the things. And encourage others to do the same. Let's all keep the Internet factual, shall we?
These writers don't steal. (They might rewrite.) They aren't necessarily plagiarists. They are, however, total slackers, as their pages are a mess - and awash with keywords.
To be a slacker, one needs only access to pages like Google's Keyword Tool. They isolate the most popular subjects - as any writer hoping to make a buck would do! - and then fill their pages with barely sensical gibberish, looking to draw in views despite being composed of near utter nonsense. They'll also stack their pages with heaps of ads to earn more click revenue.
On the plus side, these writers are usually weeded out by Google of its own accord, often by the system itself rather than flesh and bone people. Beware, however, the trap of keyword overloading yourself - it doesn't work, and will get you in trouble. Stick to well-written, informative articles.
There's an article here, and one that might be quite solid. But someone along the way - maybe the author, maybe an editor or uploader with few scruples - decided to add a link title that isn't connected with the content at all. This can range from only slightly misleading ('Helen Hunt is dying...' then the tagline in the article is '... for a new coat!') to blatantly wrong ('The World is Ending, Predicts Psychic Chimp' leads to a Toblerone ad).
Don't do this. It's annoying. (Yes, I'll admit that the title of this hub can be construed as iffy in this sense. Rhyming is catchy, dangit!)
Among the lowest of the low are those who work up methods of clicking on their ads, without repercussions, and enjoying the benefits thereof. There are plenty of ways to do this, and most of them don't really work anymore, but people will keep trying.
And don't worry: if you clicked on one of your ads 'accidentally' to see if it earns you some money, Google forgives. Just don't do it too often.
These guys are some of the worst. Again, they may be fantastic writers, but their desire for instant gratification drives them to seek out other fortune-lovers, and the lot of them will exchange ad clicks. These farms can become large enough that Google may not even catch on for a while.
Will it eventually? Yep. Trends emerge, and anybody caught is through. You're hurting the advertisers, guys, cut it out.
Are there more?
Of course there are. Schemers come up with new plots to rob more sites than just Google every day of the week, often putting a surprising amount of effort into their endeavors that would be much better spent engaging in some honest work.
Do yourself a favor, folks. Don't try any of the above. Churn out the good stuff. We'll all benefit as a result: you, your reputation, other writers HubPages, Google, the advertisers, and, ultimately, your bank account.