Google AdSense Competitive Ad Filter Broken?

Update to the Update (most recent): Turns out that blocking Yield Manager did not stop the ads from appearing either. Eventually, I resorted to searching for other websites on the same topic and waiting for an equivalent ad to appear. When I finally found one on a website that I do not own or have any relationship with, I clicked on it to see where it went. I blocked THAT address which seems to have done the trick.

It is a shame that in its quest for secrecy that Google cannot provide webmasters with a usable way in which to find out who is displaying advertising on their websites. The so-called preview tool that they provide is laughable in both its functionality and the fact that one has to just get lucky in order to get the ad in question to appear in the tool at all.

Update: Although I didn’t get much of an answer to my question in the Google AdSense forums (big surprise), I did some more digging on my own and came up with a likely answer. When using Firebug Firefox plugin to view the source of the offending ad, I was able to see the whole source code for the JavaScript based ad that was being displayed. While I don’t know much about JavaScripting code, I did notice in all of the programming a domain name, yieldmanager.com.

Again, I don’t know much about how JavaScript works, but I am going to assume that yield manager is actually having the ad placed and that when it displays, this bit of code goes out and actually ends up running an ad from the low cost per click paying atdmt.com folks.

On the one hand, that means that atdmt is not displaying ads on my site by paying some ridiculously low ad rate, because the ad actually comes from yieldmanager.com. The problem isn’t so much whether or not the ad pays well, but rather that it is virtually NEVER clicked on. In fact, I got my first click on that tower ad in a long time, and it paid decent. But, if it’s only going to bet clicked once every week, then it isn’t worth it. So, for the time being, I have added yieldmanager.com to my competitive ad filter too.

Hopefully, this will return that tower ad to its previously profitable status and eliminate the wasted impressions generated by this overly generic, non-call to action, advertisement.

Like many other AdSense publishers, I long ago added ATDMT.com to my competitive filter list in order to block their advertisements from appearing on my websites. However, on one of my websites, I’ve noticed that their ad appears repeatedly despite being in the list that is supposed to block them from showing up at all. In fact, on this particular website, one ad from ATDMT seems to appear almost exclusively in the sidebar tower ad.

It is not a matter of giving it time since ATDMT has been in the list for months. In fact, I was somewhat surprised when I went to add the domain name to the competitive ad filter list and found that it was already there. The full domain is supposed to be filtered atdmt.com and yet, an ad from click.atdmt.com shows again and again on different days, on different pages, and in different browsers.

This raises the question, is the AdSense Competitive Ad Filter working properly? Or, is Google using the list as a “suggestion” and continuing to display whatever ad it feels like? Or, are publishers not allowed to block atdmt.com at all?

I’ll be posting a question in the AdSense forums, which is the only form of help available to most content publishers when it comes to Google AdSense. A quick Google search revealed that if this sort of thing is a widespread problem that there don’t appear to be too many people aware of it, which leads me to believe, for the time being, that this is just a singular glitch on my website.

Ironically, the ad in question was brought to my attention not only by the sudden appearance of very low CPC rates on what traditionally provides relatively decent pay per click, but also by the fact that NoScript was suddenly showing in the status bar that it was blocking some JavaScript even though I have my domain whitelisted. Turns out that not only is atdmt.com showing up past my competitive ad filtering, but that it is also running an animated JavaScript ad as well.

Well, off to post my forum question.

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