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Explanation of why P.O. Boxes are now banned from AdSense

     
8:28 pm on Sep 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I recently sent off an e-mail to Google asking why P.O. boxes are no longer allowed. Below is their reasoning. Note that they have not added it to the FAQ.

<paraphrase email>
Due to the correlation between the use of PO boxes and fraud, we have taken the precautionary measure of no longer accepted PO boxes.
</paraphrase email>

[edited by: Jenstar at 8:56 pm (utc) on Sep. 6, 2004]
[edit reason] paraphrased email quote; actual quotes not allowed as per TOS [/edit]

8:31 pm on Sept 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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And in some parts of the world there is no alternative to PO boxes. Wonder what to use in that case?
8:48 pm on Sept 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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This makes no sense whatsoever. In the United States, a driver's license is required to open a PO box, but anyone can place a mailbox somewhere along a rural road and start receiving mail there without even making a trip to the post office. You don't even need a house!
10:19 pm on Sept 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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that also explains why they are not crazy about offering direct deposit
10:49 pm on Sept 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think google has good reasons to combat fraud. It is unfortunate for all of us who will not see direct deposit due to fraud of other people.
11:04 pm on Sept 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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In the United States, a driver's license is required to open a PO box, but anyone can place a mailbox somewhere along a rural road and start receiving mail there without even making a trip to the post office. You don't even need a house!

Are the postal workers too smart for that?

11:13 pm on Sept 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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No.
11:28 pm on Sept 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Does this apply to private mail boxes (PMB) at places like MailBoxes Etc or only Post Office boxes?
11:37 pm on Sept 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Sure. There are PO Boxes and PO boxes. The ones located in acutal post office buildings and the ones located at shady back street alley type stores with lots of blinds...

I guess Google decided they don't really want to travel around to check out what kind of PO box a publisher has and banned them all.

[edited by: Woz at 1:16 am (utc) on Sep. 7, 2004]
[edit reason] Tidying up. [/edit]

12:35 am on Sept 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Does this apply to private mail boxes (PMB) at places like MailBoxes Etc or only Post Office boxes?

Technically both, but mail drops are notoriously lax in checking ID.

I guess Google decided they don't really want to travel around to check out what kind of PO box a publisher has and banned them all.

They don't have to. Only actual US Postal Service PO boxes are designated as such in the address. MBE and the classic mail drops must include the street address.

1:42 am on Sept 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Just out of curiousity, how does eliminating PO Boxes or stopping direct deposit eliminate fraud?

Google obviously does extensive fraud checking before approving payments since it takes up to a month, so once that is done, what difference does it make how the money is delivered at that point?

3:07 am on Sept 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Just out of curiousity, how does eliminating PO Boxes or stopping direct deposit eliminate fraud?

It doesn't.

3:22 am on Sept 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It is just a throwaway excuse. My PO Box is good enough for all my utilities, banks and mortgage company to find me, so Google is the odd man out when it comes to inconveniencing new AdSense applicants. AFAIK, all existing AdSense accounts at PO Boxes are allowed to continue.
5:22 am on Sept 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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publishers, because someone mentioned here that Google is no longer sending checks to P.O. Box Address. I couldnt find it in Google Adsense TOS. Can you confirm?
6:30 am on Sept 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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but anyone can place a mailbox somewhere along a rural road and start receiving mail there without even making a trip to the post office.

Not at all true.

The postal service maintains a registry of addresses. New addresses have to be registered, and a form filled out. In many cases it is tied to the 911 system as well.

Delivery is enforced at the local postmaster level. If you local postmaster is lax, you can do more, but that makes it possible, not proper. That is why some PMB outfits are lax in collecting ID and others are militant - they only need to comply with the requirements of their postmaster.

1:39 pm on Sept 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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> there is no alternative to PO boxes.

That is true in much of the rural United States.

Instead of "PO Box 190", try "Suite 190" or "Apt 190" or just #190. USPO will deliver it no problemo.

If that fails, add the address of your local post office to the address. If your route driver comes from the po station at "123 AnyStreet", then put "123 AnyStreet #190" as your address. Postal service will deliver.

If that fails, see if your 9 digit zip code include the po box number "12345-190". If that is the case, then put your post office street address again and just use the 9 digit zip.

There are many other ways.

Lets say you have a po box at a 3rd party site such as US Box, or Zippy Mail.com. Often, you can put thier address and obfuscate it. Most drop shippers will gladly let you use their street address to do something like:

Foo.com
123-190 AnyBarPost Office
Zippytown, USA, XT. 12345

Where the "190" is your box number and "123" is their street address.

Lastly, if you do live in rural america, you probably know your mail driver by name. Don't be affraid to just use:

"Joe Smith"
"Any Town USA. 12345"

And not even put a street address on it.

2:31 pm on Sept 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Before you try the last option, find out where your mail is SORTED. In our U.S. rural area we know the mail delivery folks by name and they often wait to see the joy on our faces when we open b'day packages they deliver, etc...but our mail is first sorted in big ole Mobile, AL and anything that does not have a valid street address gets tossed back or out.

I have even tried mailing from a different locale to someone down here and not knowing the actual street number, I even put a description of the house,etc...on the envelope. No delivery.

4:42 pm on Sept 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Not at all true.

The postal service maintains a registry of addresses. New addresses have to be registered, and a form filled out. In many cases it is tied to the 911 system as well.

As a retired postal employee who worked in 4 different states throughout my career, I must repectfully disagree based upon tons of first-hand experience.

8:14 pm on Sept 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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This is retarded. Rebate companies pump millions through PO Boxes and like others have said credit cards, mortgage companies, utilities and others don't question it.

If there is fraud involved - just cancel the check.

10:48 pm on Sept 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think the people here are lost! You dont even know if Google really restrict sending checks to P.O Addresses, and yet you are arguing about it like a bunch of kids. Where is the link that says Google preferred physical address? Google has not mentioned any of this in all my emails i got from them. Please back it up with a link.
11:09 pm on Sept 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Go edit your address and try to put in a P.O. Box.

Duh.

11:30 am on Sept 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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See:

AdSense is not allowing PO Boxes for payment address [webmasterworld.com]
Breakdown of the new AdSense Terms, FAQ, Policies [webmasterworld.com] (18 June version)

As another poster mentioned, the restriction is apparent when you try to edit your address (or are a new applicant) and mention "PO Box".

2:56 am on Sept 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I cannot speak for the experience of others (especially those in the Post Office) and of course I respect their knowledge on the topic.

However, during the past 18 months I have had 5 separate conversations in 4 states with 4 PMB vendors and 1 postmaster (CO, VA, NY, and NJ; 2 independent PMB's and 3 MBE franchises) and received the exact same info from every one.

According to them, the rules are in place, and the postmaster is the enforcer. In every case the PMBs mentioned the attitude of the local postmaster, and that if they didn't do it exactly as he stated, he would with hold the mail.

In two cases I was told the local Postmaster was a good guy, and in two cases I was told he was a stickler. In one case I was given a form to fill out, which was an application for a new postal delivery address. It was to be submitted to the 911 system for assignment, and they would forward it through the postmaster who would then reply to me with the approval.

So while things may be different in Kansas or California or wherever, I can report on my experiences in these high-population and rather impersonal areas. All of this is post-911 also, and since all postal carriers are now TIPS agents, it is not surprising you get personal attention in rural areas.

One area of clear ignorance is the law regarding the use of PMB vs. Suite#. As far as I can tell, the law is unclear, and the Postmaster General tried to require PMB for all non USPO boxes. The enforcement went thru the ranks to the local postmasters, who tried to enforce it strictly in many cases. Mail Box Etc. fought this, and when UPS acquired them UPS took up the negotiations. According to a manager at an actual UPS depot (not a franchise) the postmaster general relaxed the ruling to allow "Suite#". The use of PMB is no longer required.

However, it is my experience that many local postmasters still say it is required, and facing the risk of problems with delivery, local PMB vendors still say it is required. Of course, since UPS negotiated it, UPS franchisees have been told all about how UPS Store customers can use Suite #. If you have a PMB and you write "Suite#) it is likely to work fine.

Again, all of this is aside from any fact that simply trying other ways may work, or fooling the AdSense form with variants of PO box might work. That is a different path you may or may not want to trust your checks to...

3:31 am on Sept 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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What the hell has Brett been up to to get this 'street' knowledge - or has he worked with Newman for a while *_*
3:43 am on Sept 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The Post Office street address trick mentioned in this thread may not work. I once saw a letter returned to sender rubber stamped "Mail delivery to PO Boxes using the Address of PO is against postal regulations - return to sender!"

I have also seen letters returned to sender because the MailBoxes Etc address was not right, i.e. when only the PMB # was used but not the complete address including the MB etc Room Number. The other one was not sent back but MailBoxes warned the format was wrong and future mail will get sent back as the address said Ste and not PMB.

My experience has always been MailBoxes Etc and other private firms are just as tough (perhaps even stricter) than the Post Office themselves on documentation when opening a box. I have also found they both enforce address formats as needing to be a valid format.

Anyone who would trust their Adsense check (or any other important mail) to be sent to a non-official format address is taking a chance on non-delivery.

7:41 am on Sept 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hey paybacksa, no one really care about your experience!
7:43 pm on Sept 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hey paybacksa, no one really care about your experience!

Oh, sorry. I stand corrected. I thought this was a forum and that someone had asked a question about post office boxes. My mistake.

8:03 pm on Sept 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hey paybacksa, no one really care about your experience!

If no one cares (and the post was not helpful) it seems odd there have been a number of posts about this issue in more than 1 thread, including posts by myself and also a Mod? I also think paybacksa's post was very good and knowledgable.

9:33 pm on Sept 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It is just a throwaway excuse. My PO Box is good enough for all my utilities, banks and mortgage company to find me

Are those companies sending you money?

9:47 pm on Sept 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Google has not mentioned a thing about a change of address? I believe most publishers are still using their P.O. Box addresses. Do you have a link that says Google won't send a check to P.O. Box address? You only have to change your address when Google ask you to change it. You will get this thru email or when you log in, otherwise, leave it the way it is before Google lose your check.
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