Scott Karp on the Virtues of Paid Content
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Goodbye AdSense! (And Good Riddance Too!)

NoadsenseSilly me.  I tried Google AdSense when I launched this blog and was disappointed with the results so I dropped it.  I gave it another shot a year later and was making about a dollar a day.  Yeah, I know that providing that sort of information is a violation of the AdSense terms and conditions.  Not to worry...I got an e-mail from Google today telling me that they've disabled my account.  Why?  I'll let them tell you.  Here's an excerpt from that message:

While going through our records recently, we found that your AdSense account has posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers. Since keeping your account in our publisher network may financially damage our advertisers in the future, we've decided to disable your account.

Please understand that we consider this a necessary step to protect the interests of both our advertisers and our other AdSense publishers. We realize the inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

What a crock!  Google won't tell you why you're shut down, so all I can assume is that some knucklehead clicked several times on the same ad, producing an extremely unusual pattern that stood out.  After doing some research tonight it's clear that many, many others have been shut down for this sort of thing.  (Just do a search on phrases like "AdSense sucks", for example, to see for yourself.)

Gee, so that means you could just walk up to a computer at BestBuy, CompUSA, the Apple store or any other public facility, go to your competitor's website and click on ads like a madman.  Poof!  You'll knock out their AdSense account.  How ridiculous.

I was toying with the idea of removing my AdSense block from this and my other blog, Kindleville; the prime real estate I gave AdSense just didn't seem worthwhile.  Google just made that decision for me.  Those ads are gone now and I'll never go back to AdSense.  I might explore Yahoo and a few other providers, but no more AdSense for me.

P.S. -- It's one thing for Google to arbitrarily shut down an account like this.  It's quite another for them to charge their advertising partners for all these clicks but never pay the site owners a penny.  I seriously doubt all the clicks since my last payment were rogue.  Google billed the advertisers for all those clicks and my cut of the deal was accumulating in my AdSense account.  Now Google can simply say "game over" and walk away with all the proceeds from the advertisers.  How convenient for them.  Gee, I thought Google's mantra was "do no evil."


Dave Taylor

Easy does it, Joe. Google does indeed refund and credit AdWords accounts when they detect fraudulent click patterns. It's the #1 risk the company has, actually, and you can bet that they have their brightest working on it (it's far more important to their revenue that AdWords advertisers be happy than that us common folk who use the search engine be happy with the search results, for example).

I would strongly encourage you to query them and ask for a clarification of what they are concerned about. If you're not doing anything fraudulent or overtly against the terms of service, my experience is that they ARE forthcoming.

Joe Wikert

Hi Dave. I'll never know if they credited the advertisers for what they deemed fraudulent but I *do* know that they're not paying me (or all the other canceled accounts) for all the other clicks that had accumulated since my last payment. They apparently just pocket 100% of that income themselves and I think that's wrong. Anytime they knock someone out like this they keep the earned balance for themselves.

I'm done with AdSense. I can't see a reason to do any further business with them if they can pull the rug out from under you and not bother to tell you why. And yes, I know their terms of service are pretty clear about this but I had a very steady track record with them up to this point.

Darnell Clayton

Hey Joe,

Saw your comment over on the Blog Herald.

First, Google could have simply disabled your Adsense account because they thought your blog was a splog (spam blog).

I've had my blog mistaken for a splog before, and after a quick talk (via emails) and a few days, my blog was in good graces again.

Instead of venting over something that just happened, have you decided to instead wait on a response from Google instead of assuming the worst?

Just my two cents...



Yes, it is possible to get back in the AdSense club again, just be patient. Remember, Google has probably a few hundred employees (a thousand if they're lucky) supporting the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of sites using Ad Sense.

It may be some time before they respond.

Joe Wikert

Hi Darnell. Thanks for your comment. It's fair to say I applied the same "guilty until proven innocent" approach the AdSense team used for me. As soon as they disabled my account I removed their ad blocks. I saw no reason to continue providing free advertising for them when I was getting zero in return.

Initially I filed a petition to turn my account back on but after a bit more consideration I submitted a follow-up message telling them not to bother. It would be foolish of me to go back to them as an advertising provider now that I've seen first-hand how itchy their trigger finger is on disabling accounts. Even if they allowed me back in who's to say they won't arbitrarily disable me again in the future? Again, having read a few of the other complaints from former AdSense users out there it's clear this happens on a regular basis.

Morgan Ramsay

As someone who never clicks on online ads, has a browser plugin that blocks all ads, and tried out online advertising in 1995 as both an advertiser and webmaster, why people still waste precious time and resources on filling their whitespace with junk boggles the mind. Online advertising is an afterthought for most site operators and usually doesn't help achieve any site goals and objectives.

If you really want to monetize your blog, do something relevant, such as posting book reviews with referral links. You might even be able to increase sales (and visits to your website) of Wiley books by offering a unique, embedded discount code via your reviews. I'm sure can work with you to make that happen.

Third-party ads come with a whole lot of intended and unintended consequences. You're better off avoiding them if you can.

PS. I thought Google's mantra was "take over the world, one keyword at a time." ;)


You are not alone. Google has disabled their own blogs too.

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