AdBrite is actually a CPM ad network (you pay for impressions, not clicks) so it’s not PPC but I will share my horrible experiences with them anyway since I tested AdBrite along with the other PPC systems in this series.
I setup an account with them several months ago and put in a very low CPM price for a single ad – at the time my maximum amount was too low to run anything on their partner sites, so nothing really happened. Since nothing was happening, I sort of forgot about my ad in their system.
Fast forward a few months later – I saw a massive amount of traffic to our site. I looked at the stats to try to figure out where it was all coming from and the referrers were all strange foreign sites (lots of Korean sites) – hundreds of them – most looked like foreign versions of MFA sites – some were not even sites, but cloaked pages, non-pages, ad pages, frames – just complete garbage. But they were sending our site a ridiculous amount of traffic.
Confused, I started digging deeper and logged into my AdBrite account. Lo and behold, my ads had gone active 3 days ago and I was being charged $100 per day for a total of $300. So I went from $0/day and 0 visitors to $100/day (my maximum) and thousands of visitors.
I called AdBrite and they told me that they had just changed some things in their system to “allow more exposure for our advertisers”. I asked them to refund my money since I was not told about this change, and all the traffic I had received was from spammy sites. They sent me the following response:
I spoke with you today regarding the clicks your ad received. We upgraded our system to optimize the ad servers and on Thursday we introduced those new filters, which is why you saw the increase in traffic. Looking at your network, it doesn’t look like there was any fraudulent activity going on, but you can send us any statistics and sites that you would like us to review. Let us know if you have any further questions.
I then proceeded to study my stats and make screenshots of the reports. Fun facts: A lot of the top referrers were not even websites but blank pages, 100% ad pages, redirects, etc. 50% of the traffic was coming from a single IP in Korea! When I contacted AdBrite again with the stats, they referred me to their quality control department and asked me to provide specifics, which I did. This was August 21st.
I followed up several times with them and was told that they were investigating the matter. One whole month later on September 22nd, I received the following email:
Thanks for writing. We have concluded the necessary research for the network ad in question. There was total of $101.64 invalid clicks generated in your network campaign. The invalid clicks has been refunded back to your credit card as requested.
So after a whole month of “investigation” I only got 1/3 of my money back. The methods they used to determine clicks? Who knows. Needless to say, I am not happy. My opinion of AdBrite: STAY AWAY FROM THEM.
As a bonus, on the bottom of their emails they usually had the following:
Ticket ID: DFU-######
Department: Online Support
So I’m glad they considered my click fraud request LOW priority and considered it CLOSED even before it was resolved.