Yep. A couple of days after Amazon.com Fired Me, I got an email from Google saying that my Adsense account was deactivated for “invalid activity”. I am just writing about it now because I was trying to get some help and waiting to see what happened with my appeal. I had no luck.

Here is the email that I received:

This message was sent from a notification-only email address that does not
accept incoming email. Please do not reply to this message.
---------------------------------------------------------------

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 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.

Sincerely,

 

The Google AdSense Team

—-

Can you say vague? Well I was floored, especially by the line that states “Your outstanding balance and Google’s share of the revenue will
both be fully refunded back to the affected advertisers.” Say what?? This means that any other affiliate accounts that I had tied into my Adsense account had to be contacted immediately so that I could get my payments in another way. And one is still waiting to see if Google really did refund their money.

There are SEVERAL things wrong with this. I so wish that there was a way that I could get back into my Adsense account and look at the data, but of course I can’t because it is deactivated, so these dates and amounts are from memory.

I opened my Adsense in I think July 2007. For over 3 years I never really tried to make money from it. I put a couple of texts ads on my blog and on my photography website. And I plugged my pub ID into other sites that I write for that said “you can input your Adsense account here”. But I never really tried. Honestly I gave up on it because it was making pennies a week. By December 2010 there was about $72 in my account. I figured I would finally get to $100 by 2012. But on January 25, I read a post on That Tech Chick (you will see a comment from me there) about a WordPress plugin called “Ad Injection” that automatically puts ads in your posts and allows you to customize how often they show, where they show, etc. I had tried a couple of plugins in the past but did not like them. But this one sounded good. So, I installed and configured it and initially set it to put 3 small ads total on long posts I think. Also, on some advice that I heard from others, I stopped using the text ads and switched over to image ads which have a higher click rating. I immediately saw a difference in my earnings. Before you know it, the day finally came. My Adsense account was FINALLY over $100! I even tweeted about it. But you know what? When I tried to find my tweet just now using Google search and several other online search tools my tweet was nowhere to be found. Hmm… Conspiracy? (Sidenote: Twitter search only holds stuff for a week, but you can usually get a pretty good search using Google.)

Anyway, my earnings continued to go up a few bucks a day which I was happy with, until one day they just stopped. It was like a switch was flipped and it was back to pennies a day. I wondered if I did something wrong by changing around my ads while I tried to decide on the best position, etc. and best type of ads. I started doing some research. I headed over to the Google Adsense forum and posted a question about the drop in earnings. I also found some other research that said that I may have jumped in at a good time (holiday season) when advertisers spend more money on ads which means better CPM. That made perfect sense to me since I basically *started* in January and by the end of February earnings dropped. I let that go and decided to just be happy with what I was making. Although, I know there are some others that get a check from Google every single month and make a living from it. I decided to just wait and see what happened. I was happy that I was FINALLY going to get a check from Google after almost 4 years. So, I logged in to see when I could expect payment. Based on my earnings and when they hit $100 it should have been by the end of March. I checked my payment settings to make sure that my checking account number was current since I had recently gotten a new account. I had to go through verification since I had never received a payment before. Google deposited 34 cent in my account to verify. Once that was done I sat back and waited. I had already thought about the couple of bills that I would be able to pay with the extra money. The money that never came. The total on my account was about $198 when disabled.

Instead, on March 9 I got the email above. Just in time for payday. How ironic, right? I appealed immediately (probably too fast) and my appeal was denied. The appeal form asks a bunch of cryptic questions that some of us can’t possibly know the answer to unless we are obsessive about tracking site activity via IP logs, etc. As far as I was concerned I did nothing wrong, so it had to be a mistake. I have never clicked on my own ads or encouraged anyone else to do so.

It just so happened that I had been emailing with someone from Google on an unrelated issue so I mentioned it to see if I could get anywhere. The only bit of additional information that I was able to get was that my account was disabled for “spam”. Honestly, that makes it even more confusing. Spam where? What type of spam? Spam from who?

I just think it’s sad that this is happening to people all over and we are not really given any guidance to correct the situation. If Google is the one stating that there was invalid activity they should be able to tell us from where so that we can stop it if something is fishy on our end. If  there were really invalid clicks or spam tell me from where. And instead of immediate deactivation, how about a warning? “You have X number of days to fix this, this, and this on your site or you will be deactivated.” That would be too much like right I guess. Furthermore, I find it HIGHLY suspicious that this happened right as it was time for me to finally be paid.

I may appeal again for the hell of it. Although I’m sure this post won’t help my situation. But, what do I have to lose? I’m just stating the facts. And there are other ad networks out there besides Google. Before this I had recommended Google everything to everyone because it all rocks. Now? Well, I won’t be recommending Adsense. But, I’m just one little ol’ peon, so what do they care?