Google AdSense is a system that allows regular bloggers to host ads on their sites, or advertise their own products on other sites. Given that it’s a Google product, it’s one of the largest systems out there. And yesterday, I got kicked off of it.
To give you a little background, I very rarely blog anything. I have a fairly popular YouTube show that I partnered with AdSense, giving them the right to put ads on the show, but I never really checked it. It was a passive income stream that, to be honest, made me no income at all. I got a card in the mail from Google, offering me $100 in ad promotion revenue, and using that, I determined that ads didn’t help me sell my stuff at all. I’d basically forgotten that it existed.
Yesterday, I got an e-mail from them titled: Google AdSense Account Disabled. The text was very friendly and polite, talking about how they wanted to create an online ecosystem that benefits publishers, advertisers, and users. They said that they had detected “invalid activity” on my site, and that my account was disabled.
Well, I don’t have any ads on my site, so I was pretty sure that was a mistake. After all, I can’t very well be creating a click farm if I don’t have any ads to click.
It’s worth noting that they could not tell me what my infraction was. “We’re limited in the amount of information we can provide about your specific violation. We understand this can be frustrating for you, but we’ve taken these precautionary measures because intentional violators can use this information to circumvent our detection systems.”
That makes sense, but at the same time, I can’t defend against actions that I can’t identify. I might as well go to them in an appeal and say, “But I never clubbed any seals!”
But I’m a Google person. I love G+, I was one of the first to get a GMail account, so of course I don’t want them to think I’m some kind of dirty … um … bad guy? So I appealed the ruling.
An arbitrary ruling made without telling the accused of his crimes was now being appealed without any idea of what infractions I was defending. The appeal asked some basic questions (“Have you ever bought clicks?” “Describe your advertising strategy”) and I basically told them that I never even used AdSense. I received an auto-recognition e-mail, stating very politely that they would re-evaluate my case.
This morning, I was told that, no, they were going to keep it disabled. “Thanks for the additional information provided in your appeal, we appreciate your continued interest in the AdSense program. After thoroughly reviewing your account data and taking your feedback into consideration, our specialists have confirmed that we’re unable to reinstate your AdSense account.”
The only reason I’m not screaming bloody murder about this is the fact that I never even used AdSense. It’s no big deal to me.
At the same time, what if this was for my Google Account? All my GMail, all my Google Drive data… It’s basically a cautionary reminder to me that I need to get off the cloud ASAP.
The cloud has no rules. It can distribute your data as it wishes, and it can shut you down without needing to tell you why. The cloud has no laws, and it can ruin your life if you depend on it.
In the meantime, I’ll be backing up all my Google data, just in case.