Google’s Vagueness

First off: I want it to be know that I really like Google as a company and use and love most of their products.

However, I have to tell everyone about just how utterly vague they are when there’s a problem and it’s driving me nuts!

I make a very nice income from Google AdSense. This program lets me put some text adverts on my site and everytime someone clicks on an advert, I get paid a small amount of money, pretty cool, huh?

I’ve been using AdSense for about 18 months now and do very well off of it. Now in order to protect their advertisers, Google has a lot of rules about what you can and cannot do with your adsense code. For example, you can’t click your own links – even if you are really interested in the advertisers advert. You can’t ask your friends or visitors to click your links to ‘support your site’ and various other things like that.

I have AdSense code on well over 200 websites, some don’t earn much, others earn a lot. But it all adds up 🙂

The other day I got a message from the Google AdSense team stating that they had detected fraudlent clicks and traffic to one of my sites and if I didn’t stop it I would have my account closed down.

Hello Peter Claridge,

It has come to our attention that invalid clicks or impressions have
been generated on the Google ads on your site(s) through users of
third-party programs paid or provided with other incentives to visit
your site. Such programs may include, but are not limited to auto-surf,
pay-to-surf, pay-to-read, or pay-to-click sites.

This is seriously bad news for me, as I rely on AdSense for a good part of my income. However I know that I’m only using natural organic search engine results to generate traffic and I’m certainly not stupid enough to encourage people to click on my ads – I know that’s a fast track way to get your account shut down.

So I sent them an email back asking for specific information so I can just take down the site. It seems like a reasonable request, right? They are telling me there’s a problem, I need to know where the problem lies.

I rapidly fire off an email asking where the problem is and wait nervously for the reply, praying that it’s not with one of my higher earning sites.

The reply comes back…

As you know, Google treats instances of invalid click and impression activity very seriously. As a reminder, we cannot disclose any details about how our monitoring technology works or what specifics we found on your account. However, we can assure you that we have thoroughly re-reviewed your account, and have confirmed that your account violated our program’s Terms and Conditions.

Hmm…

So now Google is saying that “look, there’s a major problem on your account and it could cause you to lose your account, but hey, we can’t actually tell you what the problem is because it’s much more fun to leave you guessing”.

I reply back asking some more questions about their ToS, they reply with even more vagueness than before!

Aragh! Google, you are killing me!

Today I took down over 150 websites that I don’t monitor in the hope that it’s something to do with them. I also removed the code from my highest earning website, just in case ;-(

A colleague of mine had his account shut down a couple of months ago, but they didn’t even give any warning. He only had 2 forum/community websites and he had over a years worth of earnings saved up. EEK!

If anyone in the UK here’s a feint scream along the lines of “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo” then don’t worry, it’s just me finding out that Google has shut down my AdSense account 🙂

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