There are umpteen-bajillionty different things that you probably want to tell your family in the weeks and months after you tell them that you’re a blogger. Things like, “yes, there really is a lot of work involved.” And, “No, I do not want to help you start your blog.” And of course, “No, I do NOT think that you should quit your day job and start blogging.” But before you get into any of that, there is one thing that you should tell your caring, loving family (and friends) about your blog:
Do NOT click on my ads.
In the past few weeks I have heard from more than one blogger that their ad network pulled their ads because of “suspicious activity”. This activity was a well-meaning relative who learned that bloggers make money when people click on ads. So, in order to “help” their blogging sister/daughter/friend, they made sure to go to the blog every day, and click on every. single. ad. It takes them 3 minutes to be “helpful”, and they feel so good for doing it.
While well intentioned, this is wrong on several levels. First, it is stealing. For ads that are paying per click, they are paying the blogger who sent them a referral. A relative clicking away is NOT a genuine referral, and getting paid for that click means the blogger is getting paid for a disingenuous referral.
Second, it can do more harm than good. Ad networks are smart. With a significant percentage of clicks not resulting in further action, they will catch on. Some ad networks might even be able to tell the IP address that the clicks are coming from, and see a higher-than-normal number of clicks coming from a single IP address.
Rather than ask questions, the first response on the part of the Ad Network will be to disable the blogger’s account entirely to protect their ad integrity for their advertisers. Meaning that a well-intentioned relative, instead of boosting the blogger’s income, pulled the entire revenue stream.
The blogger may be able to file a report with the ad network contesting the problem and they may be able to get he ban lifted… or the ban might be permanent. In any case, it is a headache that all bloggers can do without.
So, before some well-meaning co-worker or friend tells your Mother-in-Law how to “help” you with your blogging… make sure that they know that no matter how well-intentioned, illicit clicks don’t do anyone any good.