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AdSense appeal question

bogus violations

     
3:34 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I've been using AdSense for over a year and haven't had any problems. About a month ago a page on my site was flagged for a violation and AdSense disabled. The first violation was for "copyright," which seemed ridiculous (I'm an IP attorney), yet I removed a few screenshots of a TV program the post was discussing. I appealed and was denied, this time the violation was for "sexual content." This was even more ridiculous, as the post contained nothing of the sort.

Since the post itself was from March 2014, I wasn't concerned about it so much, so deleted 1500+ comments and re-appealed. Denied again, "sexual content" again.

Then I disabled the page entirely--visitors now see a "page not found" message. Appealed again. Denied again. "Sexual content" again.

So I'm really at a loss here. Clearly I'm dealing with a bot and not a human. Regardless, I only want to know how to get AdSense reinstated, especially as the bases for violation were imaginary at best.

Has anyone here navigated similar terrain? And if so, what should I be doing?
3:37 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Was your Adsense account disabled or just your site?
3:42 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Not quite sure what you're asking, because I only use my AdSense account on one site, so I'm not sure how I'd tell the difference. I can reach the AdSense page and when I click on Status it shows that I've a "policy violation," the consequences of which = "ads disabled."
4:46 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Well that means your account wasn't disabled but just your site is in violation.

I haven't seen your content (obviously) but if you have a lot of comments or any other kind of UGC, it can be tricky to run AdSense against them. Some sites just aren't gonna be a good match (and as you have already found, Google doesn't give the benefit of the doubt, because, well, they don't have to. And it doesn't scale)

Do you have the option to email support in your account? If you were earning at least $25 a week on average, you should be eligible for email support, and you could try that.

Are they still giving the page that you disabled as the reason for the banning?
5:15 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Netmeg. Here's what the page looks like right now: <snip>

As you can see, there *can't have been a violation, otherwise every page would trigger, because there's only templated content there.

My AdSense account averages at least $150/mo but I don't see any email support option within the account.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 9:40 pm (utc) on Nov 13, 2014]
[edit reason] URls removed. No Site Reviews. Please see forum charter and TOS. [/edit]

5:34 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I'm not eligible for email support, I can certify. I *may* have been, but I notice that the criteria looks to the last 5 weeks. Since my site isn't actually receiving AdSense revenue at the moment, I understand this in a literal sense, but it's a bit of a Catch-22, right? Or Kafkaesque.
6:37 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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When there is a violation like that, the URL that they give is an example. You have to check the rest of the site. Just removing the example one and appealing is often not sufficient.

Also the guidelines are not "sexual content", its really "family friendly"

You dropped your url above (which you probably should not have and a mod will remove), but I was able to find a lot of potential pages in violation. 342 pages on the site had "#*$!" mentioned on them; there was one page on 'sexual histories' ... etc
7:00 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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cbpayne: thank you so much, I appreciate the insight. I'll review content from the time the site was first flagged to see what may have triggered. That said, I'll take issue with Google's process: if they're telling me that there *is* a violation at the example URL, it's reasonable to presume that there actually is a discernible violation at the example URL. If that URL no longer exists, it would make sense that a new review would occur and I'd be issued another example URL.

Regarding swear words, I can only assume that those appear in the comments, which average 1000 per day. I know that Disqus allows you to replace swear words with symbols, but I'm curious whether you or anyone knows whether that works in the context of AdSense policy violations. That is, does Google look at "8&%^" and see non-family friendliness. (That is, should I even bother trying this?)

For what it's worth, the stated violation (after initially being copyright) was "sexual content." But I get what you're saying, that the policy is more amorphous.

Apologies for posting link, I didn't realize I wasn't supposed to. Thanks again for looking, though, and I really appreciate your feedback.
7:24 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The URL violation was just an example. You have to review the whole site for other violations. I believe Google uses a bot when they review your site and the bot my flag some of your articles as "sexual content". Example, your article "Document Leak: Scientology Sexual Histories" falls in that category.

Try removing articles with adult sensitive words like "sex, torture, drugs, etc." and resubmit the appeal.

Also, most of your articles have a lot of duplicates on the internet (word for word) which falls under copyright violation.
7:36 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Thanks jbayabas. The duplicates on the internet are themselves copyright violations, mostly on overseas sites that would be more trouble than it's worth to have removed. The author of the site is a well-known journalist and responsible all the content. Thus, if Google is judging copyright violations against later-dated content, that would be problematic. I believe the initial copyright flag was probably due to a few screenshots of a TV program. When I removed them and re-appealed, that basis disappeared (and replaced with the sexual content basis).
7:40 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Take care of the sexual content first by removing articles with sensitive/sexual content and see if your appeal will be successful.
7:45 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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" I believe the initial copyright flag was probably due to a few screenshots of a TV program."

That's not a copyright violation. That falls under Fair Use. Words that you used to describe the screenshots may have triggered the bot to flag the article as copyright such as "download this link, copy this photo, etc".
7:57 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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"That's not a copyright violation. That falls under Fair Use."

As an intellectual property attorney, I'm well aware, thanks. Fair use, however, isn't always obvious to humans, much less bots. And I'm going to take a very educated guess that Google's bots err heavily on the side of rights-holders where fair use questions even potentially exist, simply because Google has less of a disincentive to expose itself to liability from potential copyright defendants than it does exposing itself to liability from potential copyright plaintiffs.

All I can say that I removed them on the hunch that they were the problem, and that basis no longer appeared as a violation. The screenshots were described in meta tags as screenshots of the particular TV program and perhaps its network, nothing more. Nothing even approaching a copyright violation, or even a credible infringement that would make it a close fair use question.
9:45 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Regarding swear words, I can only assume that those appear in the comments


Doesn't matter where they appear as certain words stop the ads from running so if you can't filter the output to block those words, you should either stop running ads on those pages or turn off comments.

User generated content and AdSense has to be tightly controller otherwise you can lose the ability to display ads on a domain thanks to comments and/or lose your account altogether if they determine your sites aren't a fit for the AdSense program.

Enjoy playing Russian roulette with your income source. ;)
9:51 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Since the post itself was from March 2014, I wasn't concerned about it so much, so deleted 1500+ comments and re-appealed. Denied again, "sexual content" again
This is not the place to do site reviews, but I will say that I spotted a photo of underage girls in bikinis, and you have a huge problem with swear words (F word, C word, The F word for gays) In fact, you have just about every swear word known to man on your site.
9:59 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I've never put any UGC on my sites and never will. Way too many ways to run afoul of Adsense.
10:22 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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"This is not the place to do site reviews, but I will say that I spotted a photo of underage girls in bikinis, and you have a huge problem with swear words (F word, C word, The F word for gays) In fact, you have just about every swear word known to man on your site. "

Thanks. Curious what tool you're using to determine all that, assuming you're not just running a google search on various terms. I can see there's some raw language in the comments, sure, but it wasn't a problem with Google for over a year. And I've been on plenty of sites using AdSense that permit similar language, so the violation came from left field. I have no editorial problem restricting words in comments, but I'm curious how to go about it. I added a long list to the Disqus filter, but that process doesn't appear to work retroactively, and so I'm interested if anyone knows of a dedicated solution.
10:57 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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site:www.example.com <enter word> so it looks like this:
site:www.example.com f**k
11:01 pm on Nov 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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And I've been on plenty of sites using AdSense that permit similar language
I can see a lot of people getting offended by the N word, and for Faggot - (and I do not mean the meatball variety) Not to mention the C word (40 results alone) You've a lot to clean up on the site before applying again.
12:12 am on Nov 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Before the url was removed I took a peek at just one page. I saw a twitter feed and lord only knows what could appear in that mess. I'd dump that immediately.
2:48 am on Nov 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I don't think the foul language in Disqus has anything to do with your violation. Your site content per se has a lot of articles that's deemed adult themed. You should clean that up first then reappeal. If it gets rejected again, then drop Disqus. There's no limits on appeal so just be patient.
3:09 am on Nov 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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And I've been on plenty of sites using AdSense that permit similar language


That was then. This is now.

Back in the day there was a lot of stuff people got away with on AdSense unless it was manually reported or got a manual review.

Googlebot couldn't crawl AJAX and some other ways that some sites displayed comments, and other content, which allowed them to get away with things. Today, with headless browsers being used to crawl sites, that is no longer the case and I'd suspect eventually those sites that have stop words on the page will get nailed.

Also, just because they have AdSense on the site doesn't mean the site will get banned for having stop words on the page, but the page itself will be blocked from displaying AdSense. If the site in it's entirety is deemed too vile, or violates the T&Cs too much, then it could get a full site block or ban.

The bottom line is a site like that shouldn't have AdSense, find some other advertising for your site and use AdSense on something that doesn't violate the T&Cs.

This really shouldn't come at any big surprise because AdSense T&Cs spell out what's allowed in black and white, assuming it was read in the first place and if so just blatantly ignored which is the reason for most banned sites.

I often equate AdSense to the webmaster equivalent of a "hot plate" which when told not to touch it, people do because they need to prove to themselves it's actually hot and get burned, or in this case banned.

I don't really see anything else we can add here as it's a mess, it violates the T&Cs, there's nothing we can do to fix it or even suggest to fix that isn't already plainly documented by Google that you DO NOT do those things.

For that reason, I think we've exhausted the value of this discussion and I'm closing the thread.

Good luck!
 

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