"I saw a famous website that's using a sentence like this right above the leaderboard ad:
Have You Checked Out Our Enterprise Supporting Advertisers Today ...?
It's a site that's well known from Coast to Coast."
"Also if it's a famous site, it might well be a partner on another level - they get to do things us peasants can't."
Exactly netmeg, that's one of the purposes I wrote this message.
I'm going to do something that is quite hard to do, I'm going to talk about what happened to me even though I know many here will probably have a feast out of it and may turn me into ridicule...
And thank you jomaxx, I didn't totally know about that in the policies.
"Publishers may not label the ads with text other than "sponsored links" or "advertisements.""
You see as a webmaster I get to try out so many things with so many different ad networks, that some things may sometimes slip my mind, especially with seeing these kinds of sentences very often everywhere on the net.
Adsense's policies may change from time to time, and I don't necessarilly have the time to always catch up with them, however I admit that it may not take too much time to check out about the words we can or cannot use before an ad block BEFORE using them.
But like I said, when I'm so used to see that kind of thing over and over again, and yes often on very big sites, CNET comes to my mind as an example where I saw this kind of sentence, one has no choice maybe but to get influenced or inspired by these, somehow unconsciously, and use them.
"Check out these websites!"
I first used this sentence over 3 years ago with Adsense.
I don't remember what the policies were saying exactly at that time, I think they weren't as exact as they are today.
My opinion on this sentence is it's simply a suggestion, it may draw the visitor's attention to look at the ads and if he/she finds one that is interesting he/she will click it, otherwise he/she will go elsewhere, no one is forcing anyone to do anything, unlike "You need to check out these websites to continue".
Anyhow, Adsense's team wrote me a "fraudulent clicks" email saying I shouldn't use that sentence.
I didn't say a word and changed the sentence entirely to something else that I don't remember, everything was ok.
That's at the time where I used to do over $1000/month with Adsense and things were great.
So I didn't really mind to change the sentence, and it wasn't a dishonest mistake either, and it never was, even with what I'm going to write.
So not long after that things started to change with Adsense, I started to make less and less until it became a joke really, I was doing less than 1/50th of what I used to do.
However I admit it's not only them, my visitors decreased dramatically, however I still shou've been doing around $100 per month with Adsense, but I guess word of mouth did its job and so many publishers saw an opportunity to make money with them that it decreased even more, and I don't think I'm alone in this.
So seeing this I didn't know what to do as it happened quite quickly.
I tried numerous things but not one would work, and having no money I couldn't really advertise my website, and quite frankly, it would've cost me more to advertise than what I was getting anyways.
Recently I had the idea of offering a download of something totally legal.
I would use Adwords to get visitors, and put Adsense's ads on the one-page site where the download was.
It was a total victory at first, as I was getting more in Adsense's clicks than I was paying with Adwords, the basic ROI thing that works.
I was happy at first, and I only used "Our sponsors:" before the ad block.
Somehow I don't think Google had any trouble with it as it stayed like this for a few months.
But things started to decrease again, after a big boost suddenly the average amount per click decreased dramatically and I was doing an average of less than 1 cent per click, and even didn't get the same amount of impressions compared to the number of clicks I was paying for coming from Adwords.
I was at first using like $2 in Adwords and the number of impressions in Adsense would quite exactly match the number of clicks I was paying for in Adwords, I would then make a sudden increase to $5/day, and hundreds of impressions were suddenly lost, even days after it occured.
This happened 2 times as I tried 2 different one-page sites like this.
I will get back to this in a minute.
So seeing that things were not working anymore I kind of panicked and somehow inspired myself from things I was often seeing on the net, and used "Help keep this download free and support our sponsors!"...
Dumb me you would probably say, but I remembered seeing something like "clicking on ads while downloading will not stop your download" on CNET...
So I thought that somehow it was ok to use the sentence I was using, and I totally forgot about Adsense's email 3 years ago about "fraudulent clicks", and I tried so many things lately to try to make this work that I didn't think about looking at Google's ever changing policies.
The way I saw it was that I see so many times things like "our site is free because it is supported by ads" that I thought that the sentence I was using was ok, it was telling the people exactly that, that I can offer something for free thanks to advertisers.
Now that I look at it I admit it has 2 sides, it can be quite encouraging, so yes I admit my mistake.
But the other side is still there, simply telling the people what things are really about.
But another reason why it didn't even got to my mind to ask Google before using it was that ALL changes one does in Adwords are monitored by an agent.
When I started to use that sentence around 2 weeks ago, I also made a new ad in Adwords, and knowing how strict they are about landing pages, unconsciously I thought that if there was anything wrong with it they would tell me, when they would see I use Google's Adsense's ads with that sentence before them.
They are the same company in a way somehow I thought...
And you'll see that I may have not been so wrong in using that sentence also later on.
So things were again doing great at first, using $3/day in Adwords.
I was getting quite exactly the same amount of impressions from Adsense than the number of clicks from Adwords.
No sign of anyone telling me the ad wasn't ok, it didn't even cross my mind quite frankly.
Oh sure I read things here about how strict they usually are about that, but I was so caught up into trying to make this work that I didn't pay attention to it really.
Again I was making a bit more with Adsense than I was paying with Adwords, so I decided to again make a jump to $5/day.
The results were the same thing again, the new hundreds of clicks were delivered lightning fast, and no, and I do mean NO sign of them AT ALL in Adsense's impressions...
I was really concerned about it so I wrote Adwords a big letter in their online contact form.
Yesterday I got a reply, but right before the reply I got an email from Adsense saying my account was disabled.
Then 1 hour later a reply from Adwords telling me the following:
<EDITED>AdSense lost his email</EDITED>
And they didn't give specific explanations on exactly why they disabled my Adsense account, they gave a few guidelines saying that it probably was because one of them.
I then thought about the sentence I was using, and told myself "damn! I should've been more careful"...
But I was so caught up into trying to make things better that again I wasn't being cautious enough.
But the thing is, during the past week or so, since Adsense wasn't working for me anymore, I decided to try out other PPC networks.
So I subcribed to a few of them using the EXACT same page I was using with Adsense, with the EXACT same sentence, and got approved by all of them, some of them being big PPC networks by the way.
None of them had any problem whatsoever with my page nor its content, not one mentioned to change the wording or anything...
So somehow I don't think I was that wrong...
Or are they all being dishonest?...
I admit now that the sentence is somehow quite suggestive, but quite frankly, I tried some keywords that have absolutely nothing to do with my site with one of the PPC networks I joined recently, a keyword that would pay a lot per click, just to see if it would work, and I got very few clicks compared to what I was getting with Adsense, which had very targeted ads.
So you can see here that no matter what, if the ads are not interesting to the visitors, even if you beg them to click, most of them probably won't, unless they somehow have an interest in the ad.
And it's possible also, on 100 people one or two might be interested in I don't know, loans or "work at home" opportunities lol!
So should I really feel bad about using that sentence in the first place?
I don't know, but still I changed it yesterday when I saw that I got banned from Google.
I changed it to "Support our sponsors!", but according to people here, even that shouldn't be ok...
So maybe I'll change it once again, even if I can't use Adsense anymore, I'll think about it.
But that doesn't fix Adword's lost impressions problem, and how funny they tell me they had server problems by email at exactly the same time they disable my Adsense account, what a coincidence!
And right before paying me over $100 on top of that!
Over $100 for which has almost entirely been made without the use of that sentence I was using.
And right after me completely stopping using them and using another ad network!
They probably know who I am and know I wasn't always putting them in a good light here for the few posts I made.
Sure they are still one of the best, but getting too big might have caused some problems along the way, I don't know.
All I know is that it wasn't working for me anymore, and it made me do stupid things.
Blame Google for my stupid things?
Well if we want to play the blame game we would have for long, and I'm not even sure I believe in guilt, when someone puts him/herself in someone else's shoes he/she will understand and may stop to condemn...
But that's the story of our entire society and what it's exactly based on so like I said, we would have for long...
Go ahead and call me names if you want, I did the best I could in my own circumstances, and I'm done with Adsense anyways.
And quite frankly, I felt a feeling of relief somehow...
I will not have to deal with their ever changing policies anymore, their unknown or undisclosed contract clauses, and just that alone can be something quite frustrating to some, me included.
I don't even know what percentage per click I was getting from them...
It's just the monopoly game, I played my cards, they play theirs, and in the end I'm quite tired of that game anyways and hope to find a way to put that game back in the box along with its money, and live instead of worrying or being indebted to the bone.
(Ooooh, deep ending!...)
Ya well... Probably pathetic to some...
Goodbye folks, and thanks to the ones who were supportive somehow during this journey that now ended.
"We told you so!"...
Ya well, no need for that, I think things are somehow made for these things to happen anyways.
That's something to maybe think about.
That just made me think, why not make some blank space right before the ad block to be filled with something of the user's choice that would be accepted by Adsense?...
Just an idea.
That way things like what just happened might be less likely to happen.
The blank space wouldn't have anything if the user doesn't want to put anything there...
[edited by: martinibuster at 5:11 pm (utc) on Nov. 22, 2006]
[edit reason] See TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]