Now, this is a reverse from the innocent until proven guilty route. Google is banning AdSense publishers not because they’ve generated fake clicks, but because they have a risk of doing so!
In the past week, I’ve heard quite a few stories of AdSense accounts getting banned not because of any TOS violation or fraudulent activities. They’re getting banned simply because Google thinks the publisher’s site has the potential to generate fraudulent clicks.
This message was sent from a notification-only email address that does not accept incoming email. Please do not reply to this message.
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 back to the affected advertisers.
Please understand that we need to take such steps to maintain the effectiveness of Google’s advertising system, particularly the advertiser-publisher relationship. We understand the inconvenience that this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.
If you have any questions or concerns about the actions we’ve taken, how you can appeal this decision, or invalid activity in general, you can find more information by visiting http://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=57153.
The Google AdSense Team
To say Zac was surprised by the email was an understatement. He’s been a publisher since AdSense started back in 2003. He’s never had any fraudulent activities on his account, Google had sent him yearly Christmas gifts for being a great AdSense partner, and now Google has disabled his account not because he’s done anything wrong, but because there is a risk that he might do something wrong!
This isn’t even a case of guilty until proven innocent. Once Google decides you’re guilty, they don’t give you a chance to prove you’re innocent because contacting them is next to impossible, as Zac found out.
Trying to contact Google is definitely one of the areas they aren’t too interesting in improving. Instead of providing support, they will send you in an endless loop of forum posts which pretty much end up no where. If you are lucky enough to finally come across their Invalid Activity Appeal form, you can try your luck again, but they basically sent me the same denial email again. But then again, it’s all from “The Google Adsense Team” and just tells you to get lost in the forums again so I expected nothing less.
Live By The Google, Die By The Google
I have long said that if you live by the Google, you die by the Google. It’s a good thing Zac follows this same mantra. Both Zac and I have diversified our online income well beyond Google AdSense. While Zac will lose a few grand due to Google disabling his AdSense account, it won’t affect his lifestyle that much.
However, for most bloggers, the majority of their income will come from Google. This is a very dangerous position to be in. If Google can ban an account that has made hundreds of thousands of dollars for the possibility of fake clicks, they won’t even blink at banning a small account.
- Build your blog traffic with quality content
- Capture the emails of the blog readers
- Sell your own products (or affiliate products) to the list
Build a business around the above model, and I guarantee you’ll make way more money than what Google AdSense can ever make. It takes a lot more work but the payoff will be a lot higher, and you won’t have to worry about Google killing off your AdSense account because you might “pose a risk of generating invalid activity.”
*Update My friend Gauher Chaudhry, an AdSense publisher for over eight years, just got his AdSense account banned for the same reason as Zac.