Subject: Google AdSense – Program Policies
It has recently come to our attention that you’re encouraging your website
users to click on the Google ads you’re serving through AdSense. This
activity – which can artificially inflate AdWords advertiser costs – is
prohibited by our program Terms and Conditions
We request that you remove the following language from your website:
“Paying the Bills”
If you wish to keep text above the Google ads on your page, you must
replace the above text with “Sponsored Links” or “Advertisements”.
Thank you for your understanding. Once you’ve made the appropriate
changes, please reply to this email so that we can review your site again.
The Google Team
Hmmm, I thought to myself. Was “Paying the Bills” really encouragement? So I replied:
I’m not encouraging anything. I’m clearly labeling the commercial area of my site as such. It’s my voice and my site. I politely request you take another look at this and think about it in context of the site, and review your request.
I then thought about it some more, and added:
And besides, there is no consistency on other sites. Over at Fred’s blog (http://avc.blogs.com/a_vc/), he calls your stuff “Google Adsense” which is neither “Sponsored Links” nor is it “Advertisements”. Can I do that?
Came the rather robotic reply:
Thank you for your questions. We ask that if you wish to place text above
the Google ads on your site, please include either “Sponsored Links” or
“Advertisements”. This wording more clearly describes your association
with these ads, and ensures consistency for your users’ experience.
With regard to http://avc.blogs.com/a_vc/ , thank you very much for
bringing this issue to our attention. I have forwarded your finding on to
our team of specialists for further investigation.
Once you’ve made this change, please respond to this email so that we may
review your site again. This will enable us to update your account records
to indicate that you are in compliance with our program policies.
The Google Team
Yikes! I had now gotten my buddy Fred in trouble (and I was not “in compliance,” which I think means I’m not getting paid…). This sucks! So I shot off this (most likely too strongly worded) missive:
First, it sucks that you’re going to come down on Fred because I told you about it. Please don’t.
Second, did you even review what I wrote? I asked you to review my wording, “Pay the Bills,” as it reflects the voice I use to describe the commercial area of my blog. I really resent the stated assertion that I am “encouraging my website users to click on the Google ads you’re serving through AdSense” – which I am in no way doing. I ask you recant that statement, as it’s rather damning and completely false.
And third, I think you guys could learn a bit about the sphere you currently dominate – blogs. It’s all about voice, and voice means people, and people listen to each other and find compromises. So far, I’m not seeing any of this from you guys.
Please respond to these questions, and give me something that shows you’re a person, not an automated bot. I’d be more than happy to have a phone conversation with you, I imagine one quick call would be a far more efficient use of people time at this point.
No response so far, though, as you probably have noticed, I *DID* change the title over on the right to “Sponsored Links.” Why? Couple reasons. One, I don’t want my AdSense learnings to end in one just day, and second, well, I thought maybe if I showed them *I* can compromise, they’ll in fact review my request and be open to my wording, and then I’ll change it back. After all, I suppose I am in technical violation of their policy, as stated here:
Web pages may not include incentives of any kind for users to click on ads. This includes encouraging users to click on the ads or to visit the advertisers’ sites as well as drawing any undue attention to the ads. This activity is strictly prohibited in order to avoid potential inflation of advertiser costs. For example, your site cannot contain phrases such as “click here,” “support us,” “visit these links,” or other similar language that could apply to any ad, regardless of content.
I guess “Paying the Bills” does “apply to any ad”. Anyway. It’s not that it’s such a big deal, it’s that … well…my interaction so far has made me feel like Google doesn’t really understand who I am, or what my site is about. And that, as I have mused in the past, is what is wrong with most ad networks in the first place.
Lastly, I also sent a technical email to the AdSense folks late last night, as some of the ads are not showing up on my permalink pages. No response on that so far…
Net net, my AdSense experience to date has been less than good. But I’m optimistic it will get better. I’ve read many posts about folks grumping that AdSense is inflexible, and now I kind of understand what they’re talking about. On the other hand, I grok why Google must have policies in place – and why allowing exceptions is difficult. Sometimes, however, it’s the policy that must change.
In any event, this is great fun, learning what it’s like to be an AdSense publisher. Can’t wait for the next response!
UPDATE: Got a response, which makes me quite convinced that I’m talking to a robot:
Thank you very much for making the requested changes to your account in
order to comply with our policies. This will contribute to your ongoing
success with Google AdSense and ensure consistency for your users’
Please feel free to email us at email@example.com if you have
additional questions or concerns. For technical support, please email
The Google Team
Thanks for all the comments. Yes, I should be nicer, and yes, I should realize I’m dealing with the front line troops here. Will do.