Domain Kiting, PPC Abuse Dropping In Tandem

    June 19, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Through a subtle change in policy for displaying AdSense on domains, Google managed to reduce the impact of domain kiting and pay per clicks associated with misused brand names.

Brand protection firm MarkMonitor recently released the latest version of its Brandjacking quarterly survey. Among the company’s findings, company CMO Fred Felman told WebProNews they witnessed a significant year over year drop in domain kiting, which is the serial registration of the same domains over and over again.

This drop corresponded with another declining form of brand abuse. Kiters regularly placed the Google product AdSense for Domains onto their continuously registered domains. They essentially kept the domain name perpetually registered, at minimal cost, while reaping click-through profits from the ad placement.

Google shut that window when it began requiring domains to be open for six days before being considered for acceptance into AdSense for Domains. MarkMonitor’s numbers showed the impact: for the first quarter of 2008, pay per click abuse dropped by 42 percent year over year, by their research.

Other abuses happened through the mechanism of search engine optimization. Someone looking for adult traffic, in an example shared by Felman, set up a site stuffed with travel keywords. The site served its purpose, gaining valuable placement in the search rankings and driving traffic to it.

Once that traffic began arriving in volume, helped along with a spam campaighn, the domain owner swapped out the keyword-stuffed content for adult advertising. Visitors expecting to find something related to travel received an eyeful of scantily clad woman and plenty of links to adult sites.

Felman said MarkMonitor sees this brand abuse happen a lot. People game SEO with gibberish search terms. He also contended the travel-turned-adult site work was a planned tactic, with no change in registration when the site flipped content.

As people look for travel deals online, Felman suggested they avoid purchasing airline travel vouchers from auction sites. Despite the purported discount, such vouchers are not transferable to others. Felman said MarkMonitor gave it a try to see if such a voucher purchased this way would work.

It didn’t. Avoid such auctions when planning your vacation this summer. They simply serve as a way to move money from innocent people to scammers.