Is There A Bulls Eye On Me Or Something?

Targeted By a SEO Hacker

While checking my referrals I came across some posts and stories that claimed my blog, and bunch of other SEO blogs, are being targeted by a SEO Hacker.

The hacker had a blog on WordPress (now suspended) with a hit list of blogs he was going to break into. This is what he posted about me.

www.johnchow.com – Dude wtf?! You came out of the blur and now your blog is everywhere.

There are people who are jealous of other people’s success. They can’t succeed themselves so they try to take down someone else. Wolf Howl was the first blog to get hit and the hacker went on to hack a few other blogs before WordPress release their 2.0.7 upgrade to stop him.

Trying To Get Me Banned From Google

A couple of days ago, someone tried to get me banned from Google by clicking on my AdSense ads a few thousand times. Yes! A few thousand times! Whoever it was did it for two days in a roll. I had no idea how many hours this must have taken and normally, it would work at getting a normal AdSense publisher banned. Luckily, I’m no normal AdSense publisher.

The only thing this hater accomplished was to make his index finger sore. Google filtered out all the fake clicks and I am still an AdSense publisher. I’ve been with AdSense since Google started the program. I have a personal sales rep I can call on for situations like this. This isn’t Digg. You’ll have to be a lot more creative than clicking on thousands of Google ads to get me banned.

Stuff like these doesn’t deter me. It just makes me drive even harder.


51 thoughts on “Is There A Bulls Eye On Me Or Something?”

  1. Eli says:

    Wow that’s just shocking..

    Do you really think he clicked your Google ads manually though? Maybe he had a bot or something?

    I have no idea, but what a sad person he must be to go to all that bother..

  2. Tyler says:

    Aww poor hacker person. No fun eh?

    Probably a script kiddie eh?

  3. That sucks that someone would try to do that but at least you have the pull to avoid the real potential problem. Many of us would not be so lucky, but it shows that people will try to bring down those at the top.

  4. Alex Becker says:

    well good that you are John Chow and people know you. You probably heard what happened to Casey Serin the guy thats facing foreclosure.

  5. Gary says:

    John,

    did Google release the IP of the offender to you?

  6. Hawaii SEO says:

    You Go John! They just drive more publicity and traffic to your blog.

    For example: I discovered your blog while reading the news that you had been banned from Digg.

  7. Carl says:

    The best way to upgrade WordPress is to download the zip files from this site:

    http://markjaquith.wordpress.com/

    They only include the files that were changed, so you don’t end up overwriting a bunch of files you might have modified, or waste time downloading and zipping the ENTIRE WordPress package each time.

  8. I wish I had a google rep, im always afraid some jerk will do that to me, and since im a new publisher im scared it will work.

  9. Ryan says:

    It’s sad to think that someone with a malicious intent could quickly get someone’s AdSense account terminated (or at least suspended for a bit). Glad to see Google picked up on it quickly.

  10. Nate W. says:

    That is absolutely ridiculous! I can’t stand people are jealous. That is one of the most pathetic characteristics someone can have. Learn to be happy with what you have a strive for what you want to achieve.

  11. Michael Kwan says:

    You’re lucky that Google knows who you are. Getting banned from Adsense would suck pretty bad.

  12. Jane says:

    Geez, first you have the Turkish hacker leave his mark, now this shmuck. You’re a big attraction πŸ™‚

    Keep up the good work though!

  13. Dejan says:

    Hahah, what retards, cant believe that people actually do such things =))

  14. Carl says:

    I don’t think you need a ‘google rep’ for them to know it’s obviously someone trying to defraud your account. When there more clicks than adviews, obviously there is a bot at work, and I think Google will act fast in blocking that IP, refunding and credits that may have been given to your account, and refunding the advertisers’ credits.

  15. John Chow says:

    Carl – True, but it is nice to have someone to call just in case. πŸ™‚

  16. Raghu says:

    John – Cant understand why people would like to do something like this.

    Well pulling down somebody successful has always been a way people have to become successful themselves – sometimes it works but most times it does not !

    You keep going buddy. Good to see that normal posts are back πŸ™‚

  17. Gdog says:

    There’s always haters when you’re successful…

  18. Ed Lau says:

    LOL…that’s pretty funny.

    I should just sell someone your address so they can come kill you or something.

    OR…I could sell a dozen fake addresses and make some money while I’m at it.

    …jeez, I’ve been hanging out with you too much.

  19. Andrew Chen says:

    How come Digg is so strict. Is that means once a site is banned it is banned forever?

  20. Allen.H says:

    I’ve had users trying to click my ads few dozens and even hundreds of times a day. In the first case i emailed Google about it, and they removed the clicks. Now whenever there’s a major click fraud done on any of my blogs Google informs me of this and tells me that they have subtracted the invalid clicks.

    Develop a good relationship with the reps there and your safe from f—ers like that one.

    Allen.H

  21. Carl says:

    Makes you wonder about the sites that DO get banned for click fraud. It should be pretty easy for Google to find out whether the clicks are coming from someone trying to get a site banned, or trying to make a few extra bucks…

  22. HMTKSteve says:

    John,

    Many smaller bloggers live in fear of the “man with the rubber index finger” who comes to over-click. Unlike you most people would be banned outright with no second chance, or even a first to chance to explain that it was not them!

  23. ed says:

    John, I hate to bring more bad news but… it looks your site have been listed as “undesired” by at least one company providing filtering service to corporate clients in Australia. I used to read your blog almost daily but since Monday my employer has blocked your site quoting “adult content” as a main reason. And at least one site from your “friends list” is also affected.

    Mate, you must have rubbed someone’s nose pretty badly… We Australians have a name for it – tall poppy syndrome (we invented it but it appears others are “catching it” as well!).

    You are doing a great job John. It’s my first post so, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you for sharing all your wisdom and, of course, for a great entertainment your blog provides!

    Cheers

  24. Nomar says:

    hmm.. good that u still can use adsense πŸ™‚

  25. Dave says:

    Someone threatened to do this to me, and then followed through. I think he actually ended up getting banned because I linked Google to his threats πŸ˜€

  26. But the important lesson here is that the smaller sites still need to try and use multiple sources of income, as that way you are not completely dependent on Google should something bad happen.

    Of course my site is only Google Adsense because I was denied for TLA and haven’t tried anything else, but the lesson is still there. Lol.

  27. John Wesley says:

    Chow,

    Congratulations on moving up to 35 on the Technorati favorites list. I can’t wait to copycat you.

  28. Andrew says:

    And all this for a guy that gives great information, tries to help out other bloggers, and has donated profits from his blog to his community…

    What a real accomplishment…

  29. Bret says:

    I can’t say I’m surprised about what happened to you John, but I am highly disappointed that your helpful site, and the blogosphere in general, has to watch out for such malicious behavior.

    I’ve been enjoying your site for a couple of weeks now and greatly appreciate your articles about monetizing a web site. From what I’ve read thus far I just can’t understand what would motivate someone to target you other than simple jealousy. Keep up the good work.

  30. i think our problem is ‘smallness’ and anonymity. the lovable giant Google, is not a monstrous Goliath as many of us see her.

    if we grow honestly and cultivate Google in an honest relationship, then Google would rather complement and help you than ‘persecute’ you. i am a product of Google’s honest and helful dealings with her publishing partners.

    if u are transparent and your growth or earnings follow an undisclosed ‘honest’ pattern, known only to Google, you have nothing to fear.

    Google is not just a dreaded Goliath, but a honest organisation that detest unrighteous practices by her partnering publishers.

  31. Leftblank says:

    Very shocking, though this kind of advantages sadly don’t count for everyone with Adsense, my website got blocked this way, 1,5 year ago and still the Google sales rep. refuses to reactivate – but well, I guess we can’t be all lucky out here.

  32. HMTKSteve says:

    Now that Yahoo is offering an alternate to AdSense we will just have to wait and see what the future brings us.

  33. Ryan says:

    Leftblank, did you get your account activated by now? I wonder if this still happens to anyone?

  34. John, I think the title to this post should read “Is there a Bulls Eye on me or Something?”.

    Sad news about the haters, glad to see you that you persevered.

  35. Why don’t the people that spend so much time being destructive channel that energy into creating something instead? I mean seriously, what satisfaction could you possibly get out of clicking on someone’s ads thousands of times?

  36. Yup, some people are just bloody jealous. In regards to the Adsense clicks, I’m sure they didn’t sit there and do it manually, they probably wrote a script to do it.

    Vic

  37. One thing I have never understood about Google is that if their click-fraud detection software is so good, why can’t they just not include the suspect fraudulent earnings in your check, and maybe send a letter stating why it was lower. That is what many other companies with adsense-style programs do…

  38. Michael Kwan says:

    I remember when I first signed up for WritingUp a long while back, the fraudulent ad click thing was a very big issue. People were getting banned from Adsense left, right, and centre.

  39. David Mackey says:

    Wow. Somebody really has it in for you. I doubt they clicked manually – probably set up a robot.

  40. Stew says:

    Stay strong Chow =)

  41. Alex Becker says:

    where, where and where? there are no links buddy.

  42. Michael Kwan says:

    ^I think that’s just a trackback. Those are usually just text and not HTML (to my knowledge).

  43. Raghu says:

    What is the Yahoo alternative to Adsense that is referred in one of the comments above – Is it already available or something for the future ?

  44. John Chow says:

    It’s call Yahoo! Publisher Network: http://publisher.yahoo.com/ It’s in beta for US only at this time.

  45. Ryan says:

    Indeed that sucks John. As they say though, “You can’t keep a good man down.”

    Someone clicked on my Adsense ads excessively about a year ago and I noticed the huge increase in my earnings. After checking my stats and realizing I couldn’t correlate those earnings with an increase in traffic, I immediately sent an email to the Adsense folks telling them that I suspected malicious activity. The problem was taken care of within hours and the Adsense rep on my case thanked me for contacting them. While it would have been nice to handle this with a phone call, the email worked fine as well.

    As an extra measure of prevention for wp hackers, Ben Yau has posted a quick htaccess adjustment that blocks the /wp-admin/ folder for unlisted ip’s. Thought your readers would appreciate this.
    http://www.reubenyau.com/protecting-the-wordpress-wp-admin-folder/

  46. Marc says:

    “Stuff like these doesn’t deter me. It just makes me drive even harder.”

    That’s a great quote. I’ve been getting knocked around lately in a different manner and it’s great to see something motivational like this.

  47. Alex Becker says:

    Michael thanks for pointing that out.

  48. John Chow says:

    Ryan – Thanks, I added the extra security measure. Anyone going to my WP Admin gets a 404 page now.

  49. John Wesley says:

    Might have to try that .htaccess adjustment, thaks Ryan.

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