The home of Dino

Adsense, Charity and Google being evil

I try to keep my random posts useful and avoid having a rant. But Google’s recent behaviour deserves a little post all of its own.

In June 2008, I posted a video on YouTube of myself, in my garage, revving a motorbike to see what the different exhausts sounded like. Relatively pointless sure, but blokes like that sort of thing. In fact, here it is…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-46Gxopkus[/youtube]

It’s had about 280k views but at about 50k views, I received the automated email from Google asking if I wouldn’t mind them running ads on the video. I set up an Adsense account, put in a pre-order for a Lamborghini Gallardo and sat back, waiting for the big bucks to roll in. In June 2011, I finally got a cheque for £60.62. Ok, I cancelled the Gallardo. But then I figured that I’d do the right thing and I gave the cheque to Riders for Health, a charity that provides much needed transport for Africa by supplying and maintaining motorcycles.

I wrote a short blog post about it to give Riders for Health a bit of publicity and also added a thank you note to the YouTube description to say I hadn’t been greedy.

Mid 2011, Google send me a bunch of emails saying there is a policy update, blah, blah, blah. I didn’t have to do anything so I just let them breeze by. Then last month I decided to check my Adsense account thinking another charity was probably due a small contribution. Here’s what I got…

So checked my emails and sure enough, I had one dated Feb 2012 that read…

Google AdSense Account Disabled

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

Cutting to the chase (after a lot of research), I assume I’ve been punished for telling people in my YouTube description that the money had gone to the Riders for Health charity. This, again, I assume, was classed as generating ‘invalid click activity’ by incentivising visitors to click more ads. Rather subtle maybe, but some Google computer had clearly made up its mind.

There was a link to appeal, so I wrote an appeal note stating that I clearly made a single, innocent mistake, I had removed the comment from the YouTube description immediately and was very sorry for the misunderstanding. All my fault. Fair cop.

My appeal was rejected. So I figured I’d appeal again and state that nothing had changed, there was still no offending description and that someone maybe hadn’t read the original appeal fully.

My appeal was rejected again, but this time with the friendly note…

Hello,

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.

Please know that, once we’ve reached a decision on your appeal, further appeals may not be considered. Note that AdSense publishers whose accounts are disabled for violations of our Terms and Conditions are not eligible for further participation in AdSense. For this reason, you may not open new accounts.

Now read that last sentence again. “You may not open new accounts“. What? Ever? So for one simple, well-meaning charitable act, Google have banned me for life from ever signing up for an Adsense account again. Seems a bit harsh. No?

So unfortunately, that’s where this sorry tale ends. Everyone has a bad Google story eventually it seems. I consider myself lucky to have lasted so long. For a company who’s unofficial corporate slogan is “Don’t be Evil”, they seem to be going out of their way to disprove it. Come on Google, do the right thing!

 

 

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