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

  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;”

  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.

  4. 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 :-)

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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:

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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 :-)

  16. We can agree to disagree

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

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

  18. 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:

  19. Hello! Good Site! Thanks you! gqbvyhcxzm

  20. 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.

  21. Interesting…

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. thanks for share!

  26. Hey there, You have done an excellent job. I will certainly digg it and in my opinion recommend to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this website.


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