Monday, January 17, 2011

Unfinished business: Ads

Okay, well, raise your hand if you're shocked:


Thank you for your appeal. We appreciate the additional information you've provided, as well as your continued interest in the AdSense program. However, after thoroughly re-reviewing your account data and taking your feedback into consideration, our specialists have confirmed that we're unable to reinstate your AdSense account.

As a reminder, if you have any questions or concerns about your account, the actions we've taken, or invalid activity in general, you can find more information by visiting


The Google AdSense Team

This was particularly delightful because it was the very first thing I got to read this morning when I got up. Nothing like starting off the day with a hot cup of coffee and an enormously powerful multinational corporation telling you to go to hell.

So if you're thinking about signing up for AdSense, you should maybe take into consideration that they don't have to give you the money. In fact, since they don't even check to see that you're following the rules until you've got $100 in clicks, you get the added cruelty of getting to watch the amount slowly increase, over however many weeks or months that takes, and anticipating the money and looking forward to it, and then they take it away because you've broken the rules that, apparently, are impossible not to break. I don't know how the people who do get AdSense checks manage to do it, but I suspect my mistake was in posting about having the ads and drawing attention to them. Like, the first rule of AdSense is, you don't talk about AdSense. Maybe not. Apparently I'm never going to know.


Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Very weird. I really don't understand what the problem is. They're so vague about the whole thing. What is it that they disapprove of? Is there something on your blog that they don't like? Have they given you any clue whatsoever what the issue is?

El Gaucho said...

Sorry to hear, it's a bummer.

Bom said...

Ouch! Sorry to hear about that.

Thomas said...

If the link you posted is an explanation, I'm guessing they feel there were too many clicks on the ads in the Adsense(?) Frankly, when I looked in the sidebar I didn't see anything worth clicking on. I suppose if you look at it from their POV: desperate vendors, advertising in the dark with Google promising them sales, and now they're complaining. Not your fault if none of your readers are interested in their goods or services. Maybe Google should own up to the lame job of ad placements. You write about indoor gardening, yet I never saw an ad even remotely related to that. You'd think they be able to set up a primary filter for what your blog is about. Reads like they're playing CMA.

Anonymous said...

My guess: Homophobia


Paul said...

I second anonymous. Weasely circumlocution is usually the way corporate bigots (see Chik-fil-a) dismiss clients who do not conform to their politics.

A quick glance at your links is usually enough to get the average NOMer (et al) in a paroxysm.

mr_subjunctive said...

Plowing Through Life / Thomas / Don:

Google has not tried to communicate at all beyond the e-mails I posted, so what follows is speculation. But: my best guess would be that Google has certain expectations for how many clicks ads will get when first placed, and when and how the numbers increase and decrease over time, and how many different IP addresses will be involved per a given number of clicks, and so on. Possibly there's also some feedback from the vendors regarding how many clicks result in purchases, though I don't remember anything to that effect in the sign-up stuff.

So, once somebody reaches the payout amount ($100 in this case), their click statistics are checked, and anything that deviates too far from what the normal rate of clicks, or stats where almost all the clicks come from a small number of IP addresses, gets flagged as possible fraud. The computer automatically sends out the first message to anybody whose stats are so flagged.

I don't know what the appeal process is there for, since all indications are that nobody actually reads the information you provide in the appeal and the appeal never results in the restoration of anyone's account. (Also, it shuts down the ads for the week while they process your appeal, so even if they were to restore your account, you're still out one weeks' worth of clicks.)

In my case, there were a lot of clicks when I first put the ads up, because I deliberately drew attention to them, and I'm guessing that a few IP addresses probably clicked a lot more than the usual AdSense statistics expect (I don't know that this is true, because that information was never provided to me.).

I mean, I can imagine how it would look like click fraud of some kind. But they don't actually ever make that accusation; they never provide anything specific to explain why they suspect click fraud; I'm fairly certain that I never did anything that constituted click fraud (even by the very broad definition Google apparently uses); and there's no way to participate in AdSense without agreeing to a contract that says that Google can do exactly what they've done here, so it wouldn't even matter if they explained to me what they thought had happened, because per the contract, Google is always in the right.

I really don't think it has anything to do with homophobia or the content of the blog at all; I doubt that anyone connected with AdSense has any idea what the blog is about or who writes it, or cares. I think it's more about Google having an agreement with the AdSense advertisers that they will provide a very specific kind of audience for the ads, and they weren't getting that from PATSP.

Thomas specifically:

I saw ads relating to indoor gardening. Not very many, and of course I couldn't click them to see what was being sold, but I at least saw plant lights and orchids, and I think also some succulents and bonsai.

I also saw (on the Cleve Backster posts) ads for psychic tarot readings, though, so I'd have to say the ads were still not very well-targeted to the audience.

MrBrownThumb said...

Ouch! I didn't want to say anything about it then so as not to jinx it, but I too suspect it was all the talking about it.

Was there a comment or two by people saying that they would click the ads to support you? If so, some well-meaning people may have gone click-crazy thinking they were helping you and got the invalid activity flag on you.

Zach said...

That sucks! I figure I'll not get my first check in about 4.8 years from now, based on my rate of clicks.

orchideya said...

Unbelievable! You come across millions of zero-content sites that are quickly mocked up just to display those ads and they prosper while this content-rich website that people actualy read - gets kicked out! Way to go(NOT) Google.