On Feb 12th, 2014, I got an email from Google AdSense stating:
With our advertising programs, we strive to create an online ecosystem that benefits publishers, advertisers and users. For this reason, we sometimes have to take action against accounts that demonstrate behavior toward users or advertisers that may negatively impact how the ecosystem is perceived. In your case, we have detected invalid activity in your AdSense account and it has been disabled.
Say what?! I have been running the site in question since 2003. The content and mechanics of the site have remained virtually unchanged for a decade. So, I’d love to know why it’s suddenly in violation after all of this time, so I’m sure they’ll tell me why they are breaking our contractual agreement:
We’re limited in the amount of information we can provide about your specific violation. We understand this can be frustrating for you, but we’ve taken these precautionary measures because intentional violators can use this information to circumvent our detection systems.
Oh. So, you can accuse me of wrong-doing without providing any evidence. Nice. Well, oh-great Google, what can I do to appease you?
In some cases, publishers can make significant changes to correct the violation and are willing to comply with the AdSense program policies (google.com/adsense/policies). For this reason, we offer an appeals process as an opportunity to work with you to resolve the issue. To help you with the process, we’ve created a list of the top reasons for account closure for you to review before submission at http://support.google.com/adsense/bin/answer.py?answer=2660562. Please be sure to provide a thorough analysis in your appeal, which you can submit at https://support.google.com/adsense/bin/request.py?contact_type=appeal_form and we will follow up accordingly.
Oh. So, you won’t tell me what I need to do to make you happy. As far as I know, I don’t violate any of your rules, so help me out? I appeal:
- Have you ever purchased traffic to your site(s)?
- How do users get to your site? How do you promote your site?
Organically (e.g., word of mouth). I have never promoted on the site.
- Have you or your site ever violated the AdSense program policies or Terms & Conditions? If so, how? Also, include any relevant information that you believe may have resulted in invalid activity.
As far as I am aware, I have never violated the Terms & Conditions of the site or policies. The form, function, and content of my site has not changed since I opened my AdSense account (circa 2007), so I would be surprised to learn of a violation.
- Please include any data from your site traffic logs or reports that indicate suspicious IP addresses, referrers, or requests which could explain invalid activity.
Since I have no idea why my account was closed and have no reason to believe anything has occurred in the last unspecified period of time, I do not know what I would be looking for to provide any information to assist you in feeling confident that I was not responsible for whatever activity that has been deemed invalid.
Oh. So, I am supposed to guess what I did wrong and convince it was an accident? Where is a witch when you need one. Alright, so now what?
However, after thoroughly re-reviewing your account data and taking your feedback into consideration, our specialists have confirmed that we’re unable to reinstate your AdSense account.
Oh. So, I didn’t guess the magic number, and I lose. What was the magic number?
We understand that you may want more information about your account activity. However, because we have a need to protect our proprietary detection systems, we’re unable to provide our publishers with any details about their account activity.
Oh. So, you don’t have to even accuse me of anything concrete in the end. Well, at least you will pay out my outstanding balance, right?
Your outstanding balance and Google’s share of the revenue will both be fully refunded back to the affected advertisers. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.
Oh. So, you are going to keep that money, but I don’t understand, so don’t thank me for it. Oh well, hopefully we can work together again in the future, considering the 6-figures I earned for you.
Note that AdSense publishers whose accounts are disabled for violations of our Terms and Conditions are not eligible for further participation in AdSense. For this reason, you may not open new accounts.
When I started AirAIM many moons ago, I never thought it would be a money-maker of any kind, however it did receive a lot of traffic, and Google was happy to pay me for it. I funded a massive expansion of AirAIM over the years to proportions that I had not ever dreamed. So, I can’t be entirely bitter about the whole thing. However, there is a lesson here about anyone depending on Google AdSense to balance their budget: don’t!
The beast is fickle and silent, and one day, you may find yourself kicked to the curb too.