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Live By The Google, Die By The Google – Part 2

written by John Chow on July 10, 2007

The Ultimate Online Profit Model

In today’s edition of live by the Google, die by the Google, I bring you the story on Henry and Wilson, 25 year old awakened twins from Baltimore. Henry and Wilson wanted to become rich and set out to make their online fortune by building a huge Internet empire. The only problem was, all their online income came from Google AdSense.

Rich Twin To Poor Twin

Henry and Wilson didn’t seem to mind that 100% of their lifestyle was being supplied by one company. After all, the checks never bounced. They were indeed living by the Google, and they were living it up to the tune of six figure monthly AdSense income. It’s the stuff of Internet dreams and the twins documented their journey on their blog, Rich Twin Poor Twin. That journey crashed last month – just a few days short of Google sending them another check – when Google banned the twins and kicked them off their money train. Total lose was around $200,000.

I don’t even have the words to describe the frustration we are going through right now. The total loss is around $200,000 or something but we don’t have an exact amount because we can’t log into any of our AdSense accounts. With server fees and programmer fees still bleeding us right now as I type. It’s quite depressing and the only reason why I decided to blog about this crap is because I read John’s post a few days ago.

I feel really cheated with the payments pending to arrive in days when we got the ban emails for invalid clicks. Google does not pay publishers even for the previous month’s earnings if you get banned. There was no warning and it never entered my head that I could lose all of our AdSense accounts.

We Never Thought This Would Happen To Us

We hear about publishers getting banned from AdSense all the time. We just never think it will happen to us. But what if it does? A banning of this size is extremely rare. I only know of one other six figure banning. This goes to show that no matter how big you maybe with AdSense, you can still get banned. And if all your revenue comes from Google, then you just screwed yourself.

Never let Google be your sole source of income or traffic. Making money online is all about maximizing income and traffic from multiple sources. Google has me in their search engine dog house right now. Has it affected my traffic? See the RSS counter on the upper right? It’s displaying a new record high. :twisted:

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{ 95 comments }

Tech Bold July 10, 2007 at 2:30 pm

They should have read that earlier. :roll:

a video a day July 10, 2007 at 3:04 pm

i don’t think google would ban anyone without solid evidence. they must’ve done something wrong

CASH for COMMENTS July 10, 2007 at 3:19 pm

OMG. that really does suck to loose a 200k income. I wonder how long it will take to recoup that residual. or find an alternative source.

Jack Book July 11, 2007 at 12:10 am

Wish the domain name was poortwinrichtwin.com, i think they’ll getting richer now.

btw, i can’t find any data of them on alexa or somewhere else. i can’t even find any google cache of them. but how could they make so big with their earning?

did i miss something?

BlogaDollar July 10, 2007 at 3:21 pm

I Agree.

Stuart Hannig July 10, 2007 at 6:30 pm

You must not know Google.

Marc July 12, 2007 at 9:06 am

Yeah, Google realises that trying to prove all instances of behaviour that they don’t approve of is pointless. They feel they have the market cornered and are behaving as such. The only thing that would change this kind of behaviour is if there were any other major player in the contextual ad game that would start affecting their bottom line.

I’m not knocking them for it, I’d likely do the same in their shoes. I’m just pointing out the reality of it all.

mybloggo July 11, 2007 at 12:33 am

I agree what a video a day say

ouchs July 12, 2007 at 11:37 pm

true that!

Debo Hobo July 10, 2007 at 3:51 pm

Yip Google sucks!!! They banned me within the first month of my http://www.com running their ads. Claimed self clicking. Not. They kept my dough and that was that. I have since found replacement ad servers such as 7search to use on my paid domain. And I use Bidvertiser on my free blog, you can find them in my nav bar at debohobo.blogspot.com . The pay out is good for now.

androo July 11, 2007 at 7:37 am

the crazy thing is that this same thing happened to me (not for the $200k) but for $6K or $8k i couldn’t login to see which it was for that month… but the only thing i can say is thankful there are LLC’s to start over again… and again…

Jason July 10, 2007 at 2:31 pm

Being on JohnChow.com is a start in the right direction

ouchs July 12, 2007 at 11:56 pm

you are correct!

Rea Maor July 10, 2007 at 2:31 pm

Ouch!!! :shock: But there are so many alternatives for Google Adsense; this doesn’t make any sense,
If they made that kind of money with Google
There shouldn’t be any reason why they wouldn’t make similar figures with other programs.

website copywriter July 11, 2007 at 5:50 am

They probably didn’t have any long-term goals. It’s that or they were completely blinded by the huge sum of money they were earning with Google alone.

Marc July 12, 2007 at 9:08 am

You have to admit 200K is a pretty blinding light :)

I’m just surprised that they didn’t ramp up some other streams from competing products. Might not have been as lucrative, but it could have gotten their bacon out of the fire and back into the frying pan.

Peter Koning July 10, 2007 at 2:32 pm

Google may have done them a favour whether they are guilty or not. The sooner they turn to higher EPC with affiliate offers, CPA, or their own products the better. Diversified as well… of course :)

Blogging with Desi Baba July 10, 2007 at 2:32 pm

Yeah, Google can be a pain in the ass sometimes. With $200,000 down the drain thats like a heart ache.

Tech Bold July 10, 2007 at 2:37 pm

Heart ache? That like a heart attack! :twisted:

Softsled July 10, 2007 at 7:58 pm

LOL

ouchs July 13, 2007 at 12:11 am

LOL definately heartattack!

Mybloggo July 12, 2007 at 1:02 pm

Ya!!If happen to me i will be very crazy….

cooliojones July 10, 2007 at 2:39 pm

I’m a lil confused. I read their story but according to them, they were just banned for no reason? Or they weren’t given a ‘real reason,’ Google just hid behind ‘invalid clicks?’ I do not think this is fair at all, and at a level like that, I think Google should provide some proof or have some kind of arbitration. They really owe it to those guys.

Tech Bold July 10, 2007 at 2:46 pm

Google doesn’t care for anyone. All they lost was one publisher, and they have thousand of others making them money. So, why should they bother with one?

Real Estate Editorial July 11, 2007 at 6:09 am

This is the complaint i hear time and time again about google, banning people whether it be valid or not, and not providing a reason. Furthermore never responding to any enquiries is BS in my books.

Marc July 12, 2007 at 4:13 pm

It’s not BS, it’s ROI. No matter what they say, the people who got banned will disagree. If they let even one back due to them arguing their case, they’d be inundated with other people pleading their case.

This is also a very attractive policy for advertisers. They know that no one will abuse the system and get away with it. If that means a few “innocents” get picked off in the process, the advertisers don’t mind.

Thomas De Maesschalck July 10, 2007 at 2:41 pm

Weird that Google doesn’t respond to their e-mails and that they don’t have a representative at Google that they can call.

Goob July 10, 2007 at 2:57 pm

It’s not just live by Google, die by Google. If you’re living by any single advertiser, you’re living dangerously.

Marc July 12, 2007 at 4:50 pm

That’s true. I’m working off of one advertiser right now and it’s not a fun place to be. Unfortunately I can’t get anything else to perform anywhere near as well.

Even worse, I’m having a lot of problems with them lately…

BlogaDollar.Com July 10, 2007 at 2:58 pm

WOW. $200,000 is a Big Loss.
Never Have Your Eggs In Only One Basket.
Diversify Or D.. .
I Learned it the hard way too.
I also tell my online venture like
john at
http://www.blogadollar.com
Mine will be bigger than Yours John.
I’ll be bigger …
Beware.

website copywriter July 11, 2007 at 6:16 am

I think first you gotta beat John Cow and other wannabes. THEN you face off with Chow. Wish you and your site the best of luck though. :smile:

ouchs July 13, 2007 at 12:00 am

yeah beware john, you got competition :lol:

Jim Fisher July 10, 2007 at 3:09 pm

Maybe I’m just a cynic but something doesn’t seem right here. This happened a few weeks ago and there is nothing on there about using other networks for making money? If you have that much traffic, why aren’t you making money elsewhere with all that traffic instead of writing about speculative stocks several weeks later?

And how come there doesn’t seem to be any mention of the the results of those Adsense campaigns on th blog?

And if you’re doing so well with the Adsense, why all the talk about other money-making ideas completely unrelated like stock speculation, real estate speculation, and no mention of adsense on the site beside the banned post(I couldn’t find any other mention of adsense on their site when searching Google).

If it looks like a ….

nbeyond July 10, 2007 at 3:13 pm

This is really shocking. Still I wonder how come they didn’t diversify their income source.

Real Estate Editorial July 11, 2007 at 6:12 am

yeah i agree, you would think with that kind of traffic selling advertising space would be a breeze

Jimson Lee July 10, 2007 at 3:14 pm

Something doesn’t smell right. How popular was the site to be earning $200K solely on Google Adsense? Doesn’t it pay out every month? So, is it fair to say $100K for the last 2 months? I am curious how they are (were) ranked on Alexa and Technorati

Tom LeDree July 10, 2007 at 4:34 pm

They said about other costs such as hosting ect.
They also might of heavily advertised the site to drive traffic.

If that is the case they lost what was owed to them, but they could just switch to another ad company.

kenny July 10, 2007 at 4:01 pm

linkbait? They have screenshots showing roughly $1000 adsense days, which works out to roughly $30k. Not sure how they lost out on $200k.

They also write about other income streams, so Google is not their sole source of income.

Ryan July 10, 2007 at 4:05 pm

Alexa shows no ranking. Neither does compete.com. What’s the deal? Is this legit, or are they trying to become famous through a sob story that didn’t happen?

Debo Hobo July 10, 2007 at 4:14 pm

I hope not. But I am sure John verified the truth before he reported on it.

Mr. Stockshaker.com July 10, 2007 at 9:22 pm

for so called business men, they are pretty pathetic.

good for Google to give these yahoos a wake up call. (pun intended)

Mike Mahon July 10, 2007 at 4:16 pm

Interesting note “John Chow” returns exactly 666,000 hits from Google now! You truly are evil! Rock on man! Oh, richtwinpoortwin returns 58 I am think they are full of it.

Personal Blog July 10, 2007 at 4:24 pm

WoW, that is amazing. I can’t believe that happened to the twins. I can’t even get to the $100 mark and I thought I’d be mad if they ban me for something when I get to $95.

Edgar G. July 10, 2007 at 4:42 pm

I was banned to for invalid clicks :???:

what is consider, invalid clicks ?

Real Estate Editorial July 11, 2007 at 6:13 am

Clicking on your own ads a big no no

Terra Andersen July 10, 2007 at 4:44 pm

Ouch Ouch and Ouch.

ouchs July 13, 2007 at 12:00 am

yep that’s my last name

Increase WebSite Traffic July 10, 2007 at 4:49 pm

what a depressing story

ouchs July 13, 2007 at 12:02 am

yes i agree, but if they can make that much, they can do it again!

shman July 10, 2007 at 4:57 pm

Your words are kind John :smile: You are absolutely right.

Chuck July 10, 2007 at 5:01 pm

I am always skeptical of those who have been banned. I’m sure Google makes mistakes. But I’m just as sure that a lot of people click on their own ads to inflate their numbers…or they hire someone to do it for them…OR they don’t know when to keep their mouth shut, and their friends or competitors undertake a campaign, whether to help or hurt. It’s generally wise to say less than one usually does about what one does for a living…especially if their primary source of income is so subject to outside manipulation.

I’d bet that there was cheating involved somewhere. In fact, I’m as sure of it as I am that Pete Rose bet on baseball? (oh…he finally admitted it? I KNEW IT!)

But now I’m scared to click on the links in the John’s articles anymore…because he contracted Mad Chow Disease and added those stupid double-underlined links. Makes my head spin. I’m starting to think I’m not evil enough to frequent this blog anymore. :roll:

website copywriter July 11, 2007 at 6:24 am

“a lot of people click on their own ads to inflate their numbers…or they hire someone to do it for them…”

I’m sure it happens a lot, too, and Google probably overlooks a few.

Bucky July 10, 2007 at 5:26 pm

I wonder how many website / blogs that they are were running adsense on.

The blogged linked to by John is only a PR3, and the Alexa ranking is virtually non-existent.

About Scams July 10, 2007 at 5:32 pm

John have you been on Google lately.Just type “your” Make Money Online term.You will see that you are not any more number one,not even the first 50!

website copywriter July 11, 2007 at 6:44 am

It’s been like that for a while now, buddy.

Paypal2u Bloggers July 10, 2007 at 5:38 pm

To err is humane.

Everyone makes mistakes, even Google do make mistake from time to time. But the appeal system set by Google is not up to everybody expectation. Maybe Google should take more proactive action regarding this matter.

Roger July 10, 2007 at 5:47 pm

I read their site and still don’t know WTF they do. Can someone tell me in 1-sentence what their operation was to generate that much adsense income? Are they domain-squatting?

Ryan July 10, 2007 at 10:40 pm

Yes, I would also like to hear an explanation of what their business was. Compared to johnchow.com, their site looks to be a ghost town. Besides some blog postings, there is almost no user activity in comments.

John Chow, as you obviously have some info about these guys, can you please shed some light on what exactly they did to earn the revenue? To the uninformed, this saga sounds contrived, and a week attempt to earn traffic.

website copywriter July 11, 2007 at 6:56 am

I smell a follow-up post on this one, boys…

One Man - OneYearGoal.com July 10, 2007 at 6:18 pm

Wise words from a wise man.

One Man. One Year. $100,000 online.
http://www.oneyeargoal.com

sandossu July 10, 2007 at 6:27 pm

They will find other monetization method. There are lots of Adsense alternatives out there

website copywriter July 11, 2007 at 7:07 am

But their reputation is a little tarnished. I mean, they’ll always be known as the guys who got their behinds royally kicked by Google.

Of course they could always change their names and start all over again.

Raj July 10, 2007 at 6:30 pm

Yep, I agree! Instead of laying all your eggs in adsense basket alone, it is best to distribute them with a lot of other options available on the net. It is applicable to google optimizing too.

Why can’t you chalk out a series on all those options of “make money online monetizing your blog,” clubbed together instead of rambling it here and there?

Austin Overton July 10, 2007 at 6:44 pm

Haha… Google clicks a button and they are 200k in the green!

iBT July 10, 2007 at 7:01 pm

Well, it is kinda suck but $200k for 40 days revenue on Adsense and they don’t know other way to make money? That kind of traffic, why do they depends on Adsense? They should sell their own ad package and Adsense should be secondary income.

Starboykb July 10, 2007 at 7:15 pm

OMG 200k? I only had $2 in my adsense now counting from June last year. :cool:

FYI July 10, 2007 at 8:21 pm

You might want to read this first “Why Google Adwords is Not Helpful to Small Business” http://smartstartup.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/07/a-fable-doing-b.html

Terence Chang July 10, 2007 at 8:24 pm

I am not surprised by those kind of news. I was myself banned by Google for no reasons.

That’s amazing story. Good for John Chow though. ;-)

Matt Huggins July 10, 2007 at 8:45 pm

I once was accused of Adsense click fraud, but I knew the source of the fraud and reported it to Google. They ended up returning my account privileges to me, and I believe they closed the offender’s account. You can read more about it here if you’re interested.

http://www.matthuggins.com/adsense-click-fraud-resolved/

Real Estate Editorial July 11, 2007 at 6:15 am

That is a good point, i have had some click fraud as well and actually if you report it right away, surprisingly they will respond.

sami July 10, 2007 at 9:22 pm

I’ve been getting steadily increasing traffic to my main site from Google since I launched the in 2001.

I’ve got onto AdSense gravy train since its inception, have been making steady income from it.

Nothing ever happened, they never closed my accounts or stopped sending traffic.

I have no doubt these guys, just like John, thought they could manipulate things.

Google is at least 3 years ahead of anybody else on the Internet. So, don’t even think about cheating, manipulating their system, it’ll backfire faster than a 19th century canon!

Goo July 10, 2007 at 10:49 pm

A few things make my BS detector go off here..

First the twins state on their blog that they have 4 sources of income (not just Adsense) back in March – http://www.richtwinpoortwin.com/azoogleads-first-impressions.html

Then you’ve got the fact that they ran at least 2 Google Adsense accounts between them (did both of them get banned?? If so, that’s fishy!) – http://www.richtwinpoortwin.com/november-financial-state-of-the-twins.html

I’m not saying they weren’t earning what they claim but I don’t believe for one second that they’re as innocent as they claim.

Webmaster Money July 11, 2007 at 12:03 am

I am surprised that someone who is besicly making money for Google also is banned without reason. these people are partners to google and you just dont kick ass your partner without any talking to him.

website copywriter July 11, 2007 at 7:11 am

Since Google is an online tycoon, they pretty much look at the big picture and probably care less for the little things.

William Profet from OneJobTwoSalaries.com July 11, 2007 at 12:09 am

Ouch! :( It hurts to lose such income source!

Fable July 11, 2007 at 2:06 am

Wow… that just plain sucks. I’m also guilty of sticking solely to AdSense and I really should get round to remedying that and registering with some other AdSense alternatives…

Steve

maurizio July 11, 2007 at 6:36 am

Ok, let me post and repeat all together what other poster said.

1. 200k? How successful they are? They should have a site like plentyoffish.com to get that amount of money..
2. Google bans when someone is doing something wrong. If they did something wrong then it’s right to ban them. 99% of JC readers doesn’t pay AdWords, but if you were an advertiser you’ll probably agree with me.
3. This is a good linkbait.
HEY I LOST 500.234 US Dollars BECAUSE OF A BAN COME TO MY SITE! Nafurai. Easy, isn’t it?
5. It’s not that difficult to fake images. I have somewhere on my blog a picture of my AdSense earning static that I earned -2dollars (minus two)! easy job with Gimp/Photoshop.
6. Whyat’s their site? Sorry but I come from Slashdot so I don’t usually follow links :-)
5bis. I don’t think it’s just that blog..
7. You didn’t even noticed that the point 4. is missing.
8. Now you are checking if point 4. exists.
9. Now you think this is a lame copy of an old joke you saw somewhere on internet.
10. Long comments usually attract readers. I hope you’ll get my points about this story and maybe you’ll visit my blog too :twisted:

ritchie July 11, 2007 at 12:05 pm

Thanks. The point 4 joke is good. I copy.

website copywriter July 11, 2007 at 7:14 am

200,000 is a lot of money — after reading the post and all these comments, I still don’t understand how they could’ve earned that much in such a short period of time. I’ve never even heard of them until today (does this mean I don’t read enough?!?).

Mental Kindling July 11, 2007 at 7:37 am

Yeah, I am going to have to throw the ol BSF up on this one, but that is probably just my skeptical side. Anyone done the math as to how many visitors/clicks would be necessary for that kind of income?

ritchie July 11, 2007 at 12:10 pm

Just one click per month if your cpc is 200k.

Marc July 12, 2007 at 4:53 pm

Click fraud :twisted:

Guillermo July 11, 2007 at 7:57 am

So, the guys at Google just decide if they want to pay you or not and give you the “fraudulent clicks” excuse… That’s a good way to make money: not paying to your publishers!

Pajama Mommy Community July 11, 2007 at 11:15 am

Google is crap they do this shit all the time and its the most annoying thing!

ritchie July 11, 2007 at 12:13 pm

That’s short but pretty precise.

chrisblogging.com July 11, 2007 at 11:27 am

There is no way of saying how horrible this is. Hopefully they will find some other revenue streams…

ritchie July 11, 2007 at 11:56 am

Today I wanted to install the Google Adsense Deluxe Plugin – the author has included a “donate 3%” function; it seems G doesn’t like that and banned his account. All inquiries bore no result – basically Google can do whatever they want. I’m really starting to detest this company. No matter if you make big or small checks each month, when they think it’s time to turn of the switch they do; no control!

Paul July 11, 2007 at 3:35 pm

I’m thinking they were guilty or else they would start a law suit with google.

simon July 11, 2007 at 3:52 pm

My blog got over 70% from Google search :???:

Hip Hop July 11, 2007 at 7:26 pm

As a Webmaster I don’t know what I would do without google :)

ouchs July 13, 2007 at 12:16 am

what there’s more than just google,

Jaan Kanellis July 11, 2007 at 7:39 pm

Here is a great list of AdSense alternatives from ThreadWatch:

http://www.threadwatch.org/resources/advertising/contextual/adsense/alternatives

Bloggeries July 13, 2007 at 6:22 am

Blinded by the $ from google forgot to diversify. This applies to any form of revenue stream online and any affilate program. You must diversity. Another intersting thing is many people are sooo hookd on SE traffic. SE traffic is great if you get some and I used to think it was end all be all, then after looking at logs. I get 1% of my traffic from SE’s. The rest is all links throughout the net. The more you diversify yourself the less you are at risk of ever losing what you’ve built. Great article and there are lots of alternatives to Adsense.

Andy July 20, 2007 at 1:02 pm

Wow, when you put all your eggs in the Google basket, it’s evident that you run the risk of getting burned.

“So, the guys at Google just decide if they want to pay you or not and give you the “fraudulent clicks” excuse… That’s a good way to make money: not paying to your publishers!”

So who monitors Google to make sure they are not “fradulent?”

Vasken July 21, 2007 at 7:49 pm

Ok, I think people are picking up on a few of the fishy aspects of this story, so I’ll recap:

1) The screenshot shows that the twins got around $18000 from google in half a month, meaning they probably pull in about $40000 a month, to be conservative. That means, to get screwed for $200K, they had to have locked their payouts for about 5 months, which sounds dubious for a couple of guys who mention shrewd investing. After all, having your money sit in Google’s coffers can’t be as good as investing it yourself.

2) The twins’ personal blog doesn’t get a lot of traffic, which has gotten a lot of people suspicious. Of course, on their site they mention that they have kept personal sites unrelated from their moneymaking ventures on purpose, to prevent clickspamming from, I guess, jealous competitors? True to their word, it’s hard to find out any other site from which they supposedly pull revenue.

So, clearly something isn’t right, but it won’t be clear what until the twins step forward and at point their and John Chow’s audience towards at least one of the sites that supposedly makes them the kind of money they’ve lost. And one other point that was made on this comment board rings true to me: $200K is a lot of money, and if they really lost that kind of money without explanation, why isn’t there going to be a lawsuit? Yes, Google can cancel a publisher, but the law is never that simple, and there’s enough money (supposedly) there to make lawyers interested.