Seems like there is a new pirate in town, an AdSense Pirate. A WebmasterWorld thread reports one AdSense publisher being extorted by someone online, making them share half their AdSense income with them or else they would force them to be banned on Google AdSense.
The publisher said:
For the last several days I've been seeing 10x my normal revenue due to someone generating 1000's of clicks on ads on my search channel. I notified the AdSense team immediately through the contact us (a pain in itself). Today I received an extortion letter indicating they'd stop if I pay them half the money. Otherwise they'd continue and get my account banned. What is the suggested way to contact and work with Google on this so that I don't get my account banned?
What is happening is that this 'pirate' is sabotaging this publishers AdSense ads, by making it look like click fraud is rampant on his ads. Google may or may not ultimately ban the publisher due to the invalid clicks, which would leave the publisher out of business.
No one is laughing this off, they are all suggesting that this publisher take measures. What measures?
- Take down the channel being abused
- Gather search logs and analytics
- Ensure only sites you own can run your ads
- Block the IPs that are doing the damage
- Report the issue to your host
- Send all these details in order to Google
I hope this issue doesn't become wide spread. I have heard of reports of this in the past, but nothing this serious.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.