Reminder – Why You Should Never Live By The Google

The following is an email from reader Simon Ward of Live Online Chat. It should serve as a stark reminder that you should never depend on Google as your main source of traffic and income.

Hi John,

I am not sure if you will get time to read this email or even reply, but it is worth a try! Negative start to an email, I know, but it has been a very hard couple of months and bad timing, baby due in September. Anyway, this is what happened to me.. is my main website, only problem, I was relying on Adsense and Google rankings for it to generate around €6,000 a month, that was a good income for us, very good income. I would work very hard building links, adding new features, improving the usability of the site for its members, etc, sometimes I would stay up for 3 days without sleep working on creating a chat site that is safe for everyone to use and moderated 24/7.

Live Online Chat has over 10,700 Facebook likes and 2,000 shares, it also has over 60,000 active members and a database of over 94,000 members.

Things were great, I met my fiance actually in my own chat rooms on the site and went to USA to meet her. We now live back in Spain and are having a baby in September. I have been to Australia, Jamaica, USA, Scotland, England, Spain, Czech Republic and Poland, all paid for by the website. I always knew that it had a chance it wouldn´t last. If someone was to upload a porn photo and I got caught by Google, I would lose the Adsense etc, but never thought that the following would ever happen..

On April 24th 2012, I was checking Adsense and noticed it was less than a third of what it should be. I went onto the site and realized that it was very quiet, only 10 people in the chat rooms. I ran a rank checker and my normal keywords, “chat live”, “free chat rooms”, “online chat” etc, nowhere to be seen. I had been killed off by Googles Penguin and Panda updates. My site had gone from almost 10,000 unique daily visitors to 2,200 overnight!

I have worked very hard on fixing the issues and even sent an email to Google through webmaster tools, but their reply was “No spam found”, so very confusing, I had not broken anything or been penalized! So I just went ahead and fixed redirects, added more content, added canonical link ref, took down sidewide links on other sites I own and added SEO plugins to Social Engine to stop repeated content and meta tags. I have now got around 3,200 uniques a day, it’s nowhere near how it was, but would still pull in €80 – €110 a day on Adsense, which was OK.

Anyway, June 10th, 5 days after my birthday, Google ban my Adsense account from, reason being, I was displaying ads in a deceptive way, I did have an image ad just below an Ad unit, nothing more than that, so I got rid of the image and changed all the ad colors to make the ads stand out so as not to look part of the site, this is what Google wanted. I resubmitted it for approval but got an email back, Your site is no longer able to participate in the Google Adsense program. Still no reason why, so I asked in Google forums and they tell me chat sites are no longer allowed to use Adsense. So I lost our main source of revenue.

27 thoughts on “Reminder – Why You Should Never Live By The Google”

  1. That’s one of the sad side of Adsense….Relying on one income source is a bad idea… Though now the damage has been done and it’s high time any big company Microsoft, Apple or Facebook should come up with an Adsense alternate program…
    There are many as if now like
    And many other….but the peace of mind comes with Adsense (Recurring income), no one else can offer the same..
    My recommendation would be try with Affiliate and private ads… Many online chat company will love to advertise on your blog…or may be you can earn a lot from review…..Since yours is a niche blog …You can kickstart..!!
    Losing hope here is not an option and complaining won’t help….So better start with other options of monetization.
    Best of luck Simon!

    1. Keith Ong says:

      Face the truth dude… No company would be generous enough to come up with similar program like Adsense, why?

      With the huge amount of invalid clicks or people trying to cheat Adsense by engaging people to click their own ads or whatever so, Adsense is the only company that is willing to stand on board to share the revenue with you in this way.

      Even if there is, they wouldn’t pay as much as Adsense cos lower the cost of their clicks is their best way to combat invalid clicks.

    2. Yes, that is right. There are many alternatives to Adsense and I really hope the writer does find a suitable alternative. Some other advertising channels include Chitika, Adbrite, Infolinks, Kontera, BuySellAds and more.

      There are also other ways to monetize the site such as selling ebooks or using CPA offers to further market the site. Sometimes such unfortunate incidents push us out of our comfort zones to try better alternatives. Many people have gone through the same and come out better.

  2. Fadi says:

    That sucks Simon. Wait couple of months then open new account in your wife name 🙂

    1. Tried-That Didn't Werk says:

      Google knows you better than you think. You’d also have to change your url.

  3. Ian Mason says:

    This story kills me – can you send me his contact info so I can refer him to forums like wickedfire, stackthatmoney and a CPA network or two to get him earning again? This is BS….

    In 2004, one of my biggest sites lost its main income source because a supplier went down… I was such a noob that I switched to adsense and went from making $30k/month to $2500/month… Then I started researching after a few months of that failing… and finally found an alternative… tested, and it converted 75% as well and that has become one of my main offers that still does well after 6 years…

    I’m sure this guy could resurrect his income with general-audience offers!

  4. Simon!! It is done. Brother I encourage you to strap up and get back to work! You have a baby on the way and a wife to keep happy 😉

    Did you forget what you have already accomplished?

    Hello! You have traveled the world off an “idea” that CREATED.

    Adsense and the Google has put a damper on your cashflow but Simon you still have traffic and a very huge LIST!!!!!!

    Time to start helping those on your list make money too ( karma baby).

    Consider affiliate marketing alternatives.

    Just today David Woods @Empower Network dot com
    announced that he just paid out his first MILLION DOLLAR earner.

    I believe you would explode your cash flow not just REPLACE what Google has stolen.

    I look forward to hearing how you got your swagger BACK!

    Paying it forward,

    Frankie J Mozell

  5. Very sad story for Simon. It just goes to show that you definitely need to diversify your income source online. Relying on source particularly Google Adsense can come back to bite you. However Simon did have great success with his site before all the Google drama, so I am sure with his skill and experience, he will be able to create another successful online site. Best of luck Simon


  6. Alan Tay says:

    I feel for you, Simon. I always have the feeling that depending on Adsense alone is like a high-risk war. It could be tough for you now when you think that having your Adsense account banned could be like the end of the world. However, there are other alternatives out there and I think Affiliate Marketing can be the next thing. If you can do it with Adsense before, I’m sure you can do it again. By the way, my site was hit by Penguin as well and I kind of find it hard to get my traffic back.

  7. Rich says:

    So sorry to hear your story Simon, but I have nothing more to add than what Frankie already said.

    How about leveraging your list? If done correctly you will more than replace your adsense earnings in a short time and at last be free from the grip of Google.

    Good Luck my man, I wish you well

  8. Niya says:

    So what do you recommend besides google?

  9. Kamal says:

    Definitely relying on a sole/single income source is never recommended. You just never know. He should try to monetize his website through other programs. Just keep at it.

  10. K Meier says:

    Very sad story.

    Strange though that Google bans his entire adsense account as part of their updated policies which no longer accept chat websites.
    Why can’t Google simply send out an email, saying they updated their policies and for that reason they would need to block the URL from his adsense account, rather than sending out the standard non-informative email your adsense account is in violation with T&Cs – banned.

    I love Google, but that’s definitely a part of Google where they have always been very customer unfriendly and almost arrogant.

  11. faisal says:

    OTHER THAN AdSense, even the traffic needs to be gotten back.

  12. Graham says:

    I won’t be using adsense at all. I’ve heard too much of this shit.

  13. Shalu Sharma says:

    That’s too bad. Is there any thing you could do, appeal and all that? Perhaps its the adult nature of the site that made them think, who knows. If you are in the USA, can’t you use YPN.

    1. John Chow says:

      YPN no longer exists. They got merged into MS Ad Center and I think MS is winding down YPN for the small publishers.

      1. Shalu Sharma says:

        Ohh, I didn’t know about it. I had a look at their registration page and they seem to be allowing everyone even from outside the USA to register. But if they are winding down small publishers than looks like there are only limited alternatives. I am seeing Infolinks on this site, so that’s an alternative.

  14. Whitney says:

    Man…Google is really some bastards some times. It’s amazing what they get away with! Seems really easy to just rely on them for traffic, but it’s definitely not smart. I think they take their monopoly position too far…

  15. This is a rough story and I know a lot of people that this happened to!

    Personally, I never thought of Google Adsense as a real income source. I was making YouTube videos and getting a few hundred views per week. I finally hit $40 and they banned my account for no reason and never got paid.

    A year later, I got back into it and they did the same thing. They must really not like me lol

  16. Caleb says:

    If not the affiliate ad route, the only worthy replacement I can think of at the moment for those Adsense ads would be using 7Search as they do have consistent payouts and are not as strict as Google. And of course leveraging that mailing list as others have pointed out is a MUST.

  17. Heinz Rainer says:

    Adsenseless – google culls you when you make income with them. They’d rather take in than give out.
    My own conclusion : the more ads one has on his page the lower the page rank.
    I am reducing adsense gradually. Depending on income with google : thing of the past.
    From today my landing page is without any ad from google. Subpages still are, as said I am cutting back with adsenseless.
    strange blogging.

  18. Margin Hound says:

    I am dealing with a similar issue on one of my projects – google will not let me run the ideal ad presentment approach due to adsense TOS so I am in the process of merchandising my own affiliate banner ad program.

    Thus far I am excited about it – I am actually getting nods from some cool affiliates on cj and linkshare (brands I am excited about promoting) and the math seems good. Looks like there is life outside google…should know in 30 days if it is a bigger pot of gold….

  19. Vijay Reddy says:

    i have also seen my frnds account being banned for no reason… also after panda and penguin update many loosing hope…

  20. Jack says:

    So sad to read this story, anyway you must rise up Simon.

    Back to early 2011 when the first panda launched, I was aware of this significant change, and decided to find adsense alternatives. Nowadays, adsense just contribute less than 10% of my online income.

    I think Google and its related products are unstable, too much fluctuations which are bad for long term business.

  21. P K Arun says:

    Don’t depend on google for your source of income. They can kick out of the game without any reason. I highly recommend users to try affiliate marketing or building amazon niche sites.

  22. chris milbank says:

    Adsense make no sense

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