I had an unusual thing happen to me this week. I received a letter from Sedo saying that my account had been terminated and all monies kept due to unnatural traffic to my domains. Needless to say I was upset but I was pretty sure I knew why.
Or at least I think I know why. It’s not a secret I sell my domains through auctions. Goddaddy, NameJet, and Sedo. When those auctions get close to the end date , the programs like Dropday, Protrada, Freshdrop, and various private scripts have links to the site and their bots a scraping and searching. I would also imagine quite a few people go to the site from those tools as well. I had noticed, especially when I have names on Namejet , that my site will suddenly get 300 or 400 uniques that day and many will click ads. Why anyone would click ads is beyond me but the correlation from name coming close to an end date and a huge surge in traffic have been going hand in hand. Do I control it? Absolutely not. Am I doing anything but list that name at auction? No. But Sedo and it’s advertisers didn’t like it. And they closed my account. Not just the parking but the entire account. As I went back to see if there were any other links that I could have possibly done unnaturally and I did find one. I had linked a landing page from this site but took it down and parked the domain. I had forgotten (I promise) that there was a hard link from DomainShane to the new parked page. But that was it. Out of the 100’s of domains that was the only unnatural link from me in my entire account. I obviously didn’t feel this was right so I contacted Sedo.
I am fortunate enough to have recently met Heather DelCapini. Heather is Sedo’s Marketing Team Manager. She didn’t work in the area that could help me but I knew she could guide me and fortunately put me in touch with Tom Fell of the Security and Compliance division. He was nice enough to look it over. He did what I hoped they would do. Flagged the domains that were an issue (ie cut them off), and reinstated my account. They handled the problem quickly and professionally. My account was back up in days.
In reality, I didn’t do anything wrong. I knew my domains would get mad spikes of traffic but since I had no hand in the traffic, I thought I was fine. I enjoyed seeing all the extra money. Some as much as $30 per domain per day. I actually thought I was on to something. Domains that didn’t sell were still making good money just being up for auction. Evidently this is not legit traffic. I have no idea what it is and why it clicks on links, but I can tell you that if you have the same thing going on, watch yourself. It doesn’t matter if you did anything wrong it could hurt you. I will now make sure that if I put a domain up for auction and it has Adsense I will take the adsense down. I will make sure it doesn’t go to a parked page. There are just too many computers scraping data and following links. I would hate to lose some of my most important sources of revenue over click fraud (adsense not parking). Especially click fraud that I didn’t even participate in. And again, thank you Sedo, especially Heather and Tom, for handling that is rare in today’s online business world. Sometimes this blog pays off by helping me build relationships and this week it certainly helped.