| This 101 message thread spans 4 pages: < < 101 ( 1 2  4 ) > > || |
|Responding to "I was terminated" threads|
Some thoughts after recent events
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]
|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
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 supervised here obviously by Google employees
Get suddenly a reject, no reason nor person given
Ask for reason
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.
|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. |
IMO, no one should depend on AdSense for serious long-term income. There has been more than enough commentary on the risks of click fraud, etc. that people should exercise caution. Fraudulent activity aside, G could very well pull the program for other reasons.
If all else fails, you could sell ad space on your site independently ...
|... because the program's rules are stated very clearly. |
EFV, this is a matter of opinion and my opinion is that they could do this better. I am only suggesting that in the long term an improvement in how they present the important Ts and Cs would save them a lot of trouble. People just don't read small print and I have clearly outlined what I see as the weaknesses in this area in message 54.
Perhaps ASA could comment on this?
|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. |
That is a gross oversimplification. The rules are numerous and very subjective in nature. Applied strictly (like BDW.. or you possibly would? ;)) there's probably not one site in the world that is fully compliant. I wouldn't mind a shot across the bow if
1. A page which uses calls "live" content from a news site is in violation because the feed is temporarily down and the page is serving Adsense but has zero content.
2. There are several TOS violations on my Adsense account on URL www.example.com. I could then reply and say that example.com is NOT my site and someone else is obviously messing with my Adsense code.
I can think of several other examples of where I may be in violation of some minor rule either through some slight oversight or through no fault of my own. I hope my understanding of what constitutes "deliberate and egregious violations of the ToS " coincides with Google's.
BDW, For the purposes of this thread it doesn't matter whether they've read the TOS or not. They're appealing for our help/advice in dealing with their account being disabled. Their familiarity with the TOS doesn't have any bearing on how we should respond.
|But what does 'escalated' mean? Nothing to a newbie, I suspect. |
Alex, I understood the corporate speak to mean they're not comfortable saying any more. Considering security issues etc I can understand that and I won't press ASA. It's important that fraud is minimised and known loopholes are fixed (which is why I'm surprised Google hasn't replied to reassure advertisers that this hole [webmasterworld.com] was fixed. )
|G could very well pull the program for other reasons. |
They could, but it is very unlikely. If they did, about 50% of their income would be gone (and if they terminated AdSense completely, also in their search results, they would lose roughly 99.9% of their income).
It seems that there are now at least 4 WWW members have reported account suspension within a week.
Compworld, dt7304, emolina and myself
My account was reinstated after 3 days and I was not asked to provide any more information. So please do not assume we must have brought upon this ourselves in the first place, it could be your turn next.
|People just don't read small print |
I think the problem in most cases is dishonesty, not ignorance.
|That is a gross oversimplification. The rules are numerous and very subjective in nature. Applied strictly... |
Let's be realistic. How many people are terminated because of "made for AdSense" sites, for example? The "very subjective" rules are like laws against disorderly conduct or reckless driving: They make it easier for Google to terminate sites that fail the "sniff test," but they aren't likely to be a problem for legitimate sites. (ASA has said that the decision to terminate a publisher isn't made lightly; I'm inclined to believe that, but you're welcome to disagree.)
One thing we need to remember is that the purpose of the rules--and of publisher terminations--is to protect advertisers. Google isn't a court of law, and there's no legal requirement for a presumption of innocence. The best way for publishers to avoid termination is to:
1) Run clean sites that will pass the "sniff test" and offer genuine value to both advertisers and Google.
2) Contact Google if anomalies show up in AdSense statistics. (If nothing else, this shows Google that you aren't trying to profit from invalid clicks, since the value of the invalid clicks will be deducted from your earnings).
Also, publishers need to be aware that the decision to terminate an account is a business decision. It's conceivable that a squeaky-clean publisher's account could be terminated for invalid clicks if, for example:
- The site is on a controversial or competitive topic that constantly attracts retaliatory clicks;
- The site consistently delivers non-converting clicks (e.g., "happy clicks" by 8-year-olds who'll click any ad out of curiosity).
- The publisher's revenues are too low to justify the expense of investigating more than one case of invalid clicks.
In each of these hypothetical examples, the publisher may be innocent, but it may make good economic sense to close the publisher's account. (I'm not saying that Google makes its decisions this way, but such decisions could easily be justified from a business point of view.)
>> ASA has said that the decision to terminate a publisher isn't made lightly; I'm inclined to believe that, but you're welcome to disagree.
I have no reason to believe he's lying. Do you have a copy of Google's definition of "lightly"?
>> Run clean sites that will pass the "sniff test" and offer genuine value to both advertisers and Google.
>> Contact Google if anomalies show up in AdSense statistics.
Sure, but as a response to someone whose account was terminated that advice isn't of much help. A chiding or sermon won't make the new member want to come back. This thread is about how we treat "guests" and suggests we help new members who've lost their accounts.
|This thread is about how we treat "guests" and suggests we help new members who've lost their accounts. |
Since there's not much we can do to help new members who have lost their accounts, I think frank discussion about what is tolerable in the world of advertising (don't click your own ads, don't try to cheat the system) is helpful when they look to alternative ad income sources.
I'm not saying we should be rude, but I don't see anything wrong with frank talk about what you shouldn't do "next time", since it is not likely that their account will be reinstated.
From the dozens and dozens of "my account is closed" threads, I think there have only been 4 people that got their account reopened.
These aren't great odds, so helping people move on by letting them know what they possibly did wrong and why it was wrong will help them understand the system so they can play by the rules in their next online ad venture.
For those that truly did *nothing* wrong to get their account disabled, this probably won't be of much help, and might seem like chiding, but I honestly thing that is a very small minority of those that start threads saying their account was closed.
We shouldn't be rude or condescending, but there's nothing wrong with being honest and up front about what is expected.
The same rules apply for just about any ad network...it's just that for a lot of webmasters, Google is the first one they've tried, and they seem to be accepting more publishers that other networks wouldn't allow.
|They could, but it is very unlikely. If they did, about 50% of their income would be gone (and if they terminated AdSense completely, also in their search results, they would lose roughly 99.9% of their income). |
I was talking about terminating AdSense only, not all of G advertising.
|I was talking about terminating AdSense only, not all of G advertising. |
Ain't gonna happen. They're likely to keep refining the network, though, to placate existing advertisers and attract new ones.
|Ain't gonna happen. They're likely to keep refining the network, though, to placate existing advertisers and attract new ones. |
Please keep the context within which my statements are being made in mind. The point I'm trying to make is basically the same you made earlier, that G is under no obligation to retain an AdSense affiliate (or the entire program) if it is not in their fiscal interest to do so. No one has a right to be an AdSense affiliate. Anyone who feels that AdSense is some guaranteed source of income should be very cautious. Companies change their business models when they need to. G is no exception.
|there are also a lot more publishers who have been with the program for years or months now without receiving the dreaded termination email. |
Well, I have been an adsense publisher for two years so far with no account termination warning even. But being worried of being targeted by a fraudulent clicks attack, and reading some threads of "I got booted", I just emailed Google an hour ago explaining my worries and asking for any advices to prevent fraudulent clicks.
BTW, one day I got around 120 clicks earning me a few cents from a certain channel installed on a forum, after investigating it appeared that fraudulent clicks DO get counted in the reports but obviously their revenue is zeroed. So the 120 clicks were actually one or two valid clicks. But still I got no warning about any fraudulent activities.
Yet, I am confused.
|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. |
Too true on this. Well although it does not apply on me, but it had me an opposite reaction that google might go and terminate my account without even a single mistake by me. Might be that my adsense revenue is naturally growing a month by a month due to my company websites nature popularity growth, and that I am a naturally-born-paranoid, but still fear exists.
I really respect your posts BTW.
|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. |
Briefly, there are many terms in adsense TOS that I didnt know about, and surely I am not the only one :)
|Well, I have been an adsense publisher for two years so far with no account termination warning even. But being worried of being targeted by a fraudulent clicks attack, and reading some threads of "I got booted", I just emailed Google an hour ago explaining my worries and asking for any advices to prevent fraudulent clicks. |
What are you worried about? Is AdSense a significant portion of your revenue? Given all that has been written (even by G; read their prospectus), do you think it is a good idea to base most of your revenue on something that is not guaranteed to last? And if it's not significant, what are you worried about? If you aren't guilty of anything, you need feel no shame for being dropped from their program. Their loss.
|do you think it is a good idea to base most of your revenue on something that is not guaranteed to last |
Oh please. Nothing is guaranteed to last, and on the Internet the only guarantee is that nothing will last.
Personally I am quite diversified but I still worry about losing a significant portion of my annual income. Who wouldn't?
As for me adsense revenue is 90% of my revenue, so it's something to worry about indeed.
|As for me adsense revenue is 90% of my revenue, so it's something to worry about indeed. |
Getting terminated may be less of a threat (if you have a clean site) than other changes that could occur in the AdSense program. Just look at the major income losses that some publishers have experienced from "smart pricing," which didn't exist when AdSense was launched. More recently, site-targeted CPM ads were introduced, and who knows what effect they'll have over time? Change happens, so if you rely almost exclusively on AdSense for income, you should be looking for other revenue streams (although this is obviously easier to do with some topics than with others).
|Personally I am quite diversified but I still worry about losing a significant portion of my annual income. Who wouldn't? |
Perhaps it's just me, but if I were so worried that I'd lose most of my revenue if AdSense dropped me, or there was some other change that seriously affected my revenue, I'd start looking for other sources of revenue. I don't think it is a good idea to rely strongly on AdSense revenue, given all of its issues and problems.
You could lose your day job, too. I don't see too many people taking two 20-hour-a-week jobs in order to hedge their bets in case they get fired from one.
|You could lose your day job, too. I don't see too many people taking two 20-hour-a-week jobs in order to hedge their bets in case they get fired from one. |
True, but they can count on unemployment compensation (at least in many countries), which they won't get from AdSense. :-)
|You could lose your day job, too. I don't see too many people taking two 20-hour-a-week jobs in order to hedge their bets in case they get fired from one. |
A job is a contract, or at least an agreement between a provider of services (you) and the employer to reward you with something you consider valuable (money, stock, a letter of reference, etc.). G is under no obligation to pay anyone anything who signs up for AdSense.
FWIW, while I was working, I was also looking for work in case I got laid off. Also, I saved my money so I would have something to live off of in case I got laid off. I didn't expect my employer to offer me some kind of guarantee that they'd continue to pay me.
Incidentally, there are quite a few people who take two or more jobs in case they lose one.
Webmasters, I have a little tale for you. It is a true story based on resent events on my very own site. I did not come here to get flamed, as I am sure may very well happen, so know that I will more than likely not read any follow-up posts. I am posting this for your information and education. I have already lost my battle with google, and now plan to move on in life.
If you take any of the following to lightly you are a fool. (Okay I had to get my small flame in first)
I joint Adsense about 60 days ago, at the prompting of one of my friends.
I had a web site with a consistent first page search result for my #1 keyword at google. It is a consumer information web site, that I make nearly no money from. It has been a hobby for the last 8 years. I never intended it to be a profit center, so I guess what happened next should not bother me.. but it does.
After signing up, I found that I was making a consistent $12.00 a day, not a lot of money by any stretch, but not to bad for just cutting in some script either.
Then one morning last week, I go to do a little looking at the site, and the adwords are gone. My first thought was to login to my account. I get a page saying that my account is new and being evaluated (or something to that effect).
Then I open my email. My ¡§account has been suspended for invalid clicks¡¨.
I think to myself that this is impossible, as I have not ever clicked on of my own ads, and I have never set up a program or script to click my ads. SO I open a trouble ticket..
I did get a response from Google, stating that there had in fact been invalid clicks and I was still suspended.
This sucks¡K but I know that there must be an explanation.
Later that I day I email my friend who turned me onto google adwords and relate my story.
His replay starts with ¡§Man I¡¦m Sorry!¡¨
Then he went on to tell me how HE had been clicking my ads to ¡§help¡¨ me.
Well I think I found my source of ¡§invalid clicks¡¨, so I wrote to google, as much to apologize as to explain for the record that I did not generate the invalid clicks, and had no intention of doing so.
My replay this time was a form email that said ¡§Your account has been deactivated and may not be reinstated at any time in the future¡¨.
Okay lesson learned.. no huge loss, like I said this is a site I put together for consumers who are getting screwed by salesmen in a particular business, it was never about profiting me. Google was right to deactivate the account, I wrote them and told them I believed that they had to do everything possible to protect their advertisers and agreed with their decision.
Then came the salt for the wound.
I looked at my traffic over the last few days. Google has always been my primary source of traffic, as I have been consistently on page 1 for years.
My traffic is 1/5th what is was only three days ago.. why? Google has de-ranked my page by 50 spots!
The information on the site is all the same, google just de-ranked me and I can only see one reason why, the invalid clicks.
All of that said, I did not come here to whine about my loss, although the de-ranking really ticks me off.. I came here to warn you guys, you seem to be here trying to help others, as well as make a few dollars. My Warning is this, know now how easy it is to get your account deactivated, I had one person trying to help me from over 3000 miles away get mine deactivated. Imagine what a person with malice could do, and how easy it would be to do. And then as salt for your wound you may get de-ranked in googles search. I can see where this would be plenty of reason for a persons competitor to go clicking on a competing sites ads. Not only would you take away a source of income from your competition, you could actually move yourself up a notch in the search at google by knocking them out!.
I don¡¦t blame Google for taking away my adsense account, $12.00 a day is nothing. I do think that they need to re-evaluate what they do with account with improper clicks, as this is all to easy to do to someone.
I sincerely hope that it never happens to any of you.
Thanks for being there, when I was looking for information at the beginning of this journey. Reading your posts was inspirational and informative. Be well.
Former webmaster and google adsense advertizer.
delorumrex, welcome to WWW. I am a bit surprised to hear about your story. Google can easily detect and invalidate these "friendly click" without taking such action. I have friends who either clicked on their own Ads, or got others to click for them and nothing happened to them, the clicks were simply not counted. Of course I warned them not to do this.
I am sure that the drop in the SERPS have nothing to do with the suspension of your Adsense account. It is really not worth Google's time to do this.
My account was suspended because of a forum which I bought earlier this month. It went from a average of 120 visitors a day to over 2000 on the day of the suspension which was the 18th July. But I was lucky because my account has since been reinstated. I still do not know what was responsible for the spike.
If I recall correctly, and my aging brain may be playing tricks on me, Jenstar once posted that the Google search people and the AdSense people don't share information about accounts. Assuming that is still the case, being terminated from AdSense shouldn't have any direct impact on your SERPs.
Straight from ASA [webmasterworld.com...] (msg #16)
|It seems there may be some confusion about how using AdSense might affect your site’s SEO. To clarify, AdSense does not affect – either positively or negatively – your site traffic or its ranking in the Google search results. |
Nonetheless it's possible that all Google staff can report "search quality" issues to the search engine group. They solicit such feedback from the public, why not from their own staff?
I doubt very much that they would bother to penalize you in the SE for a friend generating invalid AdSense clicks. However if the site had duplicate content issues, used keyword stuffing, or employed cloaking or other deceptive SEO techniques, they might very well have followed up with a manual penalty.
P.S. There was a change in the SERPs a couple of days ago where many sites had penalties lifted and some apparently had penalties imposed. So you're not alone.
|delorumrex, welcome to WWW. I am a bit surprised to hear about your story. Google can easily detect and invalidate these "friendly click" without taking such action. I have friends who either clicked on their own Ads, or got others to click for them and nothing happened to them, the clicks were simply not counted. Of course I warned them not to do this. |
How do you know the two scenarios can be equated? Your friends may not have clicked as much as delorumrex's, or they may have clicked on cheap ads. Or your friends may (unbeknownst to them) be in a "probation" state where the next big traffic fluctuation (not necessarily fraudulent) might get their accounts turned off because there has been a history of fluctuations.
Thanks for the support guys.
The drop in ranking did happen, I can't explain it any other way, than I was manually dropped 50 slots. And very literally, the only thing that changed was having google pull there ads. Could it be a coincides? Sure it could, but I feel in my bones that it is not.
I have always been careful to follow Googles recommendations for page structure, and had up until this point given that credit for my first page showing.
Right now I am disgusted with google, my friend and my lack of insight which led to this problem. (Mostly with myself for trying to turn what had been a successful non-profit generating information web site, into a profit stream)
Well at any rate, I feel better having told my story. Again, thank you all for your supportive words.
People are posting about having significant increases in revenue ($500-$1000) per month that steadily climbs.
Is this strictly related to an increase in site traffic over time, or do you benefit from being a long-term adsense publisher?
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