The Adsense Riddle
6 years ago
This is a Guest Post by Saqib
I registered my website back in 2007 (www.justvb.net) to help fellow Visual Basic 6 Programmers. Later on, I decided to monetize it using Google’s Adsense, and hence applied for the program. Those were simple days (as compared to today) and getting an AdSense approval wasn’t hard, hence I got it with-in a week or so.
Just in case if you don’t know, today popular thinking amongst Pakistani bloggers is that one should wait at least six months before applying for Adsense. However, there are websites that get approval a lot earlier than that due to good quality and unique content.
As the time passed, I was collecting regular payments from Adsense using Western Union quick cash retrieval method to receive my earnings.
All of a sudden one day, I was unable to log into my Adsense account because it was disabled by Google. I got an email from Adsense team saying my account has been disabled due to invalid click activity. It further stated that all the money in my account will be returned to the advertisers, so all earnings gone.
A quick search on Google revealed that my account was disabled because Google had evaluated that I was clicking on my own ads. Which of course I wasn’t.
Further investigation revealed that Google uses some declared and some undeclared methods to evaluate click activity. They examine IP address, time of click, duplicate clicks and a number of other click patterns to judge the validity of the clicks.
Google does this at two levels. At first level Google claims that it analyzes clicks and impressions at real time from known sources of invalid click activity. And in addition to this automated process, Google claims to have a team deployed to examine the data when the system tags an Adsense account for invalid activity.
If the system has tagged a click on your account as invalid then you will not get banned instantly but repeated offender account will be disabled in time.
One sure sign of invalid click activity as pointed out by Google is that you will see a click in your Adsense account but no earnings in front of it in your report. Invalid click activity will bring down your daily earnings exponentially as compared to previous days. If you see both of these signs in your account then you have to move quickly and trace the specific user’s IP which has caused the invalid click activity.
If you have access to website logs directly then it will be easy to find the culprit’s IP. In case you are tracking your blog using www.statcounter.com or similar website widget then you can also easily trace the IP by looking at the reports generated by such websites.
Once you have identified the IP then you should report the IP and user agent details to Google. Google has a separate page where you can submit details of the suspicious activity in your Adsense account.
Invalid click activity is not the only reason to get an Adsense account blocked. The recent disabling of Pakistani users of Adsense can be attributed to many things. As it turns out Google’s motto of ‘Do no Evil’ is reflected into terms and conditions of usage of Adsense too. Following is a list of most popular ‘Don’ts’ for Adsense
Clicking on your own ads:
In order to inflate one’s earnings, some people do click on their own ads. Some use open proxies or other means to click on their own ads. Google can evaluate easily that you have clicked on your own ads and give you a penalty for it.
Asking others to click on your ads:
Everyone today has friends and family with Internet access. Encouraging others to click on your ads seems a good idea but it isn’t. Just consider that dodging Google isn’t possible, in any manner. So just avoid clicking your own ads or even asking anyone to click on your ads.
Just imagine the amount of resources they spend to track clicks – it’s in millions, with plenty of team to take care of such things. So simple avoid it.
Using scripts to click ads
Using automated scripts for clicking ads by using open proxies or changing user agent of your browser would also land you in hot waters with Google.
A lot of PHP scripts can generate content for you by copying content available on other websites and publishing them for you. These type of blogs are not allowed to have Adsense.
Changing Adsense script
By default, when a user clicks on an Adsense ad, they are taken to the advertiser’s page. Some people change the Adsense code so a new window is opened for the landing page. This and any kind of change in Adsense script is not allowed.
Hiding or obscuring parts of Adsense ads.
Some people try to trick users into believing that the Adsense ad is part of their content by hiding some parts of the visible ads. This is not allowed.
More than three ads.
A single page cannot have more than three Adsense units for content ads. Moreover, a maximum of three link units and two search boxes are allowed on a single page.
A page without content cannot have Adsense ads.
You cannot have Adsense ads on a page if it is blank, meaning there is no user content. The concern being that a user might think that ads are your website’s content and click on them.
One way of earning tremendous amount of money is to get paid traffic and have them land on your Adsense ads pages. Some users will click on the Adsense ads and you will earn money through it. But if caught, you will get banned.
Stuffing keywords or bloating content using keywords.
In order to influence what kind of ads are displayed, it is prohibited to stuff keywords in your content. People do this in order to get ads for keywords with high CPC (Cost Per Click).
Sharing Adsense data
Google does not allow you to share its Adsense data publically, specifically CTR (Click Through Rate) and CPC (Cost Per Click).
If you copy paste content from other websites and publish it as your own or without giving credit to the original author, then Adsense ads are not allowed on such websites.
Ads in popup
Some users place Adsense code into a popup to get more user attention. This is not allowed as per Adsense terms and conditions.
More than one account
Adsense publishers are not allowed to maintain more than one account under the same payee name.
Adsense is not allowed on adult content websites.
Casino or gambling websites
Placing ads on casino or gambling websites is a big ‘No’ for Adsense publishers.
If your website promotes prohibited content such as drugs, weapons, cracking tools, cracks, hacking tools, hacks, alcohol, trojans, viruses, exploits etc then you are not allowed to use Adsense on such website.
Linking to harmful websites
You being Adsense publisher cannot link your website to harmful websites e.g. containing illegal content, which spread malware etc.
Sending Adsense ads in emails/newsletters
Adsense ads are not allowed to be used in email or newsletters. However, Adsense premium publishers can. Premium publishers are those which receive more than 5 million queries or 20 million content views per month. Another exception is, ads placed in emails through Adsense for feeds product which enables publishers to distribute content through emails.
Trick a user into clicking on ads
Some publishers hide an ad in the content in such a way that the user is tricked into clicking on ads.
These are just main instances which can have your Adsense account disabled. To completely view the list, please look into Adsense terms and conditions www.Google.com/Adsense/localized-terms
Now, we come to the point to discuss the status of Pakistani Bloggers. There could have been a number of reasons why Google blocked the accounts but one sure thing I found was that most of the content of Pakistani bloggers is copied from somewhere else.
You can also check it yourself, just go to www.pakistanibloggers.net which shows a list of popular bloggers from Pakistan. Open any blog of the people mentioned there. Choose a blog post and select one line and copy it to Google it (by selecting any random complete sentence from the blog). Google search will show a number of websites with the same article with dates earlier than that of the blogger’s post.
I am not claiming all of Pakistani bloggers steal content but more than 80% do, I believe. This is a violation of terms and conditions of Adsense. Google may allow copy/pasting for a while but as soon as someone complains to Google, your account will get blocked.
In a nutshell, do no evil and you shall prevail.
One of my friend got his AdSense request approved just today, which means that Google isn’t shutting doors for Pakistan. All you need is to follow their terms and conditions, and that’s it.
Wishing you luck.