AdSense Account Disabled – What Should You Do?
So you try to login to your AdSense account today and find it’s disabled. You frantically try again with no luck and then check your email to find Google’s contacted you to let you know your AdSense account has been disabled. Ugh…
We’ve had some readers and listeners email us about the fact that their AdSense account was disabled and were wondering how we continue to operate with such a potential risk looming. We were even called out in the comments section on Joseph Archibald’s blog about why we might be avoiding the topic or not sharing those risks with our readers.
While we did write a post about the risks of online publishing, we didn’t address this issue directly and I thought I’d lay out some of our thoughts here in this post. If you’ve found us vague on this subject in the past it’s mostly because it’s something we haven’t dealt with directly.
Most of our content is focused on building niche sites and AdSense monetization, so if you no longer have that as an option there hasn’t been much to say. Still, it’s a pretty serious issue for those affected and we wanted to give them the options that we know are available and would use if such a thing were to happen to us.
Are you sure your AdSense account was disabled?
Some have found that their ads were not appearing on their website, but they still had access to their AdSense account. This may be due to the fact that AdSense has been disabled for that particular site, but their account is still active. (Alternatively, it COULD be that there’s a lack of advertisers in your niche, although less likely)
The best thing to do would be to check other sites to ensure ads are appearing or you could try adding someone else’s AdSense account to the site to see if the ads appear for them.
When your account is disabled, Google sends you an email stating as much and puts a general answer as to why the account was disabled. Google will likely NOT elaborate on the specific causes of the ban as that would give away specifics about their internal workings they’d rather not release.
Why does Google disable AdSense accounts?
In reading and talking with many (not all) people who have had their AdSense accounts disabled it becomes apparent that most understand exactly what it is they were doing wrong. For those that were not aware, it becomes pretty obvious after just a bit of discussion that they’re blindly unaware about what is and is not allowed under Google’s ToS regarding AdSense accounts.
It’s extremely important for Google to protect their advertisers and they’ve obviously made that a priority within their system. If the advertisers aren’t comfortable they’ll be receiving legitimate and useful traffic, all of the advertisers would dry up and us publishers would be left with a system that doesn’t pay nearly as well.
Even if we don’t always get credit for clicks, get lowered value due to smart pricing, etc…we’re thankful Google is protecting the long-term viability of the AdSense program.
Here are the primary reasons Google will ban AdSense accounts:
- Fraudulent Clicks – Google is extremely good at determining whether clicks are legitimate or not. Some publishers have thought that by contacting friends and family, having them search for their site, find, and then click on the ads keeps them in the clear but this is a huge risk and not at all worth the minimal rewards you might receive. Others have attempted to cloak their traffic or use automated software that will click on the sites for them which, of course, is unacceptable.
- Fake Traffic – Publishers will either purchase loads of traffic from often-shady sources or will buy websites where the majority of traffic is coming from shady sources. (Note: When I mention shady sources I’m referring to traffic that may be incentivized or directed to sites through traffic shares, social media, etc.) Often this traffic will have no interest in the particular subject, but does results in clicks that cost the advertiser money. This type of traffic is harmful to advertisers…they’re paying for traffic that will, ultimately, not convert for them.
- Previously Banned Account – Sometimes publishers that have previously been banned will attempt to sign up for another account by changing their name, using a friend’s contact information, etc. Google is very adept at catching this and will shut you down when caught. Instead of signing up again yourself, consider the options we give below.
There is a 4th option that seems to happen much less, but does get reported from credible sources. Some have claimed to have done none of the above and still had their accounts disabled. It’s tough, because there’s always a nagging question as to how truthful they are being about what they’ve done with their account and their sites.
I think, in some cases, they’ve ended up having problems with their account because they have told others about sites under their control. Whether to help or to harm, it’s possible that others went to their sites and were clicking on their advertisements. (It could be a function of readers of theirs going to their sites and trying to “help” their revenue by clicking on their ads or it could be jealous competitors doing it to cause problems with their sites.)
How can I get my AdSense account back?
The only way to get your account back that is accepted by Google is to file an appeal. You can file an appeal here or check out this article or this article about bloggers that appealed and were successful.
While the appeal process is the only way to legitimately reinstate your personal account, Google also allows legitimate businesses to apply for and join the AdSense program.
Many top AdSense earners intentionally setup and run multiple businesses (corporations or LLC’s) to diversify their AdSense income across accounts or to take advantage of smart-pricing rules and policies. No matter the reason, it’s important that these companies ACTUALLY be separate entities, both from a legal and banking perspective.
It’s also important to remember that whatever it was that got your AdSense account banned from the sites you had it on previously may again affect you if you decide to put that AdSense code on the same sites. If those sites had previously put the advertisers at risk, it’s somewhat safe to assume that another account may be considered to pose the same risk to those advertisers.
What alternatives are there to AdSense?
If you do find your AdSense account disabled, your appeal denied, and are not interested in setting up a company specifically for AdSense, all is not lost. While AdSense is known to have the best RPU (Revenue Per Unique) when compared to their direct competitors, you may be able to recover some of your lost income through the following AdSense alternatives:
- AdBrite – Fairly competitive payouts. Arguably the best alternative, less ad layouts and advertisers.
- Chitika – Relevant ad placement and a good compliment to banner advertising.
- Bidvertiser – No tax info required and great ad design flexibility.
- Infolinks – In-text advertising that compliments the others listed.
- Kontera – Been around a long time, easy to use, harder to get accepted.
Another approach would be to take a hard look across your sites and focus on those with the highest revenue and see if you can closely match them with products at Amazon.
The problem for most of us would be the fact that the content would have to be changed significantly to be written more as pre-sale content, but interesting studies have been done that show Amazon or affiliate advertising, pound for pound, is a better earner than AdSense anyway…you might end up making more money on a few of your sites if you can get this down.
Switching monetization strategies from AdSense to the Amazon affiliate program is an interesting strategy anyway. If you can get this down you can carve out a niche for yourself purchasing AdSense websites and strategically converting them to Amazon. (Or…best case would be to find AdSense sites and find a way to sell your own product directly.)
You can also check out the exact “disaster plan” we have in place including an in-depth review of your AdSense Alternatives here.
Having your AdSense account disabled can be extremely difficult and frustrating. If this has happened to you, we hope the above information helps you decide which route you should take next by giving you the options you need to recoup some revenue.
Disclaimer: We are not speaking for Google or anyone working in the AdSense department. Additionally, we are not legal experts. Any advice given regarding AdSense or legal issues should not be construed as legal advice. Consult legal counsel if you have any questions regarding the advice above.