Not sure if he went "viral" but I do believe a lot of webmaster who rely on adsense as a source of income should take notice. As we are building our business sometime we miss things on purpose or not.
This guy's cautionary tale should be a good training on what not to do.
Someone in this thread should but together a few of these stories so we can have a repository of the testimonials of those banned by the big G.
You don't need to; they come along here every few weeks, and the Google forum is loaded with them.
|This guy's cautionary tale should be a good training on what not to do. |
We have the Adsense TOS and policies for that. We don't need anything else.
I know of plenty of newbies who run blogs with adsense who have zero understanding of their TOS. It would be a helpful service. Start the New Year with a good deed :)
|I know of plenty of newbies who run blogs with adsense who have zero understanding of their TOS. It would be a helpful service. Start the New Year with a good deed |
Sorry, but that is no excuse. We were all newbies once, and we read and followed the rules.
If you have to point them anywhere, point them to the TOS.
I had an argument on one of the larger social linking sites about this very blog post. A significant number of people either simply couldn't grasp how this person's actions caused Google to terminate his AdSense account, or felt that this was a case of the big mean corporation squashing the little guy.
Most people, even web-savvy ones, just don't grasp how big an impact click fraud could have on Google's bottom-line, and why it's extremely important for them to do what they can to fight it.
|just don't grasp how big an impact click fraud could have on Google's bottom-line |
What about the poor advertisers caught up in this nonsense?
The fun part is, assuming the ads were actually targeted to the content on the site, the boating enthusiasts were actually harming the boating community at large by "tipping" when they clicked the ads and stealing from the boating companies advertising on the site.
Maybe if you spell it out for them like that it'll smack them out of their fog.
|it'll smack them out of their fog. |
I think Brett has a point here. Simply stating that you make money from Adsense, just as a statement of fact, should not constitute encouraging clicks. That is simply stating, without bias, a fact that anyone could easily discover by reading Google's own marketing material regarding Adsense. Accurately stating facts that are already public knowledge is a TOS violation? That seems pretty unreasonable.
Having said that, I bet we're not getting the whole story here. It seems unlikely to me that stating that he made money from Adsense was the real reason his account was banned and not reinstated. Google didn't state _why_ the account was banned, we have no way of knowing if it was related to the disclosure of earnings at all.
My guess is that at some point he did actually request that his subscribers click on the ads, and he is either neglecting to mention that or doesn't realize that's what he was doing. The offense was probably not in the mere disclosure of fact, but somewhere in the background of this statement:
|As part of the deal, and as a way of involving the sailors, I tell them about the revenue for the project which all comes from the website. The more the website earns the more sailing I can do, the more films they see. |
That in combination with saying he makes money from clicks probably does constitute encouraging clicks.
Ultimately this could be a loss for Google, though, as his content seems to have potential.
Disclaimer: As some of you might know who read my posts, I believe we're in the middle of a long-term economic transition from an old, car-based economic model to a new, internet-based economic model. So my thinking about this is colored by my bias.
So I periodically pore over the terms of service of the various websites I work with to try to better understand them, and yet still I remain confused by certain points of ambiguity. Amazingly, those points of ambiguity remain consistent - for example, if a company uses the term "valuable content," it's consistently vague and ill-defined. Everyone connotes their own meaning from the term, but the concept is in transition (because what's valuable in the old economic model - content that brings the mass market user to a centralized retailer - is not necessarily the same as what's valuable in the new economic model - content that helps users satisfyingly navigate the vast and various landscape of the commercial web). From user to user, the denotation of "valuable content" varies pretty wildly.
I think that the ambiguity of the core ethical concepts is real and is related to the fact that currently, any successful internet business must successfully straddle both the old and new economic models - the old, still being driven staunchly by the profitable baby boomer cohort, and the new, driven rather chaotically by the those who feel most vested in building the new infrastructure.
Which means that when someone says it's "obvious" the terms of service mean X, and someone else says it's not obvious at all - and furthermore the terms are "unfair" or "buried" - it's kinda due to how well people are adjusting, or not, to the shift between economic models - their various strategies for riding out the storm - or even their ability to recognize what's going on.
Google didn't state _why_ the account was banned
At a guess I would suspect a report from an advertiser.
|It was quite literally therefore an inhuman act to sack me two weeks before Christmas and seize £3,700 back. |
Emotive stuff eh? I wonder what the advertisers who were being charged for false clicks would think about the humanity of him being banned?
|I think Brett has a point here. Simply stating that you make money from Adsense, just as a statement of fact, should not constitute encouraging clicks. That is simply stating, without bias, a fact that anyone could easily discover by reading Google's own marketing material regarding Adsense. Accurately stating facts that are already public knowledge is a TOS violation? That seems pretty unreasonable. |
Unreasonable? I am not so sure.
If I place a flashing red arrow on my website pointing to my Adsense ads with text telling people that I get paid if they click the ads it could also be argued that this was a statement of fact.
I think my previous comment and Brett's comments show the tricky situation site operators find themselves in.
Brett's quite right in saying that a statement that the site makes money from Google ads, or even from clicks on those ads, is pure disclosure. Just because WebmasterWorld can spot an Adsense-monetized site a mile away doesn't mean the average user knows what Adsense is or how it works.
But, particularly in a community site, even the most bland, neutral disclosure could be interpreted as encouraging members to click the ads to support the site. Any non-brain-dead member can figure out that clicking some ads will help keep the site viable. This can be further exacerbated by members who bring up the ads in their posts.
|Any non-brain-dead member can figure out that clicking some ads will help keep the site viable. |
This is so true. Whenever I explain AdSense to people - almost always you see this lightbulb go off in their head - "Tell me where to go and I will click on your ads".
It is kind of amusing as:
1) They seem to think they have thought of something original
2) Many also don't seem to get that this isn't free money - it comes from somewhere - and someone is being hurt.
As buckworks pointed out this is quite different then the amazon situation (the disclosure part - not the three months part) - as Amazon only pays on sales (off course they are looking for sales that wouldn't have happened without you).
I do think many webmasters don't really get the concept. Plenty of people who wouldn't steal a nickle from anyone - don't see what they are doing as "wrong".
They also don't realize that the TOS are important in this case. I don't read the 55 page TOS that Apple sends out every time they decide to change something. I heard from another program that paid per click (before AdSense) that also was very rigorous in tracking down click fraud - that over (and I got the impression well over) 50% of webmasters clicked on their own ads to "test them". Despite warnings not to. The vast majority weren't trying to steal - but they didn't see this one time clicking as a violation if the TOS.
Excuse Me If I Am Going A Bit Off Topic. I am sure that the money claimed from the Publisher is not going to be refunded back to the Advertiser either. Their so called "Adjustments" are as good as "Dead". I think he can check with the "Advertisers" if they actually received any "Adjustments" from Google.
@ topic "Let it be a learning experience and do not ever repeat it again"
|I think he can check with the "Advertisers" if they actually received any "Adjustments" from Google. |
I'm pretty sure netmeg will chime in and tell you that they do indeed refund publishers. There was a big refund case a few years back amounting to tens of thousands of Dollars if I recall correctly?
YEah, I got a refund worth about a day or two's spend back in December.
I'm still seeing some pretty directly fraudulent traffic every day though.
|I'm pretty sure netmeg will chime in and tell you that they do indeed refund publishers. There was a big refund case a few years back amounting to tens of thousands of Dollars if I recall correctly? |
If you mean refund to advertisers, I just posted about that in this item:
To me the whole article is a huge joke. The guy was banned from Adsense, I don't think he is that surprised by it. So now he scatters his website urls all over his article and clearly mentions his YouTube videos which still contain ads. It's a joke and he's just trying to drum up business. And he has succeeded not just here but in loads of other sites.
Well done, turn a misfortune into a benefit, a lesson for us all.
|So now he scatters his website urls all over his article and clearly mentions his YouTube videos which still contain ads. |
Yes and he does so whilst (once again) appealing to the sympathies of his followers.
Yay for the little guy!
I have a suggestion to make:
- assuming Google are so keen in "protecting" advertisers as repeatedly stated by them (ad nauseum)
- assuming honest publishers are also keen in "protecting" advertisers, and fully complying with TOS, as repeatedly stated by them (ad nauseum)
I propose that there be a procedure (service) whereby the AdSense publisher invites Google to inspect (preemptively) his site(s) and comment on whether said site(s) are in full compliance with AdSense TOS, or otherwise point out elements that are in violation of TOS, and need modification.
By initiating this procedure and complying to possible Google suggestions regarding site modifications, publisher proves his intent for full compliance with TOS, applies any modifications, and explicitly receives a "seal of approval". A record of what is approved may be kept, and a small fee may be applied by Google for this service, charged against future AdSense income.
Why perpetuate the ambivalence? Resolve it in a properly defined manner!
Except if the ambivalence serves some other purpose, and needs to kept alive . . . .
Won't scale. See my response here:
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