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AdSense Account Disabled
Google Alleges Invalid Clicks....

 3:52 am on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

So I just received an email from Google saying the disabled my account because they observed invalid clicks on AdSense links. I don't do anything that could be misconstrued as violating their TOS.

I just read, and re-read their TOS, policies, and FAQ, (specifically, the section on click spamming (https://www.google.com/adsense/faq#basics9), and am positive that I don't do any of those things....

EXCEPT, one time I was checking out my message board and clicked on a link to a health food site because I was interested in buying health food-related products. The last sentence in the second paragraph says "Please note that clicking on your own ads for any reason is also prohibited because this has the potential to inflate advertiser costs". Would they really disable my account automatically because I was legitimately interested in an advertisers product and clicked on their link, just because I own my site?

I just don't know what else the problem could be. :(

This has been a very good month for me because my site is related to a baseball team that is in the playoffs, and the majority of AdSense ads that showed up were for ticket brokers. There are even threads on my message board by users discussing what great deals they got through these brokers because of the Google ads.

I'm really bummed, because for the first time ever my site was actually beginning to turn a profit. They wouldn't disable my account just because I had a good month, would they?

Reading threads here, other people seem to have gotten notices or warnings; mine was automatically disabled. I'm just really frustrated because I thought I was just running the ads and being a good citizen doing so.

Has anyone ever heard of this before?



 12:38 am on Oct 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Accounts should never be deactivated for fraudulent clicks. It is simply impossible for a webmaster to prevent this.

True, but to Google, the issue probably isn't whether the Webmaster is guilty or innocent (or who the real culprit might be). It's more likely to be a simple question of economics: Is the Web site profitable for Google or not? If the site doesn't generate significant revenue, the answer is probably "no," and it may be more cost-effective to disable the account than to do a thorough investigation.

I'm reminded of when I sold tickets at a foodball game in high school and my till came up $10 short one night. I didn't take the money, and maybe no one did. Maybe the teacher who did the bookkeeping had miscounted the change in the cash drawer before the game. No matter: It was simpler for the teacher to take me off ticket-selling duties than to determine whether I was innocent or guilty. I was pretty upset at the time, but in looking back, I suppose the teacher was just using good business judgment. (Too bad he didn't explain his reasoning, though--just as it's too bad Google doesn't make it clear that detecting invalid clicks on a site's ads doesn't necessarily mean the publisher is considered guilty of fraud.)


 10:42 pm on Oct 4, 2003 (gmt 0)


So you mean Google will PROBABLY tolerate some fraudulent clicks if the site is 'profitable.'


 11:12 pm on Oct 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is it worth G's time to pay someone to analyze an account flagged as possibly fraudulent when that account is generating less revenue per month that the analyst's hourly wage?


 11:18 pm on Oct 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

To me, the real point to all this, is google can do whatever they want, so long as they pay their bills. If they think my account had some invalid clicks, fine. Figure out how much they want to refund their advertisers, deduct it from my account, and pay me what is owed. They have every right to pick and choose their publishers. If they do not want my sites, fine... I can put other (albeit less profitable) ads up. Right now I am in limbo as they do their investigation. They asked for a bunch of information that they should already have if they had a reasonable tracking system set up. Meanwhile, I am acruing more and more money in my Adsense account.

By coincidence, I received the letter the day after I hit a "milestone" amount of revenue. Perhaps they have an automatic trigger that says if publisher makes more than X dollars in a day, ATTACK!

And no, it was not that much of a jump from the previous days' totals.


 2:56 am on Oct 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

irock wrote:

So you mean Google will PROBABLY tolerate some fraudulent clicks if the site is 'profitable.'

PatrickDeese's reply is on target, IMHO. It isn't a question of whether Google will "tolerate" fraudulent clicks; it's whether Google can justify the expense of a more thorough investigation (or even a lengthy e-mail correspondence) if a site produces minimal revenue.

Also, any organization that lets algorithms churn out automated e-mails is going to make mistakes now and then. That's why it never hurts to answer an "invalid clicks" e-mail with a calm, reasonable, and polite statement of the facts (as the publisher sees them) and an offer to help with a more detailed investigation.


 5:10 am on Oct 5, 2003 (gmt 0)


Most likely, you were flagged at the month end audit of your earnings.

I think, google uses the month end audit to do a serious analysis of clicks during the month. Atleast most of the ban threads seem to spring up at the end of the month here.


 5:13 am on Oct 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

EFV, I have seen a couple of people who got banned complaining of losses amounting to thousands of dollars. Not sure whether that is small by google's standards.

Might be that google bans people below a certain traffic threshold when fradulent clicks are detected?


 8:48 am on Oct 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

If the site doesn't generate significant revenue, the answer is probably "no,"

Not truth - if you take 100,000 sites that each generates 500 USD then you get decent money. The problem is that that Google doesn't have good anti-fraud algorithm, so that nobody could be again accused of these illegal clicks. The no "analysts" are needed to investigate, etc., etc.


 9:52 am on Oct 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>100,000 sites that each generates 500 USD

I think that is the point EFV is making. Each of these hypothetical sites would turn over $500, of which Google makes (say) $250. Cost out their techies time in investigating at $100 an hour, and its more cost effective for them to ban the site than investigate in depth.

On your hypothetical example of 100,000 such sites the number of "suspect" sites would be quite small, say 1000 or 2000. You can see the point EFV is making on a cost benefit analysis from Google's point of view.

It may not be good PR though!


 2:57 pm on Oct 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Kinitz wrote:

Not truth - if you take 100,000 sites that each generates 500 USD then you get decent money.

But as Cornwall points out, isn't likely that all 100,000 sites are showing invalid clicks. If only 1% or 2% of the sites are having problems, Google won't lose that much by dumping them.

Remember, too, that a lot of sites aren't generating anywhere near $500 a month. Also, the critical number isn't how much revenue the the sites are generating, but how much profit they're generating (i.e., how much money Google receives after the revenue split and after account overhead, which includes investigating questionable clicks).

Again, I'm not saying that Google should let a site's revenues influence its decisions on whether to keep or close the account; I'm simply saying that it would be surprising if the economic factor weren't involved.


 4:40 pm on Oct 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

> Remember, too, that a lot of sites aren't generating anywhere near $500 a month.

I have been in AdSense since mid-July... haven't qualified for a payment yet.

I would guess I am not lowest earner in the program.

I have a lot of Spanish language content that got Adsense less than 2 hours after I found out the G opened the program to other languages (thanks guys).

I can tell you judging from the first couple of days - I will be qualifying for a check every month, but still no where near "$500" per month.


 7:04 am on Oct 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

I just got AdSense set up on my site and I know that I can't click on any of the ads. But suddenly, I have this urge to click on them. It's like those people who are at the edge of a cliff and feel the urge to jump. Or like when you're told not to think about a specific thing, but it's all you can think about. Weird. Luckily, I already have the products that Google is advertising on my site, so I'll be able to fight off the urge. :) It's just weird though. Perhaps I need professional help.

Just out of curiosity, how do they know when it's you clicking? This question is mainly about the first post in this thread.


 11:44 am on Oct 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just do what I do

Hold the rear of the mouse and slowly move towards to google ad, watch the link appear in the bottom corner of the browser window at then slowly move it away

DO not click on the link

there that was easy - now you know where the URL goes to and that's all you need to know

If you want to use the URL from your site then right click, copy and paste into a new browser window and remove any of the google code leaving just the URL press return and the site appears

This way no gets upset and you have got what you wanted


 3:05 pm on Oct 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just do what I do
Hold the rear of the mouse and slowly move towards to google ad, watch the link appear in the bottom corner of the browser window at then slowly move it away

No no..... ah...... too late. You KNOW if he gets THAT close, he's gonna click.... he's a click addict! I think there is professional help for that in a forum here somewhere, "Webmasters Who Can't Stop Clicking" or something like that....

--Kenn (lol - ...I'm off to find that forum for 'Webmasters Who Can't Be Funny'....)


 3:34 pm on Oct 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sometimes I have moved the mouse fast - back and forwards just being a bit of a devil,

I hope the google guys dont find out what I am doing or they may add this to the TOS

It does make it easier if you have the google TOS open at the same time and scroll down to where it says

"Do not click on the link"

It may not be much fun, but it sure saves getting the dreaded email terminating your adsense.


 6:55 pm on Oct 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hey ncw, (lol) wanna play Google roulette?

Let's start with you clicking on your adsense ad. If you don't get booted, then it'll be my turn.


 7:19 pm on Oct 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Suffice it to say if you are running the ads on a discussion thread, and you own the site and are interacting and you find your finger on the letter G on the keypad and it is the first letter of the word you are typing, you better stop, drop, and go outside and get some air.

As far as I am concerned with my communities, I didn't even know there were ads on the page or how they got there.

This 47 message thread spans 2 pages: < < 47 ( 1 [2]
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