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This 101 message thread spans 4 pages: < < 101 ( 1 [2] 3 4 > >     
Responding to "I was terminated" threads
Some thoughts after recent events
hunderdown




msg:1420842
 3:32 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

<snip>

Got me thinking how we -- the WebmasterWorld AdSense community, such as it is -- might better respond to similar posters in the future. We were all jumping to the conclusion (I'm including myself in this) that he/she was violating the AdSense TOS, and deserved to be castigated.

It's entirely possible that he/she WAS violating the AdSense TOS, but by reacting in that way, we'll never know. And that's too bad, because we might have been able to learn something. The circumstances seemed different from many of the other "I was banned" threads. The poster said something about traffic from 10,000 different IPs, suggesting either that he/she had looked at his logs and was genuinely surprised that Google would have a problem with traffic from many sources, or was trying to scam Google with a lot of different fake traffic, and was surprised and upset to be caught (he/she subsequently posted in another thread this statement: "INVALID CLICK ATTACKS" which ties into either theory above--it's either the poster's conclusion of what happened, or a piece of misdirection).

It can be gratifying to jump on someone who wasn't playing by the rules, but if we jump too soon we jump on the innocent along with the guilty.

And more important, we lose the opportunity to learn something.

So I'm suggesting that for future "I was banned" posts, we:

* take them at face value
* be polite
* draw them out, and try to get as much information as possible
* not jump to conclusions
* treat the poster as if they were our best friend coming to us asking for help after getting terminated by Google

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 7:26 pm (utc) on July 19, 2005]
[edit reason] please reread the tos on moderation. [/edit]

 

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:1420872
 8:51 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

You can think - like I would - that they have violated the TOS. Then we move on to seeing how we can help someone who wants to join our community.

There are occasions when the content and tone of a submission suggests that the poster deserves no assistance because they have obviously not observed the letter of the law WRT Adsense. I don't need help from people who make such obvious mistakes so why don't we just let them face the consequences?

TheDonster




msg:1420873
 10:03 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

The most encouraging statement ASA has mentioned is that Google will work with the publisher to try to correct the violations of the TOS. Most of the terminated posters here always say "I got shut down with no explanation whatsoever and my emails are going unanswered". I was always of the opinion that if your site is in minor violation for whatever reason, Google would give you the chance to correct it before terminating you. After all, we're in this together right? Nice to hear from ASA on this point.

oddsod




msg:1420874
 10:16 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

In most other cases, we try to work with publishers to comply with our guidelines and improve the results of their AdSense implementation.

ASA, it is often the complaint that when an account is terminated the webmaster hits canned replies. Is there any suggestion you can make for how such webmasters can actually open a conversation with Google to discuss the issue?

the poster deserves no assistance because they have obviously not observed the letter of the law WRT Adsense

And you have? If one of your link partners' server goes down you are in violation of the letter of the "law".

Adsense TOS [google.com]:
>> Site may not include:....Deceptive or manipulative content or construction to improve your site's search engine ranking, e.g., your site's PageRank
>> Your site must not contain broken links
>> Sites must respond adequately to support requests and enquiries of their users
>> not load pages with irrelevant or excessive key words
>> not have hidden text or hidden links
>> Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number
>> not participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank
>> No Google ad may be placed on pages published specifically for the purpose of showing ads, whether or not the page content is relevant.

Note the subjective matter of some of the "rules".

[edited by: oddsod at 10:27 pm (utc) on July 19, 2005]

lammert




msg:1420875
 10:22 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

(...) so why don't we just let them face the consequences?

As WW members, we don't need to let them face the consequences. Google already showed them the ultimate consequence by closing the account. It doesn't help if we put salt in the open wounds and humiliate the banned poster in public.

What hunderdown tries with this thread is to find a way that both the banned posters and community can learn something from the "banned" threads. Most obvious it would be to learn why the account was closed. The original poster of the "banned" thread is the only one who can provide us with details, so to learn something from the situation, we first have to create a comfortable environment for him to talk.

Remember that most starters of the "banned" threads only just before posting realized that their account was closed and the money of one or more months is lost which may have increased their adrenaline level and colored their view on the situation/Google. It is unlikely that their first post contains all the information and elements for us to learn something from. Therefore we should in this first stage mostly listen and ask open questions, rather than judge and point. Just like a psychiatrist. If the poster feels he is in a friendly environment, the whole story will come out even if he knows he did wrong, just to vent his emotions. Then the learning process can start, both for us and the poster.

derekwong28




msg:1420876
 5:48 am on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

As a new inductee in the suspended Adsense club, I have to agree with Hunterdown's sentiments.

After the Allegra update, some WWW members gloated and rub salt into the wounds of those who were hurt by it, yet these very same gloaters were hurt by the Bourbon update.

All my Adsense sites were bought, and there are more than 400,000 pages. I confess that I do not have time to look at all 400,000 pages and accept responsbility completely. Some of the sites are forums and I really cannot see how they could have infringed the TOS, but again I cannot be totally sure whether there are no profanities in them.

Some of the Adsense TOS are very subjective. However, if I feel that there had been a major infringement, I would not have asked my Adsense payments to roll on.

moneyraker




msg:1420877
 6:24 am on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

In addition, we should not be pointing to a poster's 'broken english' as a factor in assessing his or her innocence. I've seen some posts that suggest such, but we really can never correlate the poster's english with his integrity, or with what his or her website has to offer.

ncw164x




msg:1420878
 7:33 am on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

good post hunderdown, a thread like his has been due for quite a long time, the comments like we are seeing on webmasterworld in general and not just the adsense forum are not happening on other forums around the world...

>>we should not be pointing to a poster's 'broken english'

that is another good point moneyraker, its a disgrace to see members posting adverse comments about other webmasterworld members, this never happened a few years ago, members helped each other in any way they could not jump to the first conclusion of guilty before proved innocent.

Thanks for your replies AdSenseAdvisor and a belated welcome to webmasterworld

John Carpenter




msg:1420879
 9:36 am on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

I believe that utmost fear (of AdSense account being disabled) is responsible for the personal attacks and suspicion. Naturally, no AdSense publisher wants to read that his or her account can be disabled any time without doing anything wrong. Their reaction is then quite natural (determined by psychological factors). They try to persuade themselves (and perhaps the others) that the people whose accounts were disabled simply _must_ be guilty. This will give them at least a little peace of mind, because the disturbing notion is suppressed.

However, by saying that such a reaction is natural I do not mean it is acceptable. I just wanted to say that to me their reaction is not unexpected and that I understand why so many people react in such a way.

John Carpenter

DamonHD




msg:1420880
 10:12 am on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi,

No, we must *not* draw adverse conclusions from poor use of English when it is clearly a second language for the poster.

But sloppy use of English by people who can clearly do better is like going to an interview with your lunch all over your shirt: it shows a certain lack of respect for your audience and possibly for other aspects of their belief system too, such as integrity and honesty.

I can live with the odd "your"/"you're" slip for example as it's very common and I bet schools don't even explain the difference, but a badly written rant which also includes conspiracy theories about G implies someone with a rather loose grip on the notion of "it's not always about you" and "the other person's point of view", IMHO.

So, we *should* give people the benefit of the doubt, but if they show sloppy/shallow/selfish/short-term thinking which they have clearly no intention of correcting (eg by posting in another thread how their friends were helping them "make" $1000 a day with AdSense) or understanding, then there is only a limited amount that we *can* help, with the best will in the world. I don't think that WW is likely to be able to "fix"/rehabilitate sociopaths better than the criminal justice system or G dumping their a/c, sadly! I really wish it were otherwise.

Genuine misunderstanding or overexcitiment is another matter. Did *you* read the ToS from top-to-bottom? As a business persion I'm in the habit of doing so, but I must admit to my eyes glazing over after checking that there were no "and we claim your first child in payment" clauses.

Very good thread this.

Rgds

Damon

Tropical Island




msg:1420881
 12:26 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think for future posts of this nature we simply cut and paste ASA's comments.

They are clear and concise. If a mistake has been made contact AdSense. In most cases I would bet that a mistake has not been made.

All you have to do is go back to the thread about "click our ads" search to get an idea of the number of cheaters out there.

YesMom




msg:1420882
 1:18 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

"and we claim your first child in payment"

Oh!

Where is this clause specifically?

He just turned 15 and I might consider. ;-)

YM

Ankhenaton




msg:1420883
 1:38 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

hmm.

Personally I am quite glad I saw their response [or complete absense of any] what is in fact a minor mistake on a test site, before my business partner applies for the main site.

The person that above stated that google needs to be a reliable business partner seems to have a good point. The delusion that I am some major criminal just out to con google is a bit ridicolous.

Matter of the fact is that if you make a harmless mistake, you can be kicked out with no reason given, an anonymous email to write to and a good chance of all emails to that adress getting ignored.

If adsense wants to become a program that one can rely on as a serious long term income base, one would at least expect a reliable complaints procedure and a governing body supervising them.

Since over a week I get this:
"Account Not Active
An AdSense account does not exist for this login, as your application is currently in review. Within a week of your application date, we'll review your application and follow-up with you via email. Once you are approved to join AdSense, you'll be able to log in to your account and get started."

I have no idea, what is happening. Am I rejected, are they having problems. If you compare that to the arrogance they treat their users with that is simply not good enough.

I spent about 7 years now developing my main site. We went through the bust and now things are picking up again. So the question remains, if google wants a part of what I have achieved on the long run, they have to try harder. Personally I would say, if that attitude remains, I might use them as long as I need to but will be telling anybofy something newer, better and more reliable has to come. In the end effect google is just hurting themselves and with that all you that depend on them.

Flame me if you wish, but if I am right, you should be asking google to give you more reliability instead of hitting at people that made a mistake. Since no one is perfect, how do you know that a mistake of yours will not result in a black hole, google side?

Anyway let see what happens. :)

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:1420884
 2:57 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

If adsense wants to become a program that one can rely on as a serious long term income base, one would at least expect a reliable complaints procedure and a governing body supervising them.

You make a lot of sense with this statement and there should be some sort of accountability in play considering that G are effectively taking money from hiring our website real estate. Google are effectively a law unto themselves with Adsense and publishers just have to accept whatever they hit them with. Clearly this is unfair and it would not happen in many (any?)other business fields.

OTOH Adsenseadvisor says ...

... sometimes it is necessary to disable some publisher accounts to maintain the quality of the network and ensure the long-term viability of the program. Generally, this action is reserved for deliberate and egregious violations of the ToS and should not affect most of you.

From this we can only assume that if someone posts that their account has been disabled then they must have been naughty. Note the use of the terms "deliberate" and "egregious", from this we can assume that any site that is banned is deliberately violating the ToS or it is egregious, i.e. conspicuously bad or offensive.

europeforvisitors




msg:1420885
 3:05 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

one would at least expect a reliable complaints procedure and a governing body supervising them.

A "governing body"? What exactly do you mean by that?

Ankhenaton




msg:1420886
 3:15 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

A "governing body"? What exactly do you mean by that?

Here in the UK they have thinks like OFcom, or in case of banks an Ombudsman. In case you have problems with a company, you notify them of your concern. They then can make a try to put things right. After that the case is referred to an Ombudsman or the like. I had good results on that with my electricity company, which is quite famous for sending wrong bills etc. I then contacted what is called energywatch and oh wonder things happened.

Given the size and power that Google has, something like this is in my opinion necessary. The nice geeky company image is wearing off, in my opinion.

But since we are international waters, only joined user request can bring this. Not much hope, that it happens, though. But at least I said it. :)

I think google has done many great things :), but ultimately power will always corrupt, that's why they invented democracy.

jomaxx




msg:1420887
 3:46 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ankhenaton, you're not even in the program yet and you're throwing around phrases like "arrogance", "delusion", "power will always corrupt", "only joined user request can bring this", etc. You need to chill. If I were Google I would have serious doubts about letting in a webmaster who goes around venting like this in public forums over a minor inconvenience.

[added]
Maybe in that last post you were just thinking out loud, rather than trying to issue some kind of call to arms. In that case my response was probably too harsh. Nonetheless, as you stated it was your own fault that your application was initially denied, so you should cut Google some slack until you see how this all pans out.
[/added]

oddsod




msg:1420888
 5:03 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

I say we form a club and everytime we believe Google has done something we dislike we meet in an empty field and shout really loudly.

richlowe




msg:1420889
 5:06 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

The "I was terminated" threads are so entertaining...

oddsod




msg:1420890
 5:18 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Matter of the fact is that if you make a harmless mistake, you can be kicked out with no reason given

First, they don't "kick you out". They "terminate" a business relationship within the terms of the original agreement. You can terminate the business relationship at any point without so much as giving Google any notice or reason. Why should their end of the bargain be any different? Why do they owe you any explanations or apologies?

ASA, in response to your previous post about working with webmasters we do know that on occasions you have retracted a ban. This is understandably rare but it would be of great reassurance to members here if there was some way they could get around the boilerplate emails and present their case to a live person who may conclude it's worth withdrawing the ban.

Ankhenaton




msg:1420891
 5:34 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)


Ankhenaton, you're not even in the program yet and you're throwing around phrases like "arrogance", "delusion", "power will always corrupt", "only joined user request can bring this", etc. You need to chill. If I were Google I would have serious doubts about letting in a webmaster who goes around venting like this in public forums over a minor inconvenience.

[added]
Maybe in that last post you were just thinking out loud, rather than trying to issue some kind of call to arms. In that case my response was probably too harsh. Nonetheless, as you stated it was your own fault that your application was initially denied, so you should cut Google some slack until you see how this all pans out.
[/added]

Hey no call to arms yet from me .. just theorising while I will hope someday I will not get ignored anymore.. ;)

Ankhenaton




msg:1420892
 5:40 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

First, they don't "kick you out". They "terminate" a business relationship within the terms of the original agreement. You can terminate the business relationship at any point without so much as giving Google any notice or reason. Why should their end of the bargain be any different? Why do they owe you any explanations or apologies?

Hmm, in a world where there are many competitors that might be reasonable argument. We are pityfully in a situation, where soon google will be the only one around.

Hence anti-trust laws were invented as someone in the past realised that too big isn't good.

Hence the option of do it or not is getting slimmer and slimmer destroying real competition. :-)

Anyway, I assume I'll get it sooner or later as my sites are harmless. It's more interesting for me to learn the procedure of google if things don't go smoothly. I can learn from that. :-)

jomaxx




msg:1420893
 6:17 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google is far from being the only way to run advertising on your website. They're merely the best.

Thankfully there are no antitrust laws against that (yet).

Ankhenaton




msg:1420894
 12:27 am on Jul 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google is far from being the only way to run advertising on your website. They're merely the best.

Hmm, they don't do only ads. ;)

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:1420895
 8:10 am on Jul 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

ANALYSIS OF ADSENSE REGISTRATION PROCESS

Since this thread advocates a sympathetic approach to people who get terminated I thought I would just do a quick analysis of what happens when you sign up. It's been about one year since I did this and I couldn't remember the process. I thought I would take a look at it as it appears to prospective publishers.

First of all you click the Adsense link and you are presented with two options, one is a "Quick tour" and the other is a sign up page.

The Tour
If you take the tour, as I would assume most people do, you are guided through a brief presentation on how Adsense serves the ads. There is no mention in this tour of the publisher's responsibilities. It is very much designed as an advert to encourage people to sign up.

The Sign-up
When you click the sign up button you are presented with an online application form. You complete this and submit it. Once again there seems to be no mention of the publisher's responsibilities.

Acceptance
After confirming your email address, and if your site is accepted, they send you a "Welcome to Adsense" email with a three step list of instructions. In step one it provides a link and tells you to log into your account and agree to the Ts and Cs. This is the first real mention of these Ts and Cs and we all know what the majority of people do when they are presented with a list of Terms to read don't we? It does not emphasise them it just mentions them in the passing. Most people would just click the link in their haste to get going.

At the bottom of the email there is a note about clicking your own ads but this is placed below the final step in the process. By this time I would imagine that most people are too busy looking at the ad layouts that are offered to worry about footnotes in the welcome email. In any case, if they click the link in step one all the information required can be found on the website so it's bye bye to the email and the rest of its content.

Let's say that 50% of applicants don't read the Ts and Cs. This means that 50% of new applicants join up without knowing what is expected of them wrt adsense behaviour. OK, it is their own fault if they get terminated because they have not taken the time to aquaint themselves with the rules but Google could do a much better job of highlighting them. The terms, or at least the most important terms related to the publisher's responsibilities, should be highlighted in the tour. If they cannot do it there for commercial reasons then they should be displayed at the top of the application form.

The more I look at this the more I agree with Hunderdown's original point. The Adwords sign up processes are clearly within "the letter of the law" but surely Google could make a better, more "up front" job of warning publishers about the things that will get them banned?

Note: the process I describe above is as it stood a year ago and it may have been changed since then

AdSenseAdvisor




msg:1420896
 4:30 pm on Jul 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

oddsod -

I understand your concern about ‘boilerplate’ emails, and thought I’d explain.

The responses are standard because we have strict policies and guidelines for invalid clicks. However, each escalated case is re-reviewed by a team dedicated to detecting invalid activity using several specialized tools and a wide variety of techniques.

As mentioned before, we only disable accounts for deliberate and egregious violations of the ToS, so most of you do not have to worry about this.

Hope that provides some reassurance.

-ASA

oddsod




msg:1420897
 4:34 pm on Jul 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your reply, ASA. It's good to know that the computers are not in sole charge of terminating accounts. :)

ken_b




msg:1420898
 5:07 pm on Jul 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Since this thread advocates a sympathetic approach...

There is a difference between a sympathetic and a polite approach. Even if a violation is obvious and extreme, we can still converse politely about the situation.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:1420899
 8:35 pm on Jul 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Whatever!

ASA have you any comment to make about the apparent lack of an upfront warning system? Wouldn't you agree that the problem could be minimized by warning new sign ups about what they should guard against?

europeforvisitors




msg:1420900
 9:20 pm on Jul 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

ASA have you any comment to make about the apparent lack of an upfront warning system? Wouldn't you agree that the problem could be minimized by warning new sign ups about what they should guard against?

I'm not ASA, but I don't think the problem is the lack of an upfront warning system, because the program's rules are stated very clearly. Also, publishers shouldn't need to be reminded that clicking on one's own ads or encouraging clicks "to support this site" is theft from advertisers.

AlexMiles




msg:1420901
 10:29 pm on Jul 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

OddSodd said,

>it would be of great reassurance to members here if there was some way they could get around the boilerplate emails and present their case to a live person who may conclude it's worth withdrawing the ban

AWA said the escalated bans were scrutinised carefully. But what does 'escalated' mean? Nothing to a newbie, I suspect.

Its only because I have experience with Google that I know the first 3 or 4 emails go straight into the bit bucket, on general principles.

How many wrongly banned people never made it through to a real live Google person? If I was inexperienced, I would send a couple of emails and thats all. Then I wouldn't know what to do next.

I wouldn't know enough to keep at it, so, I'm thinking there must be a lot more than three innocent banned people.

.

Ankhenaton




msg:1420902
 12:00 am on Jul 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

OddSodd said,

>it would be of great reassurance to members here if there was some way they could get around the boilerplate emails and present their case to a live person who may conclude it's worth withdrawing the ban

AWA said the escalated bans were scrutinised carefully. But what does 'escalated' mean? Nothing to a newbie, I suspect.

Its only because I have experience with Google that I know the first 3 or 4 emails go straight into the bit bucket, on general principles.

How many wrongly banned people never made it through to a real live Google person? If I was inexperienced, I would send a couple of emails and thats all. Then I wouldn't know what to do next.

I wouldn't know enough to keep at it, so, I'm thinking there must be a lot more than three innocent banned people.

The Google Adsense experience:

Apply get rejected.
Get email saying please reapply when problem solved
Write email
Don't get an answer no reason given
After a week write polite, what's up?
no answer again.
Try to apply in UK
Get no answer
Write to Germany, say you applied elsewhere
Get no answer
Get angry
Get supervised here obviously by Google employees
Get suddenly a reject, no reason nor person given
Ask for reason
No answer

So don't tell me that Google is all harmless and nice.
Most companies you at least know who you talk to. From Google you get The Team or something like that. No answer no reason given. If they want they answer if not not. Let's hope that that Yahoo thing is better, well they will hopefully try at least in the beginning.

This 101 message thread spans 4 pages: < < 101 ( 1 [2] 3 4 > >
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