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Using MyBlogLog could get you banned from Adsense

mybloglog Using MyBlogLog could get you banned from AdsenseI wrote yesterday about the sorry tale of the now Yahoo! owned MyBlogLog banning Jeremy Schoemaker following Jeremy’s exposure of serious security issues with the service, but from from Jeremy today: MyBlogLog Tracks Your Visitors Ad Clicks.

Shortform: MyBlogLog is not only tracking visits from other MyBlogLog members to your site (if you’re using the service) they are also tracking clicks on your ads, INCLUDING Adsense ads.

I can’t speak for other users, but certainly when I signed up for the service I don’t remember anything being clearly mentioned about MyBlogLog spying on the ad clicks on my site.

Certainly, other 3rd party trackers do track this sort of behavior. I use Adlogger on a number of sites to track my clicks and to protect against click fraud, but notably I choose to do so and I run my own copy locally so that only I have control over the data it gathers. Services such as Alexa, Google Toolbar (both of which I use via the searchstatus plugin) and Compete send data on my surfing habits back to their respective companies, but they send MY data back, not the data of visitors to my sites, and I OPT IN TO those services, knowing to well the implications of doing so. MyBlogLog on the other hand is spying on my visitors (which I accept) but also their activity on each site (ad clicks), which I don’t accept. Notably I’ve also read recently (don’t have the link at hand) that prior to Yahoo’s acquisition of the company, MyBlogLog were trying to shop these stats to the highest bidder, so privacy of the data is questionable as well.

Are you using Adsense and MyBlogLog together? Remember the rule about not being able to disclose the CTR rates to third parties? MyBlogLog is gathering this exact data on your site if you’re using the service. Using Adsense with MyBlogLog could get you banned from Adsense!

As of 5 minutes ago I’ve removed MyBlogLog from my own personal blog. My Adsense account is too valuable to risk, and I’m outraged that MyBlogLog was stealing this data from my site. If you haven’t done so yet, I’d encourage everyone using the service to take it down immediately. For all it’s benefits (it’s still a fun idea) the risks far outweigh the benefits.

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44 people thinks stuff!

  1. Mmmm That’s really strange…
    Have you tried to ask MyBlogLog about it?

    By Avinio on February 23, 2007 5:14 pm

  2. Ask them what Avinio? Go to Jeremy’s site and check the evidence out, and there’s even more proof in the comments. On the Adsense side it’s easy: Google TOS 7 “You agree not to disclose Google Confidential Information without Google’s prior written consent”…CTR rates are confidential information. They could in theory gather the data legally, but it has to be with written permission: “independently developed without access to Google Confidential Information, as evidenced in writing;”

    By Duncan Riley on February 23, 2007 5:22 pm

  3. Wow…i wonder hy MyBlogLog doing it.
    Don’t they know that with that reason all Bloggers gonna leave them?
    anyway, i’m going to delete it from my site,
    and beside i ‘ll check it and i’ll inform you Duncan.

    By Avinio on February 23, 2007 5:26 pm

  4. [...] Additional Reading: 091 AM [...]

    By MyBlogLog = Tracking Google Ad Clicks? » Webomatica on February 23, 2007 5:35 pm

  5. Avinio
    even if it could be argued that the Adsense TOS isn’t breached, what they are doing is just plain wrong in my books, I’m also reading elsewhere now but it looks like they may have stolen the code that tracks the Adsense clicks as well…and just keeps getting worse for them doesn’t it. Better safe than sorry :-)

    By Duncan Riley on February 23, 2007 5:52 pm

  6. Duncan I thought shoemoney was spamming mybloglog. This is an interesting twist when you point out that he was showing a security weakness. I am glad I rely on more than one point of view for making decisions. I took mybloglogdown!

    By Jessica Doyle on February 23, 2007 10:16 pm

  7. Jessica,
    he started talking about how to spam it, but really in the context of the security holes, and later posts were really just scandalous in terms of the security issues he raised. I was 20/20 on dropping them at that stage, then I found out about the Adsense tracking and to me that’s the end of the matter, no more MyBlogLog for me, and hence I’m recommending the same for others.

    By Duncan Riley on February 24, 2007 12:37 am

  8. Trackback:

    On MyBlogLog’s ad tracking…

    There have been a number of recent posts ’round the blogosphere about our ads tracking and we’d like to make a few clarifications:

    By Eric Marcoullier on February 24, 2007 12:41 am

  9. I’m a little shocked at all of this. Really. I trusted them. I read on about how they don’t have a user agreement. I feel rather gullible at this point. And that brings up the question of trust. Trust on a global level.

    By Jessica Doyle on February 24, 2007 1:07 am

  10. [...] man mit MyBlogLog seinen AdSense-Acount? 24. Februar 2007 Duncan Riley schreibt heute in 901am darüber, dass Blogger die MyBlogLog und AdSense gemeinsam auf ihrer Seite betreiben ihren [...]

    By Riskiert man mit MyBlogLog seinen AdSense-Acount? | nanoblogs[.de] on February 24, 2007 2:23 am

  11. I suggest you do some research before jumping on this hackbaiting ride to hell, you have been able to track YPN with Google Analytics for ages

    By Andy Beard on February 24, 2007 5:17 am

  12. [...] Today for the first time I am actually ashamed of Techcrunch, Michael Gray, Lisa Barone, and Duncan Riley. [...]

    By Wolfpack of Lies - Hack Baiting Web 2.0 Startups For Diggs : Blog Archive Andy Beard on February 24, 2007 5:35 am

  13. [...] Riley over at 901am wrote an interesting post highlighting MyBlogLog stealing your visitors data. This is OK until they keep [...]

    By MyBlogLog Might Pose a Danger For Your AdSense Account on February 24, 2007 7:37 am

  14. I don’t see where it’s illegal for a third-party to track CTR from Google Adsense’s TOS.

    Duncan — can you point out where it says that, or where you got that idea from?

    By Steve Poland on February 24, 2007 10:39 am

  15. [...] Is It Finally Time to Monetize Deep Jive Interests? February 24th, 2007 at 4:12 pm by Tony UPDATE: if I do decide to monetize things, I might have take down MBL – it looks like its spying on Adsense and THAT might violate Google’s TOS [...]

    By Deep Jive Interests » Is It Finally Time to Monetize Deep Jive Interests? on February 24, 2007 2:23 pm

  16. [...] But, MyBlogLog now might have a bigger problem. It’s emerging that its widgets are tracking ALL traffic and clicks, including Adsense clicks which may be in breach of Google Adsense’s ToS. [...]

    By Could Using MyBlogLog Get You Banned From Adsense? | Connected Internet on February 24, 2007 5:58 pm

  17. Steve, as per my earlier comment: Google TOS 7:
    “You agree not to disclose Google Confidential Information without Google’s prior written consent”…CTR rates are confidential information. They (MyBlogLog) could in theory gather the data legally, but it has to be with written permission: “independently developed without access to Google Confidential Information, as evidenced in writing”…the in writing part is the key. I didn’t even know MyBlogLog was gathering this data about my account, so certainly I’ve never written to Google asking that they be given permission to, unless of course this is some sneaky fineprint in the MyBlogLog signup or similar?? who knows. Either way, it’s down and it’s not going back up with me…ever.

    By Duncan Riley on February 24, 2007 9:19 pm

  18. Now name an ad tracking solution that

    1. Could be used for both YPN and Google
    2. It 100% secure
    3. Does not have any conflicts of interest

    Analytics has been able to track Yahoo for ages using code based on exactly what MBL use – Google don’t provide it as standard with Analytics, so you have to get it from Digital Inspiration or Aaron Wall.

    There are lots of services that have huge conflicts of interest, including connection to monetization services or are potentially competitors.

    You need to have tracking to defend against clickfraud, and if Google dont provide a suitable service for the masses, you have to go elsewhere.

    By Andy Beard on February 24, 2007 9:38 pm

  19. Andy
    agreed, and I use Adlogger myself, but as I’ve pointed out: how many people really knew that MyBlogLog was tracking this stuff (I’d be 99% of people didn’t) and also previously shopping the data? If we use Analytics we’ve got at least a private policy and some sort of guarantee that our data remains private, from what I understand reading elsewhere today (caterina from Flickr) is that MyBlogLog doesn’t even had a terms of service! Why don’t I just give this mob my credit card…heck, my whole wallet while I’m at it given the lack of security and privacy confines the service has.

    By Duncan Riley on February 24, 2007 10:03 pm

  20. Well Adlogger or your server can be hacked and is on your server which your hosting company have access to, and can you trust all their employees?

    They have had a privacy policy for as long as I can remember, but it isn’t ideally worded.

    If you read the newly linked terms of service, it is actually the global Yahoo one, which covers all their services, including newly introduced ones.

    Effectively from the day they were acquired by Yahoo, that would have been in force, even though it wasn’t linked.

    I know that isn’t ideal, but then the blogosphere in many ways might be slowing down development, by forcing it to be reactionary.
    You don’t hear about WordPress issues until after they are fixed, the same for Microsoft (at least in the main) – security issue are generally not used as linkbait.

    Whether you notice clicks would depend on how much traffic you get, and how many external link your have. With a basic account the 10 positions fill up fast so it could be overlooked.

    It certainly doesn’t take long to spot the adsense tracking if you have a pro account. I think the majority of users, who are the ones with low traffic… the long tail, would have seen the clicks and been happy – but you don’t discuss how many clicks you get per day.
    The people who wouldn’t spot it are the high traffic blogs, and it is easy for them to assume that the long-tail of bloggers wouldn’t.

    Another thing you have to look at is the timeline. Google didn’t have a tracking solution, so everyone had to use a 3rd party. There has never been a question of whether this was allowed – it is effectively encourage by the system to defend yourself in the event of a complaint.
    There is absolutely no way Google can squash a 3rd party tracking service, and from the looks of what is written on the MBL blog, there isn’t a problem.

    Just think to yourself what the motivation for the post was and how much obvious background information was also included (ie none)

    I payed them with Paypal, there is no way they can charge me more with just my email address.

    I know you like controversial topics, it is good for traffic and so do we all. You do normally cover multiple angles, and unfortunately you can’t rely on Techmeme to give them all, in a situation where so many blogs are saying the same thing.
    Actually Techmeme has been particularly poor on this subject because so many people took a knee jerk attitude.

    Just think, whilst I was receiving 500 visitors a day for Day Job Killer searches, I still linked through to your research on the testimonial – I am sure linking through to stuff like that cost me sales, but it was the right thing to do.

    By Andy Beard on February 24, 2007 10:46 pm

  21. [...] Using MyBlogLog could get you banned from Adsense Yahoo Publisher Network’s Trojan Horse MyBlogLog Tracks Your Visitors Ad Clicks [...]

    By Italia SW » MyBlogLog, il “virus” di Yahoo - I motivi per evitarlo o bannarlo on February 25, 2007 9:50 pm

  22. Andy,
    not trying to be controversial here, and I take your comment on board in full, but for me I wasn’t aware that MyBlogLog was tracking this stuff, and quiet simply I wouldn’t have been using the service if I’d known, as I’m sure other wouldn’t have, aside from any of the legalities or issues it could cause with Adsense. What I can say for sure: if I ever launch a tracking product one day, I intend to be fully upfront about what it tracks and how. In my opinion the MyBlogLog team didn’t, they surfed a wave of glowing reviews based on a product that had a cool widget. Brilliant marketing or just plain sneaky? the book is still out on that. They’ve screwed with people in our business though that didn’t deserve to be screwed with, and that to me is another good reason to not use the product, but if we disagree on this one, we disagree and I fully respect that and indeed no two people ever agree on everything, I should know, married for 8 years :-)

    By Duncan Riley on February 25, 2007 10:08 pm

  23. We can agree to disagree

    There are so many conflicts of interest out there that so far I have avoided discussing

    By Andy Beard on February 25, 2007 10:45 pm

  24. I fully Sympathize Andy, I’ve got things I’m not allowed to say boo about either :-)

    By Duncan Riley on February 26, 2007 1:53 am

  25. [...] Referências: 1, 2 e 3. [...]

    By » MyBlogLog viola os termos do Adsense »» Blog da Maysa on February 26, 2007 8:08 am

  26. [...] 27th, 2007 Will Using MyBlogLog get you banned from Adsense? I first read it over at 901am and then at ShoeMoney that MyBlogLog tracks our visitors Ad clicks Are you using Adsense and [...]

    By Will Using MyBlogLog get you banned from Adsense? - on February 27, 2007 12:02 am

  27. [...] Using MyBlogLog could get you banned from Adsense [...]

    By links for 2007-02-27 | on February 27, 2007 7:20 am

  28. [...] there’s a bit of panic that MyBlogLog will get AdSense publishers in trouble, since it does track which ads your visitors [...]

    By » Google Lets You Play Your Own Video Ads » InsideGoogle » part of the Blog News Channel on February 27, 2007 10:07 pm

  29. [...] over at 901am, Duncan Riley details how using MyBlogLog on your blog could get you banned from AdSense. MyBlogLog [...]

    By MyBlogLog feels the heat ~ The Outsider on March 1, 2007 11:48 pm

  30. [...] info here  The bottom line is that MyBlogLog is tracking AdSense and YPN clicks too. (Update: They do show [...]

    By Seo Home blog » Blog Archive » MyBlogLog going to get you banned from Adsense/ypn? on March 5, 2007 7:31 am

  31. [...] many bloggers such as 901am have been removing themselves from MyBlogLog because they are afraid it will get them banned from [...]

    By Brad’s Bits » Google Adsense and MyBlogLog differences on March 15, 2007 10:58 am

  32. Hey–

    Just to let you know that I contacted Google Adsense help several times about MyBlogLog considered click discrepancies.

    The representative mentioned MyBlogLog casually throughout our emails without attacting like it was a bad thing.

    I detail here:

    By Brad on March 16, 2007 8:31 am

  33. [...] system also tracks your Adsense clicks. Depending on who you talk to this is a good thing or a bad thing. There is also apparently a way to do this with Google Analytics as well. If you enjoyed this post, [...]

    By Social Media Marketing - MyBlogLog Review « iwebis on April 20, 2007 11:11 am

  34. Hello! Good Site! Thanks you! gqbvyhcxzm

    By terlbgmsbq on June 18, 2007 4:30 pm

  35. Yes, it’s true that using AdSense with any 3rd party trackers could get you banned from AdSense. Just like Duncan said: TAKE IT DOWN IMMEDIATELY.

    By Ho Feng Wong on July 20, 2007 5:45 am

  36. Interesting…

    By Kosta on September 8, 2007 1:37 am

  37. [...] December 3, 2007 by geekycoder By now, should be no stranger to even those new to blogosphere. Those cool ubiquitous widget (Left) which appears in many blog sites shows the avatar and name of those recent visitors is definitely very useful in building community and network of friends. Given that MyBloglog is getting so popular nowaday, there is no reason why one shouldn’t add this as one of the indispensable widget for one’s blog site unless there are some concern like getting ban from Google Adsense Using MyBlogLog could get you banned from Adsense [...]

    By Adding MyBlogLog widget to free Wordpress hosted service « GeekyCoder on December 3, 2007 2:07 am

  38. Interesting post! For those of you looking for an AdSense alternative, I highly recommend WidgetBucks. I’ve been earning almost twice as much with WidgetBucks compared to AdSense. Plus, the ads are optimized for WordPress, Blogger, and even TypePad. Check out this WidgetBucks review for some more info.

    By Seth on June 13, 2008 7:23 pm

  39. [...] Using MyBlogLog Could Get You Banned From AdSense [...]

    By How Google Web History Works and Why You Should Opt Out | GROWMAP.COM on September 14, 2008 7:59 am

  40. i have one question about this, and need a feedback immediately.
    im using mybloglog and start to using adsense too,
    but how about we remove the script that mybloglog give it.the script that
    track our blog,
    is there any solution for adsense from get banned?
    if we just remove that script? but still using that service?, because i just use it
    for my comment avatar, and need too see my other update blog.

    email me, if u not mind.
    sorry about the english, im malaysian people.

    By diedn on November 14, 2009 8:15 am

  41. I just joined mybloglog yesterday and noticed that some have posted “I just clicked on your ads. Will you click on mine?” Now THAT will get you banned.

    I am quitting mybloglog as well. I can not risk this. Too much exposure to the wrong types of visitors.

    By Mike on March 13, 2010 1:26 pm

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    By Adriana on February 25, 2012 6:43 pm

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    By creating history together with arenabetting piala eropa 2012 on February 28, 2012 3:46 pm

  44. [...] Using MyBlogLog Could Get You Banned From AdSense [...]

    By How Google Web History Works and Why You Should Opt Out on September 19, 2013 7:32 pm

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