I was poking around various fan fiction archives last night, looking for archives to contact about FanworksFinder. One of these archives was encouraging its members to click on Google Ads as a way of helping to cover costs. This had worked. When they stopped encouraging people, their Google Ads revenue dropped a lot. In the end, they were busted for click fraud as a result. (Because Google accused them of clicking on their own ads to make money.)
If you’re a fansite and you want to cover your costs, Google ads are one way to go. If they aren’t working on their own to raise revenue, DO NOT ENCOURAGE USERS TO CLICK ON ADS! DO NOT CLICK ON ADS YOURSELF! THAT IS CLICK FRAUD! You get caught at it and you all the revenue you’ve earned goes poof! You won’t get that check. I’ve seen a number of fansites get busted for click fraud where they encouraged their users to click on ads to cover costs. I’ve heard of several fan people who got busted for click fraud because they were accused of clicking on ads themselves. No check. And if you’re announcing the “Click to pay our bills!” effort on your site? Then anyone with a grudge against you can report you to Google Ads for click ad. You’re opening yourself up to lots of trouble. Don’t engage in click fraud!
If you need the money that badly to pay for costs for your fansite, there are ways that are much less risky than click fraud. There are three ways I recommend to help raise funds. First, ask your users to donate money to help cover costs. If your site is that important to them, they’ll contribute. Second, consider an advertising network like ProjectWonderful which pays out at $10 and is paid based on the amount of views to your site. Also fantastic about ProjectWonderful? You can encourage your users to buy ads for their sites and projects on your site. It isn’t just begging for donations then. Third, find a better hosting solution. You can move to a free host. (Transfer your wiki to say Wikia.) You can move to a cheaper host. (Fan History went from SiteGround to SliceHost and saved about $100 a month.) This could make your hosting more affordable for you. If you need more ideas, contact me on AIM at h2oequalswater or some other way. I’m more than willing to help you.
Just don’t engage in click fraud with Google Ads. You’ll get caught. It will cost you legit funds you earned. It is unethical. Just don’t do it! Find another solution!