Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Double-Think of Google AdSense

AdSense is a service from Google which allows you to host adverts from Google on your web site. Many Blogs use this service to earn money from people clicking on ads at the side of their Blog. The beauty of this system is that the ads are cleverly targeted to be relevant to the text of the Blog. So, if you're reading a Blog about IT, the chances are that you'll be interested in adverts for IT stuff.

But, a serious flaw exists in AdSense. Anyone can maliciously make several clicks in a short space of time on those adverts and Google will then assume that this could only be done by the hosting user, in order to increase their own income. In such an instance, without warning, they will simply cancel any account that they decide is guilty of this. They say there is no appeal.

So, why not find your competitors AdSense site and have their account cancelled? Click their ads from the same computer a few times a day over about 3 days and their account will be summarily closed.

It has happened to us, which is why this Blog no longer carries Google AdSense adverts. (We do carry other ads, which quite happily pay much better rates than Google!). The sudden email we received from Google reads, "Hello, After reviewing our records, we've determined that your AdSense account poses a risk of generating invalid activity. Because we have a responsibility to protect our AdWords advertisers from inflated costs due to invalid activity, we've found it necessary to disable your AdSense account. Your outstanding balance and Google's share of the revenue will both be fully refunded to the affected advertisers."

This means that the revenue we had built up quite legitimately in our AdSense account, before Google unilaterally decided we had broken their vague rules, is also lost. This seems like blatant theft to me.

We had absolutely no idea what they were on about. So, we read up on the issue and discovered that you can appeal, but Google tends to simply ignore the appeal. Most posts I read suggested the users were completely unaware of why their account had been summarily disabled, but Google would not listen to an appeal saying the user had no idea how the problem had occurred.

So we decided to play clever. We made up an appeal to say that a Work Experience student in the company may have been responsible by being over-eager when showing our clients how they could use Google's AdSense themselves. We said we'd discovered the student had used our ads to demonstrate how the service worked. We hoped that Google would listen to this appeal as we had not simply denied having a problem, but we had carried out a thorough investigation and we had learned a valuable lesson. By putting our hands up and admitting our guilt we hoped for leniency.

No chance. Like everyone else deemed guilty without a defence we're banned from AdSense for life. No further appeal is allowed.

So it doesn't matter whether you have no idea how the problem has occurred, of if you have fixed a problem. Google simply sticks its corporate head in the sand and plays judge, jury and executioner. Because it can be a tyrant, it is a tyrant. Power corrupts and Google believes it has power.

These bully boy, police state actions will do Google no favours in the long run. People will quickly lose faith in a once friendly organisation which has become Big Brother in a very short space of time.

I strongly suggest that users of Google AdSense look into the many, much more lucrative, alternatives and avoid this problem altogether.

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The IT Dept offers computer support services in Lancashire, including Monthly On-Site or Remote Support Contracts; Secure Online Data Backup; Domain Hosting; Server and Desktop Sales; Software Supply & Installation. We cover all of Lancashire, including Chorley, Preston, Blackburn, Darwen, Bolton, Wigan, Blackpool, etc.
© Michael Donkin 2011