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Jul. 16th, 2005

I learned a couple of interesting things today. One is that if you disable cookies, no
ads displayed on AdSense sites. You can also enable a special kind of cookie that causes a
test publisher id to be displayed, so if you're getting hit by click fraud, if you use that
cookie the attacker can't deplete any paid ad accounts. This actually might serve as a
honeypot for certain types of fraudsters. Make them think they're depleting someone's
budget and get enough of a clickstream on them to track them and (hopefully) shut them
down.

However, there is a downside to this. Uncookied access is potential loss of revenue. Which
raises an interesting question: is it worth enough to G, Y!, etc. to disable ads to
uncookied access as a click fraud prevention mechanism, even if they miss revenue
opportunities? I remember at AV, some people were very uncomfortable with the idea of
people disabling cookies for this and other related reasons.

The other thing I learned is there's a book out on how to make money
(legitimately) with AdSense. The author has bachelor's and master's degrees in math
(granted by the CS dept of the University of Waterloo). I visited his site and left a
comment in one of his blog entries about some of my thoughts on click fraud and am hoping
for a reply.

In other news, as we get closer to the arrival date of my chorus' French guests, there's
more to do. Last weekend, we had a yard sale that raised about $1500. Rehearsals started
up again last Tuesday, with much focus on the three pieces we are learning to perform with
our guests. (We've performed two of them already during our last trip to France, so it's
review for some of us, but our director is pushing us to do a better job.) As far as piano
goes, the Chopin prelude is getting a bit easier, but I'm finding the suggested fingering of
the fourth measure very awkward. I'll have to ask my teacher to play it at my next lesson
and watch her hand placement.

Edit: I misunderstood the discussion on WebmasterWorld about cookies. As it turns out, AdSense will display ads regardless of whether cookies are enabled. However, it won't display ads to Lynx users (at least not from my ISP account). Same argument applies, however. I use Lynx quite regularly, so there is a potential loss of revenue to anyone who won't display ads to me. Given that most Google ads are text ads, it doesn't make much sense for them to disable ads to users of text browsers. Lynx can be used as a crawler, and can be hacked to operate fraudulently, but it can also be disguised to mimic the identity of some other browser. Only novice fraudsters wouldn't change the user agent string, so IMO they're better off just allowing the ads to be displayed to text browser users.

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