We all want to build a bigger audience for our website and increase our earnings — but how we go about it is important. Every month, the WordAds team sees advertisers flag some of our program members for acquiring non-human traffic. The owners of these flagged sites often tell us that they didn’t realize they were buying fraudulent, non-human site visits, and promise not to repeat this decision. Unfortunately, once a site owner has purchased fraudulent traffic the damage is already done. Their site may never fully recover their previous status with paying advertising accounts.
As your advertising partners, we want to see you succeed and grow your WordAds earnings over time. So we decided to answer these frequently asked questions around the perils of buying site visits.
What is non-human traffic? Advertisers pay to display their ads in front of real humans. However, fraudsters have developed various means — including bots — to manipulate advertisers into believing that their ads were viewed even when they were not. This includes malware that infects peoples’ computers and directs them to visit a list of sites to simulate authentic ad views.
Why do sites buy non-human traffic? Because non-human traffic is cheap, some site owners feel they can profit by earning more from their ads earnings than what they spend on paid site visits. As you probably figured out by now, this is short-term thinking. Advertisers will invariably catch the site owner, which will lead to the black-listing (or complete blocking) of their site.
Which companies should I avoid so that I don’t buy non-human traffic? To be on the safe side, it’s best not to buy traffic from any source. There are many companies that will sell you traffic, but they generally don’t acknowledge their use of non-human traffic sources.
What will happen if I do buy non-human traffic? Advertisers have a keen interest in showing their ads to real people, and have methods to identify non-human traffic without difficulty. For example, they often use third-party companies that screen sites for non-human traffic. Once they flag a site for non-human traffic it’s unlikely they will revert their decision. So if your site is blocked by one ad partner and you then seek a new ad partner, you might find that advertisers will still not bid on your site due to previous concerns about traffic patterns on your site.
To build your website for long-term success, we always recommend you focus on your site content and engage with your (human) visitors — that’s the most tried-and-true way to grow your traffic and your ad earnings. Besides, it’s not only the safest way. It’s also the most satisfying one.