April 16, 2012

I should state quickly that our AdSense account HAS NOT been disabled.  Still, there are AdSense publishers that have been getting banned recently…many of them have had their accounts for quite a long time.  Particularly disturbing is that Spencer from NichePursuits.com just recently posted that his AdSense account has been disabled.

This is quite distressing for us…we’ve looked to him for tips on building niche sites and have been “growing up” with him in the niche site space over the last year or so as both of our blogs and businesses have matured.

Spencer mentions some of the reasons he thinks he might have been banned, including having too many sites, but the template email he received was the same that others had in their inbox…talking about a potential risk to Google Advertisers.  What does that mean exactly?

That’s a pretty broad statement and leaves the door wide open for them to ban people that haven’t yet had a problem but might, potentially…some time in the future.  Ugh…not very encouraging.

There are plenty of others that have found themselves receiving this same notice from the Google AdSense team that their account has been disabled.  Have ALL of them broken the rules?

It doesn’t seem likely, especially after having followed and spoken with some of these well-known and respected bloggers.  If they did break Google’s ToS, it seems that many of them sincerely didn’t understand where it is they went wrong.  Because of this, we wanted to lay out our disaster plan and the exact steps we would follow should we have our AdSense account disabled similarly.

AdSense Account DisabledBefore we did anything, we’d freak out… this would probably include a bit of screaming at the laptops, gnashing of teeth, complaining to our friends, etc.

After that, we would take a step back, relax, and try to avoid doing anything rash.  Most likely, being in the Philippines, we’d go relax on a beach somewhere (Boracay?  Palawan?) with a fruity drink in hand and think about where it is exactly we want to go moving forward.  We’d adjust our marketing strategy but, more importantly, we’d make some serious adjustments to our process, as laid out below.

Step 1: Appeal The Disabled AdSense Account

The first step we would take would be to appeal the ban on the AdSense account, but before doing that we would look very closely across our various niche sites to try and determine why it is that our account was banned.

Tip: Once your AdSense account is banned you no longer have access to the data in your account.  Make sure you are making regular back-ups of the data so that you can go through it in case of an emergency.  If you see any major changes in your traffic, earnings, etc. make sure to document that, consider shutting down ads on that particular site, and let Google know right away through this form.

The templated email that goes out doesn’t give you much to go on, but they do tell you that your account was posing a risk to their advertisers.  That’s fairly general, but there are some things we can look for:

  • Have their been any significant increases/decreases in earnings over the last few weeks in the AdSense account?  From which sites on what days?
  • Review the Analytics on the site that had the changes.  Has the traffic sources or keywords searched changed significantly?  What about the time on site?
  • Have you recently started a new linkbuilding campaign that’s driving traffic?
  • Have you released your sites or niches to any 3rd party that might be causing you problems?  (While we think it’s unlikely your AdSense account would be disabled due to linkbuilding, it does seem likely if that linkbuilding has become a significant source of traffic for you)
  • Have you had any major disagreements or run-ins with competitors in any of your niches?  Have you had documented communication with them?
  • Have any of your sites been linked to or mentioned online, especially in any internet marketing communities?  (Try searching for your URL to find any mentions on blogs, forums, etc.)  Did any significant traffic come through that link?

You need to document anything out of the ordinary from the above questions and prepare your message to the Google AdSense team.  I would attempt something like this:

  • State your name, account, and the length of time you’ve been an AdSense publisher
  • Explain briefly the events leading up to and after the banning of your AdSense account.
  • Keep it brief and factual.
  • Explain clearly the steps you took after learning your AdSense account was disabled, including any answers you have to the questions above and any thoughts you have about why this might have happened.
  • Your call to action: State that you would like your AdSense account disabling to be reviewed and your account reinstated.
  • Include a mention about how it is your intention to provide their advertisers the best, most-targeted leads and conversions possible and you will abide by the AdSense ToS in the future.

AdSense Alternative Do's And Don'ts

  • Be brief Keep it factual
  • Lay out your best guess as to why this has ocurred
  • Ask for the account to be reinstated


  •  Use emotional appeals, be passive aggressive, or be disparaging in any way towards Google or the AdSense program
  • Write a novel (Ok, I know I tend to be a bit wordy, but I would cut this down so that it actually gets read by someone on the AdSense team)
  • Be dishonest (Google knows a TON about you.  If they find you being less than truthful about anything, why would they believe anything else you have to say?)

While there are instances where these appeals have been approved (link to a pretty random approval story here), it seems more likely that the appeal will be denied.  If you’re an experienced publisher and know what you’re doing with AdSense, you may consider appealing again after the first was denied, but Google does state pretty clearly that the first appeal is the only one they guarantee to consider.

Step 2: Remove And Replace with AdSense Alternatives

Alternatives to AdSenseWhile AdSense is well known to be the best when it comes to set-and-forget advertising on your site, there are other AdSense alternatives you can consider signing up for.

We mentioned a few of the different alternatives to AdSense here, but the companies I think we would setup immediately would be a combination of Media Net and InfoLinks.

While there are some less than exciting reviews about Media Net, I’ve also seen some from people I trust stating it’s a viable alternative.  The InfoLinks would serve as a top-up option for us, hopefully helping to earn a bit more to help close the gap between Media Net and AdSense.

Unfortunately, Media Net is not nearly as large as AdSense and doesn’t have near the number of advertisers, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the ads aren’t as closely contextually targeted as some of our AdSense ads have been.

We would rank our sites highest to lowest in terms of AdSense earnings, Pageviews, and recency of creation and start going down the list.  Our thought is that we would switch out the monetization from AdSense to Media Net and Infolinks for:

  • The top 50% of site earners
  • The top 50% of pageviews (any that weren’t included in the top earners)
  • All sites less than 3 months old (any not included in the first two points)

We’d be hopeful to recover 50%+ of our earnings and relatively happy if we were able to recover 70%+ because we think it very likely that, across the board, we wouldn’t make nearly as much as we were making with AdSense directly.  A silver lining might be that a changed monetization strategy might actually improve the earnings on a few individual sites, even if the average earnings across the board went down.

Step 3: Research Improved Monetization Options

Some of our fellow bloggers remind us regularly that AdSense is not the only game in town and that there are plenty of alternatives outside of AdSense itself.  Some of our sites lend themselves well to affiliate offers through Amazon, Commission Junction, etc.  Other somewhat informational sites might be better monetized through a Clickbank info product.  Here’s what we would do:

Targeting the same qualifications listed in Step 2, Joe and I would go down the list, looking for the most closely matched affiliate offers we could find.  We’d split up the work…one of us would take Amazon, another would take Clickbank, and a third would go after smaller or more specific affiliates.

We’d lay out the best options from all three in a spreadsheet first and then pick the one that’s most closely related to the niche sites we have.  This would be a ton of work and might end up taking several weeks to complete with everything else we have going on.  That’s ok…we’d like to give a bit of time to review the results from Step 2.

Step 4: Decide And Make Changes To Individual Site Monetization

About two months after switching to Media.net and InfoLinks, we would review individual site performance and decide on a new monetization strategy for each niche site.  Any of the site we found to be earning MORE with Media Net and InfoLinks we would most likely leave alone.

With the rest, we would lay out our process for the switch and assign two-man teams of our Virtual Assistants to go through the site(Including one site-creation agent and one Content Manager), changing the monetization and content where necessary.  During this process, all new site creation would be put on hold while we make these changes to our sites.

I think it highly likely that some of these sites would ultimately see quite a bit of improvement individually and, potentially, we’d see a bump in income across the board.  We would take several weeks to implement and several months to review the success of this campaign.

Depending on how the sites have performed after the switch, we may make a few more adjustments to a few of the sites down the road on a case-by-case basis, depending on whether we thought there was enough value or ROI on it or not.  Tweaking our sites has not been a part of our process in the past and I’m hesitant to get into that game with the volume at which we’re creating sites, but if the returns with alternatives were worth it then this is something we’d be willing to add to the machine, of course.

Step 5: New AdSense Accounts Through New Companies

New CorporationI’m hesitant to give this advice, as I’m not entirely sure what the rules are here with AdSense(If you can point to reliable resources talking about this, please let us know…but make sure you’re referencing and that it’s not only opinion!)  My understanding is that once you’ve had an AdSense account disabled, you are no longer allowed to participate in the AdSense program.

In our case, that would mean our corporation would no longer be able to participate.  Since businesses are viewed as entities (wouldn’t they be in this case?) I can’t see why creating a new company would not be viewed as its own, separate entity.

Our plan would be to create two completely separate corporations or LLC’s.  These would most likely be based in separate parts of the country (world?) and would have everything separate.  (Including addresses, bank accounts, incorporators, Google accounts, pen names, etc.)  Nothing would be attached or connected with these separate companies and we would most likely be forced to be a bit more vague with our income reports, case studies, etc.

With the first company, we would setup an AdSense account.  Once approved, we would go through each of the sites that fit the qualifications in Step 2 and that have NOT been improved in terms of earnings for Step 3 and Step 4 and add our AdSense account to those sites.  We would monitor them regularly to determine their success and the viability of this plan laid out in Step 5.

With the second company, we would wait and, should something not work out with our account with the first company, we would use the second company to only build out new niche websites that have no attachment to our previous sites.  We would continue to build out our niche sites with this account, but it’s likely that our process would change dramatically and we would include considerably more randomness to the process to better protect our investments.

Lastly, I’d mention that this is probably not a strategy many publishers could or should consider.  If you’re only making a few hundred per month, you have to consider a good amount of time, effort, energy, and money would have to go into a plan like this…and it simply might not be worth it

If you’re at our income level or Spencer’s, the lost revenue is significant and well worth a detailed and costly adjustment to recover that lost revenue.  I’m not sure what the legality or rules are with this step, I’m reserving the right to edit, modify, or remove Step 5 in the plan as I find out more information about its viability!

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While this plan would help us to mitigate our AdSense revenue losses and explore alternatives to Google AdSense, we’re unsure as to what this would do to site sales, our multiple, etc.  Some of the benefits to selling AdSense sites include:

  • A platform that is widely recognized and used – There are tons of people that are AdSense publishers and it’s relatively easy to sign up for an account, as opposed to some alternatives.
  • Using monetization methods that are less well-known would limit our buyer pool to some degree.
  • Lower end of the monetization spectrum allows for easy improvements and improved ROI – As it stands, all of our sites are built and monetized on the AdSense platform, allowing the buyers to explore other forms of monetization including Amazon, info products, drop-shipping, etc.
  •  If we explore and monetize with those other options we’re leaving less upside to buyers.
  • We may be earning more per site, but we may see a drop in multiples on the sales because of this.
  • A much more trusted platform – If some of our sites are on some less well-known affiliate platform, it may be harder to trust the data coming from that platform or the affiliate company we’re using overall.  What if they were to close up shop or end their affiliate offer?
  • This is less of a concern with Amazon and the like, but definitely something to consider if we’re using the smaller, niche-specific affiliates.

This is a very disturbing topic to discuss to say the least.  I have to say that, knowing this is currently something Spencer’s going through, I now can see how frustrating this must be for those who were legitimately playing by the rules as they understood them. (If you get a chance, do stop by his site to offer some encouragement or advice for alternate strategies away from AdSense.)

I do sincerely hope this is not something we have to ever go through, but I’d like to have a disaster plan in place we can follow if this happens to us.

We hope you found some tips and tricks here that will help you and your business.  As always, we’ve taken a no-holds-barred approach with this post, knowing that the learning we get from this is invaluable and hoping our honest assessment and gameplan will be useful to anyone else who reads this.

We empathize with many of those who have lost their AdSense accounts over the last few weeks and months and particularly with our friend Spencer who has provided a wealth of information on his site, through email and Skype, etc.

Have anything you’d like to add? Any AdSense alternatives we haven’t considered? We’d be particularly interested in a critique of our plan and your thoughts on how we could improve itLet us know in the comments below!

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  1. megabiz says:

    Nice post shared man i really like it doing good job thank you for sharing good job.

  2. Ashley Jones says:

    Google adsense is one of the best money making program, but not it is not secure. Other programs are securing then google adsense, so better is to use affiliate program, rather than adsense. I use most of Affiliate program.

  3. Brenda Smith says:

    Indeed a Great post.

    But according to me, none of the adsense alternative can give the revenue as much as Adsense can give. I haven’t tried all the above alternatives but I tried infolinks and I had worst experience with it. After having huge amount of traffic, I was able to make only 100-200$.

    Because my blog was banned by Adsense. If this wasn’t happened then that traffic can surely make around $2k+.

    That’s why infolinks is far away from Adsense in terms of generating revenue.

    BTW Thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. Tim Martine says:

    Last month I sign up for chitika publisher account. My two website were showing pending gold level application. But Now I am not able to signing in Chitika publisher Account. I don’t know why chitika not showing last 30 days my account update? What’s wrong with him.

  5. Sam Jackson says:

    Infolinks is a great alternative of Google Adsense. I’ve been using Infolinks for more than 4 months and it has generated me a very good earnings when my adsense account got banned. Thanks for sharing

  6. ravigupta says:

    I have only one word to say, WoW. I read the article and it create a hope in mind to get approved my adsense from google. what a awesome article to get a lot of traffic, But link building via posting on forums can be very time consuming and tedious, thank you for sharing. I have a lot of work you will find a lovely support.This post is very inspiring me. I always take your advices very seriously, keep posted.

  7. […] as a partner when it comes to AdSense. From shutting down your AdSense account to no real viable AdSense alternatives, it can be a bit scary building out AdSense sites and there are definitely […]

  8. […] the Internet Marketing space.  Between having AdSense accounts banned and being forced to look at AdSense alternatives and Google’s Penguin update that has upended many of the search results, there have been a […]

  9. RAVI V INGLE says:

    please someone tell how to approve my google adsense account…Google adsense shows me unapporved massage and told me that check your inbox about approval but I don’t have any email regarding to Google adsense…then how could I appoved google adsense if I have not any email of google adsense email?? Please help me..

  10. […] 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: […]

  11. kalusha says:

    Danke für den interesanten Beitrag,

    weitere Alternativen habe ich hier gefunden.



  12. Cristian Ionut Ilea says:

    cpcGalaxy.com is a good alternative for adsense. I use this and reward aproximately $20/day with a 800uv/day website. I recommend this!

  13. […] but it’s #3 and #4 that you should be concerned about as publishers.  While there are some AdSense alternatives, protecting your account should be a priority for AdSense publishers and recognizing a clickbomb […]

  14. DaveNL72 says:

    What about you start creating websites in topics that you know you have also a affiliated program for like CJ or Amazon… Because this crap is going to happen to all of us one day (just like mister death :) )

    That is what i do, i have minisites in all kinds niches that also have a decent amazon, CB or CJ backup… just in case Google comes with the ban-hammer.

  15. […] banned AdSense accounts. If you’re going this route, AdSenseFlippers have put together a helpful list of recommendations for the appeal process. Why Did This Happen To […]

  16. […] the guys at Adsenseflippers about their action plan if their account was to be closed (read – Adsense Alternative – The Disaster Plan) .  So first thing I did was go back and read that […]

  17. […] You can always appeal the ban, but don’t hold your breath – there aren’t a whole lot of success stories out there in regards to Google reactivating banned AdSense accounts. If you’re going this route, AdSenseFlippers have put together a helpful list of recommendations for the appeal process. […]

  18. […] similar monetization methods aren’t nearly as effective. We’ve written a post about AdSense alternatives and our disaster plan, were this to happen to […]

  19. […] engine keywords and traffic (a notable exception would be our discount on Long Tail Pro and our AdSense Alternatives post!) let’s take a look at how the search engine traffic to our site stacks […]

  20. […] You can also check out the exact “disaster plan” we have in place including an in-depth review of your AdSense Alternatives here. […]

  21. gibteam says:

    You know the other funny thing? About half a dozen of my sites have been hacked and the adsense code changed. The dirty rotten hacker thiefs account is not banned even though it’s using my supposedly low quality sites!!

    You guys have got it right. Build them and sell them. Do not become reliant on the actual adsense income.

    • Wow sorry to hear that. I use a monitoring program to make sure none of of codes get changed. Something we should probably blog about — security.

      Do you know how it happened?

      • gibteam says:

        I use the login lock plugin to enforce password protocols, lock down the site against the IP address after 2 failed login attempts for at least 5 days, my usernames are random generated to the max characters wordpress will allow, passwords are also random generated at least 21 characters. I get at least a dozen email alerts of failed hack attempts per day. I’ve even recognise the IP addresses of the good hackers. Khazakstan guy and Thailand guy are pretty good. Forced me to change usernames a couple of times.

    • Bill says:

      I had a guy managing my adsense to wordpress setup. We had a falling out and i find when i logged in hes used my codes on his site to give them a look that they are functioning adsense sites!! As i understand he had no AS account as he was banned so uses mine and wants to perhaps show stats using my account!!

      IM TRYING TO STOP HIM but cant contact him and dont want to.

      Meanwhile im getting clicks but i fear anything even click bombing.

      Ive tried to post something in google adsense forum and get answers i dont know how to

      1. ban his site from my adsense code (ive typed his URL into my adsense page and its not blocking it where you ban the URL) – STILL GETTING CLICK COUNTS

      how do you get another site that has your code to be blocked?

      • Use the authorized sites feature in AdSense. It’s available under settings. Only domains you enter will be able to use your codes.

        • zorzan01 says:

          My previous post (Bill above)

          Cheers mate. I check that after your much appreciated reply.

          Theres some interesting stuff coming out with plugins and im sure as more dust settles demand will dictate various products to replace adsense for those affected.

          this looks interesting
          finds relevant clickbank ads and you select a bunch and it displays them in your posts.

          • zorzan01 says:

            Duh… i just checked into my long since unused clickbank account and found that CB has a ad builder that produces a range of Google Adsense looking adverts for its products. You just search by the KW and click the style of advert you want. Great tool!

          • Yeah, it’s very easy. Still at scale, AdSense is easier because you don’t need to be so specific. You slap on the code and Google figures it out. I wish CB could do that.

          • regb1970 says:

            The hoplink builder works perfectly. Its rotating through adverts and 4 out of 4 adverts are clickbank products (Product v specific keyword ) and related to the keyword topic of the site. Targetted enough for me. Nicely places in areas i want on the site.

            There are no non relevant kw appearing on my adverts for clickbank.

  22. gibteam says:

    Well google banned me today. I think I’ll transfer the top earners across to the girlfriend and start to sell them off.

    4 years on line and I thought I was one of the good guys. Never had a site de indexed, wasn’t affected by any of the algorithm changes so I thought I was doing the right thing…. until the 19th of April then sites started to drop in rankings. About 2 weeks ago had a couple of sites de-indexed and now google adsense banned. 4 years and and about $5k to try and build an online business and now I’m just looking at the ashes.

    Oh well.

    • Any messages in Webmaster Tools?

      • gibteam says:

        I’ve only had one message about site quality in WMT and that was to tell me a clickbank site was being deindexed. I had 2 adsense sites deindexed a week or so ago but they werent on WMT. They were older sites I purchased in dec. I think they were hit because of some old serp checker plugin the previous owner installed. As they were long term pr3 I was probably a bit lazy in thinking they were therefore set up as per googles t&c’s. But I removed the plugin and disabled adsense serving about 24 hrs before the adsense acc was killed. Maybe it was.those but really its only guessing. I’ll review each site against the t&c’s as I push them to the girlfriend pull a month or 2 of income and start selling them out.

        • The SERP checker sound like it. Google probably picked up on the traffic coming from the same IP as your site and thought you were trying to do something funny. It’s too bad they don’t have a better appeals process.

          • gibteam says:

            Yeah probably. And if google had banned an individual site(s) I would of jumped and removed adsense, reviewed the site against the guidelines and then decided whether to resubmit.

            As it stands if I ‘fix’ these sites then google may have actually pinged other sites instead or as well. Given the heavy handed approach is their preferred model as it’s more cost effective I would assume if I put in a scaled down list of only the best and most compliant sites then google will just turn around and assume that as soon as I am reinstated I will put the other sites back on. Of course it’s more cost effective for them to chop the tree down than to trim the branches.So I won’t bother to appeal.

            You’ve mentioned before that you still buy into googles early mantra of ‘do no evil’. As a public company they are at best amoral. Their primary loyalty is to the shareholders, any benefit to the searches and users of their other products is a byproduct of that and you, me and anybody else making money through the google platform is an inconvenient (and probably temporary) tool.

            Are you guys sure that the oldest site in your portfolio is still 100% compliant? Your oldest, least important site that you’ve never got around to selling could get you banned. While the newer better quality sites that your currently building and concentrating on will be ignored.

            Since the ban I’ve had a dribble of income from clickbank and amazon – streams I wasn’t concentrating on. I regret that now as I might have only lost a third of my income.

            lol My bleat of the day because I’m still pulling together a priorty action list rather than doing stuff.

          • I do question the “do no evil” mantra as stated above. However most of these policies we are seeing could be coming from one group or a small group of individuals. So we shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

            In general though, setting up the rules in such away that allows people to make money and then changing those rules on a whim, without explanation or recourse IS evil, IMHO.

  23. There is actually no such alternative to Adsense specially in a third world Asian countries.

    • Not sure what you mean Zeeshan, you should still be able to sign up for most of these programs in other countries.

      • Bill says:

        From what i guessZeeshan means in a lot less popular non english speaking countries the CPC returns are going to be low compared to the CPC of US based adsense..or theres not enough advert comp for targetted blogs. This is driven simply by economics where the bigger $1+ Cpc are a lot fewer…. But that doesnt mean you target locally…you Go where the fish are swimming. Just because you live in Pakistan doesnt restrict you from say getting a targetted campaign to the US.

        Alternative advertisers..i recently tried one where the clicks were averaged out and after many clicks i got around 1c a click! Many others dont offer cpc income but reasonable pay on sale which is a lot harder.

  24. JS says:

    Actually Ive seen some other forms of adverts
    plugins for clickbank and im sure shareasale etc will all start coming into form in the development of advert rotators that specifically target the pages relevant content much like adsense … so we shall wait and see.

    As they say. Every dog has its day!

  25. Matt Allen says:

    It’s never appropriate to plan for failure, however, planning for speedbumps in business is a smart process. Would you guys recommend testing different ad companies and “putting your eggs in more than just one basket” to diversify the income therefore making sure that IF one ad company blocked you, you would still have several backups?

  26. […] the Internet Marketing space.  Between having AdSense accounts banned and being forced to look at AdSense alternatives and Google’s Penguin update that has upended many of the search results, there have been a […]

  27. John Singer says:

    It had to happen. Hitlers reaction to the Google Penguin updates.

  28. John Singer says:

    Hey Guys .. i came accross this site (and its similar to many) but it just shows you the crap thats out there and the crap thats still not getting hit by google. This site has ZERO inforamtion yet has mixes of advertising streams including Google Adsense and was around 4th on my kw search. Now how come google isnt penalising the likes of this???
    You tell me what meaningful textural content is in there?

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey John,

      I definitely agree with you…there are plenty o crappy sites out there ranking for keywords they shouldn’t be ranking for. That was the case before the Penguin update, but there are lots of examples that have come up after. Will probably be some time tweaking after this last update on Google’s end…we’ve already seen that with a few of the more talked about searches.

  29. Bill Brothers says:

    This is completely bad PR for Google. It is a wake up call that Google is starting to dominate a lot of areas of the internet and control what can or cant been viewed. It therefore is the new “China” of cyberspace in terms of monitoring what goes on online and what can and cant be published.

    The fact Google penalises those that seemingly spend hard hours doing work on the area of the internet is an issue. It should be going with what is and adjusting its algorithms accordingly rather than trying to whack people and get them booted out.

    “it seems that many of them sincerely didn’t understand where it is they went wrong.” The fact of that statement Justin is concerning in that its a law unto its own.

    What the future holds is this:

    Currently we have one internet universe. Much similar to just having for arguments sake one planet – called Earth. We need to create more Mars, Plutos and other internet galaxies and Cloud computing should enable some separate of this. I think theres call for other internet planets to exist which enable the likes of google to be shut completely out. Another planet where there is no manipulation and control by corporates. This has worked well in the open source area where there are checks and balances although wikipedia isnt exactly a model to work on! Its been hijacked as well. There needs to be other internet “spaces” created much like running macs .. living in the mac world, breathing the mac world .. so you can say to Google .. sorry your not welcome here. I just see theres a way to do this and have a life online completely free of google.

    • Bill I absolutely agree with you. In fact, I think this behavior goes against Google’s mantra of “Do no evil”. How can they provide a means for people to create a business (AdSense) only to strike down that business without warning or explanation? It’s madness and it’s evil.

  30. Zari says:

    This happening to Spencer made it very, very real to me. I had 50 niche sites up and then got whacked March 16th along with many others. Sent two appeals – they denied the first, ignored the second. I had visions of the Google Bunch sitting around a big round table wearing evil grins as they waited to push the mass email button on the first big day of the sweep. Still, in the back of my mind, I thought just mayyyybe there was still a chance ..somehow, someway… if Spencer, you guys, Trent, etc were still up. And then… Spencer. I checked up on Adsense Flippers right away and I’m happy you guys are still in there and I hope it stays that way.

    Trying to monetize other ways is nothing if not discouraging at first but you live and learn. BidVertiser is a complete waste and Chitika is a wee bit better but not much. Kontera is good but, yes, Infolinks is better. Haven’t heard back from Media.net first but I’m hopeful. Reactivated an old Commission Junction account and added some nice affiliate ads to my sites. And, finally, I dusted off an old authority site I was ignoring (throughout what I can only call my “niche addiction”) and I’m giving it some love.

    Again, good luck to all.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Zari,

      Yes, having this happen to Spencer was very concerning for us, without a doubt. You still haven’t heard back from Media.net yet, eh? Interested to hear how that works out for you.

  31. Great post.

    I feel bad for those who get their accounts banned for no rhyme or reason – especially when you rely on that income. It’s like losing your 6-figure job overnight with no explanation and and the only contact you have with your boss who fired you is through email and with canned responses to put salt in the wound.

    I really hope an equal alternative comes out, that is just as good if not better. Google needs some real competition in this arena.

  32. […] myself losing my account (again)! But just in case, Spencer and J&J of the Adsense Flippers listed some few alternatives for Adsense. I think we should check those out just in case Google’s radar happen to scan our niche […]

  33. […] You can also check out the exact “disaster plan” we have in place including an in-depth review of your AdSense Alternatives here. […]

  34. Some other items to keep in mind is that in order for you to have gotten that
    Schmoogle madsense account, you also have/had 8( a Schmoogle mail account
    and possibly a Schmoogle webmaster account and a Schmoogle adwords
    account as well as a Schmoogle GooToob account or a Schmoogle plus or minus

    Wait until they start your comin after to shut those accounts down for
    what? Well anyone can 3 bomb your Schmoogle GooToob account
    with a community flag from the neighborhood GooToob watchdog who
    just may be a competitor of yours. WOosh all dem Vids you HAD,
    NADA, zilched, hasta luego’d muchacho. A lot of work just
    got cheech and chonged and went up in smoke.

    In other words spread out your vids elsewhere. Make your own VIds
    and buy software to embed our own vids. We do
    and are ecstatic to have made that move. Worth the initial cost
    with much more flexibility without a Schmoogle watermark Ad leak
    and much more monetization capability to boot.

    Use your own domain mail and disallow Schmoogle cookies
    in your browser(s). They are evil and soak all of these lil tidbits into
    their giant algorithm magnifier and out you come burnt to a crisp
    on one of their mailings for being flagged as an abuser for unknown reasons
    without any accountability by Schmoogle as to why. They grin evilly
    at anyone for even coming back and asking to be re-instated,
    Schmoogle smugness you might say.

    Their TOS says so that is why? Meaning if anyone reads this
    Schmoogle double speak, it is wide open in their favor as
    can be so that nobody can come back and legally attack them
    since you signed up and Ok’d their Schmoogle-ness.

    Break free now while you are seeing this then go ye and
    click on all kinds of Schmoogle ads to blowup someones account
    and watch them get banned because most likely that is what
    happened to YOU.

    Wow, did I just say that. NO. It is an accident I say,
    Dang now I will be banned here too…. Well so lon…to
    vrybod … Be of Lu ooh u …Dang it has hap …. blip…blip beeeeeeeep

    • JustinWCooke says:

      We definitely hear what you’re saying about using multiple, integrated Google products. But, for the most part, we find that HELPFUL and not harmful. As a general rule, we do our best to follow the guidelines Google has laid out and play by their rules the best we can.

      We definitely won’t ban you from here unless you really go off the deep end, start personally attacking us or our readers, etc. We’re pretty open to alternative points of view.

      Lastly – Love the “Salty Droid” reference at the end…funny stuff!

  35. Well done. Some partially good advice. Speaking as someone who would advice a much
    more thorough plan, I would suggest starting a migration plan as soon as possible. Waiting is not where you want to be. Again, speaking as someone who has been there and
    done that. Your “attempt” to get re-instated sorry to say unless you have a PHOTO of the accident isn’t going to fix the problem with Schmoogle. They are pretty contradictory in their own Schmoogle madsense approach to profiting in case nobody has noticed.

    Infolinks and Media.net are Great alternatives. A++ and they are easy to work with.

    If anyone goes down that road of deciding to open a business name and re-organize to
    keep that Schmoogle account, I would advise that you clear out of Schmoogle analytics too.

    THEY track the domain and IP’s of that domain and ATTACH it to the madsense account
    along with your Bank and phone numbers. If you approach any of the Schmoogle preset yet unknown levels that are not supposed to be approached in any Schmoogle algorithmically preset alert, you again will be getting that Account CLOSED notice without warning and may have to REPAY them if they feel like coming after you.
    I could go on in the number of ways Scmoogle WATCHES you and your computers. We really did not like that feeling and it felt as if we had all of our assets watched just for a madsense account.

    I would also HIGHLY recommend PiWik stats. They are as good if not better than Schmoogle and also FREE and supported quite nicely.

    If you don’t advertise THROUGH Schmoogle your account will sooner or later get obliterated and get deep 6’d. Bad news for some maybe BUT we have been seeing
    better than usual revenue once we have ESCAPED the mindset the Schmoogle is the end-all be-all.

    We have stopped providing them FREE ads in any of our postings about Schmoogle.
    They obviously don’t need the free-press for being evil which is again a tongue in cheek
    motto they ask others not too be in relation to user experience.

    Everyone trying to please Schmoogle as if they are a standard of internet service
    to follow when in fact by doing this, everyone is making them a default one
    without holding them accountable for WHY when accounts magically disappear
    with FUNDS in them.

    Sorry to be of such windage here but perhaps this will be of use.
    It is most certainly not a scare tactic. There are even businesses popping up to
    assist you in your Schmoogle demise. It’s a real Xfile conspiracy for sure.

    Free your MINDS and your butt will follow is out motto.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey there,

      Some interesting advice and very topical, but I do think you have your tin hat on a little TOO tight! :-) Just teasing, but I do think it’s a little over-dramatic. Ultimately, we still believe AdSense to be a good program. If we WERE to have our account disabled, I don’t think our thoughts there would change…even though we’d be obviously frustrated with what happened.

      While I do wish there was more competition for search engines…nobody is forcing anyone to use Google. You don’t HAVE to even allow your sites to get indexed by Google if you don’t want to. Still…that’s where the traffic is…

      • Samuel Maxwell says:

        Interesting. I received a PDF of this website along with a few screen caps
        from a friend and come back after reading his remarks to provide
        some backup in the regard to his posting only to find a censoring and deletion it appears to his remarks
        Hmmm,,,,who is not factual here and who is a feeding a troll?

        I would suggest you stop censoring here among other things that
        I have read.

  36. Has anyone thought that the bannings around the place could be a result of use of systems like BuildMyRank?

    Given their mass de-indexing of BMR and others I wouldn’t put it past google to pass on this information to the Adsense team (or for the adsense teams to actively seek it) as it could easily be said this is a source of invalid clicks and boom, banned.

    Does anyone who’s having problems not use BMR/others in the past?

    • We always thought that the AdSense and search teams do not share data to make these types of decisions. But who knows. However, why ban your AdSense account? Why not penalize the sites and take away your traffic? Without a real explanation, we’ll never know and that’s half the problem.

      Come on Google, give us some feedback!

  37. Alex says:


    I was building also micro niche sites, monetize with AdSense and sell afterwards on Flippa, of course my volume of created sites was way lower than yours. Suddenly, one morning BANG…the AdSense email came: You’re out and we will not tell you why…just the same you posses a risk bla-bla-bla.

    I tell you, building websites with only AdSense income in mind it’s a big mistake now. Soon or later they close any account that has high CTR and is made only for AdSense.

    Now I’ve learned my lesson and move forward.


    • JustinWCooke says:

      Wow, Alex…

      I remember emailing back and forth with you quite a while back and you seemed to be doing quite well.

      Let me ask you…what route did you take after it happened? Have you changed the monetization on those sites or did you just start fresh? Please let us know…I’m sure plenty of other readers would be interested in this as well.

      • Alex says:

        Hi Justin,

        Yes, indeed…everything gone pretty well for me. The first step was to fill a appeal to reconsideration, but with no results. I think that Google started to take all this stuff with banning the publishers all over the place too easy. I mean, they should at least have the good sense of tell us the reason of being disabled.

        I’ll be completely honest with you and tell you that after first step, I’ve applied to a brand new business account, because I didn’t want to lose all my AdSense sites. My account was approved and now I’m in the process to sell all of them.

        The third step was the launching of 3 authority websites that will not have AdSense as monetization method. I use now Amazon, CJ, ShareASale and LinkShare.

        I was very disappointed because I’ve invested a lot of money and time in this project. But, as others previously stated, I’m ready to move forward and apply what I’ve learned from this endeavor.

        I wish you guys all the success!

  38. Hey Justin, thanks for the highly detailed thoughts on getting (mysteriously) banned by Adsense.

    These are the exact horror stories I always talk about when people start talking about using Adsense but I haven’t experienced that myself yet.

    It seems that anyone starting from zero should actually READ the terms of service and all the print involved to not risk their accounts.

    Might have to do some research to make sure I’m doing things right as well, thanks!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      No problem, Sergio…hope it’s helpful.

      We haven’t experienced it either, but if it can happen to Spencer…

      It’s definitely important to understand what you’re getting into with AdSense. We’ve heard from a ton of people that didn’t really understand it. They started when they were in high school or college, asked friends to click on their ads, got banned, etc…ugh.

  39. Recklesstex says:

    The take-away here is easy. Don’t place your entire business model in the hands of an entity that can take it away at a moment’s notice.

    Yeeehaw, quit your full time job and move to the beach and build Adsense sites! Ooops…2 yrs later after thousands of hours of blood, sweat and tears work, Google decides that I’ve done SOMETHING wrong…but they don’t even warn me and tell me what it is. My account is banned…all my work down the drain…zero income the next day.

    Uhhhh, no thanks…I’ve got kids to feed. You’d be downright crazy to base your business on Adsense after what I just saw happen to Spencer and others. These are people’s lives and livelihoods they are messing with here. Hell no.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey there…thanks for the comment.

      I think it’s better to think of niche sites (AdSense-monetized or otherwise) as investments…risky investments, at that. You have the opportunity to realize a fantastic return…or your investments can come crashing down around you. Most don’t quit their jobs to get into investing full-time…definitely not without alternative streams of income. We have our outsourcing company still going strong that still “pays the bills” and lets us explore this side-venture, although this has been earning quite a bit for us the last several months.

      I would say that these “investments” are slightly better than traditional risky investments in that you have SOME actual control over what happens…there is some risk mitigation you can do, of course.

  40. I want to thank you for this post. I logged into my account shortly after reading this article to find some very weird activity in my adsense account. I had 7 clicks on 2 page views from a visitor in Yemen. That equated to a 350% page CTR. I reported it to Google through the link you provided. I’m not saying the clicks were invalid, but I have never gotten that kind of CTR in several years of using adsense. Better safe than sorry, thanks for the link…

    Dr. Rod

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Really strange clicks there, for sure.

      We’ll see some odd click activity every once in a while, but Google seems to be pretty good at catching those and discounting the clicks or even taking them away…usually within an hour.

      Also, you’ll see a difference between what your reports say you earned monthly and what you’re actually paid out. That has to do with discounts on the advertising end, their removal of suspicious clicks, etc. Sometimes we earn more, sometimes less, etc.

  41. John Fuller says:

    Why wait for a disaster to hit? Start implementing alternatives now. All the places I started out with for building niche sites have had a focus on Affiliate sales. I understand that keyword research is more difficult for affiliate products, but that just means you have to work a little harder. You might even find that you are missing out on higher returns by not doing more experimentation with aff sales.

    Take a look at Prosperent. These guys have created a feed (API) which includes all the products that you would find at places such as CJ and a bunch of others. They list on their site that their feed has something like 50 million products. They also have a bunch of different delivery options such as in content links, Adsense style ads and the raw API which you can do a lot with.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey John,


      This is one of those situations where I have to say it does sound like a good idea, but it’s a TON of work on my plate that I really don’t need right now. Of course, if FORCED into this situation I’d drop other lower priority projects to implement this…but unless it becomes a critical necessity, I’d rather not go through the hassle.

      There’s also this point: Right now, we sell sites with AdSense on them. It’s well known and there are a bunch of AdSense publishers…so our buyer pool is quite large.

      • John Fuller says:

        Sure, it isn’t a simple (or wise) decision to make a huge change to your business model right when it’s taking off. You also don’t know what sort of boneheaded things these other guys might have done that you don’t know about (or they didn’t even realize they did.)

        I took a look at your guide and it’s great. I’m going to try running some aff product sales based on that info. I will let you know how it turns out!

        By the way, if you ever plan to hit Dumaguete, then let me know and maybe we could grab a beer.

  42. […] And a link to a super “what to do if your AdSense account/s is/are banned by Google” post by the guys at AdSenseFlippers.com […]

  43. Hey Justin & Joe, tragic news about Spencer!

    You’ve gone to quite some lengths to put this post together. May I suggest you create a PDF doc or something along those lines and send it out to your list?

    I surely would find it very useful in future because there’s no doubt that this AdSense “closure” will be happening again and again. Would be very useful to be able to turn to a “how to list” of what to do should the question ever arise.

    Whatever you decide about that, thanks for sharing your insights!


    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey, Jo…yeah, just horrible.

      We sent an email out with a link to our email list. You think it would be better as a PDF?

      Here’s an interesting idea if anyone’s up for it:

      Create a document that has all of the posts and alternative options from a bunch of top IMers and AdSense users and put that together into one ebook. Make that the be-all, end-all for disabled AdSense Accounts. Continue to update it as more information comes in, some of it gets outdated, etc.

      • Yeah Justin, I got that link in the email you sent, but it struck me as soon as I started to read your post that its well worthy of “packaging and distributing” because its a super concise point to point. I’ve got so many bookmarked webpages that I’d much prefer to have this sort of info to hand on my desktop as a file – PDF would be good, yes.

        Good idea about the eBook too – no doubt that would make a very good seller indeed!


  44. Darryl says:

    There was this great case study of how this one web site did a great job leveraging an affiliate program. Perhaps that would be a great backup plan should adsense fail. Here is the link


    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Darryl,

      Thanks for pointing that out. It’s a really interesting site, there…definitely something to consider. I have to say that exploring Agoda’s program is something we’d definitely head towards were this to happen to us. We’d most likely be in clean-up mode at first, but it’s something we’d look at moving forward, for sure.

  45. Wow. Pretty scary stuff. I think the fact that google doesn’t reveal why they ban adsense accounts is what makes it so frightening. If it was just autobloggers and people engaging in a lot of spammy backlinking practices it wouldn’t be so bad, that’s one thing. Spencer on the other hand seemed to be very straight and narrow with his sites. What kind of risk mitigation have y’all done to try and reduce the likelihood of getting your account banned?

    I was just about to make a pretty big investment into automating my niche site process and I may hold off on that in favor of trying my luck at an authority site. Other than Pat Flynn’s site, what resources do y’all for building authority sites?

    Cheers and keep up the good work.


    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Taylor,

      I know that some of Spencer’s sites are pretty quality sites…horrible to see this happen. One thing that’s confusing is that we’ll never know how our click-throughs are performing on the back end. Are they delivering value for the advertisers? If they are, everyone’s happy. If not, the advertisers won’t be too happy and Google will move to protect their interests…Google’s AdWords/AdSense program’s success is tied to their advertisers, not their publishers, unfortunately.

  46. Taylor says:

    I’m surprised they closed down all 4 of his separate business accounts with separate hosting accounts all at the same time. I thought that would help protect the others in case of a ban. Guess not.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Taylor,

      I’m sure that’s what he was thinking as well and a major reason as to why he had multiple accounts. It’s really hard to say why this happened…we’ll just never really know, unfortunately.

  47. […] about what is happening.  All we hear from Google is silence, which is a statement in itself.  AdsenseFlippers.com posted an article this morning after hearing the news from Spencer, discussing the “Disaster […]

  48. Yohan Miller says:

    Hey, I’m new to AdsenseFlippers and these are scary insights you posted there.

    I do Adsense for more than 2 years now, with over ~270 domains hosted at via 1 Adsense account I manage to make avg. of 4500$/month.

    I got few questions you mind sharing your insights:
    1. How many website do AdsenseFlippers host per single account? (couldn’t find the number, only share if it’s a not a big secret)
    2. How many domains is a healthy portion per account?
    3. Isn’t MFA against ToS? Although it makes Google money I feel myself I’m doing MFA and it is against ToS.
    4. Does Google Analytics has to do with anything? (A while ago I read about bad things might happen with the data sharing) Could it be related somehow?

    You’re doing a great job, keep it up.


    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Yohan!

      Definitely something that’s concerning for many of us.

      1. We used to do 200, but have narrowed that down significantly now.
      2. That’s really hard to say…we’re at less than 50 per hosting account.
      3. Creating niche sites that provide value for the users/searchers and monetizing them with AdSense is definitely NOT against ToS. Traditionally, MFA is reserved for sites that have no unique content and are full of advertisements only. I’d say this is expanded to sites with horrible content with no actual value to the user, but I would not use this to describe the types of sites we build currently.
      4. I doubt it. Your AdSense account is all over every one of your sites. They don’t need Analytics to find you. (Although there is a question as to whether Google uses Analytics to track what’s happening on your sites and that they may make changes based on this information. Not sure there…)

      Hope that helps!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Todd,

      I’ve definitely seen that video, along with the posts he mentions in the video as well. The post particularly goes into larger brands building micro-sites and argues that it ends up diluting their brand and that it’s more effective to build out the larger site under one brand. Matt basically covers this as well…

      They both argue that developing a TON of sites means you won’t have the time to put the love and polish on individual sites. I somewhat agree with this…but if you have the ability to build a large team, putting love into each and every site you have, I think that would work. That’s NOT what we’re doing now, but definitely something we could do in the future.

      • Rio Jace says:

        Hey justin, do you mind sharing the url of the post?

        I feel sorry for Spencer too, and can somehow attribute the ban to Matt Cutts’ statement, although my first thought was someone got jealous of him making tons of money, uncovered his sites and clicked on the ads with the intention of getting him banned.

        Your sites I think are in some way shielded by the fact that you have a large team and so Google considers them justifiably being well-attended to. I would, however, advise you to begin this early in your game to place a percentage of your sites on some other ppc services rather than wait for the shock of your life to come. I imagine it’s harder to sell your sites if you’ve just got banned on adsense.

        • Rio Jace says:

          I just got this thought: What would happen if someone decides to discover and click on your sites’ ads with the same evil intention I described? (I certainly hope this doesn’t happen, sorry for bringing it up – but I just find it wise to not count it off as a possibility).

          In such a scenario, I don’t imagine Google saying, “Oh, I understand you’re not the one who made those invalid clicks. We’ll just continue make the effort to track those invalid clicks and return some of the money to the advertisers every month.” Your fault or not, they’ll ban you just to keep their business afloat (Spencer and the others are living proof of this) — since they know that other publishers can easily replace you but advertisers, once they’re disappointed, will be hard to get back.

          When I make niche sites, I sometimes feel a bit paranoid about having someone write my articles or hiring a VA to build them. Writers can easily search their work on Google and discover the niche sites they’re placed on. Former employees, writers and Fiverrs that you hire to build backlinks all have knowledge of your niche sites – and have the ability to sabotage your business so I know it’s not impossible, especially when jealous or mean people are around.

          And the way Google is showing us how extremely sensitive they are, I feel like we’re really building shacks on the sand, as one comment said. Adsense is not forever.

  49. todd32 says:

    Hi Justin. I guess I would go over the adsense TOS with a fine tooth comb. If you have any questions whatsoever, I would try and clear them up with the Google and document it. I thought awhile back a Google rep visited with you guys and pretty much gave you the thumbs up.? I feel that maybe they are lumping adsense sites together. The good and bad.

    If your sites have good original content you shouldn’t have a problem unless your ads are placed against TOS. I have several sites but I do combine adsense and amazon or other affiliate offers on my sites. That may or may not have anything to do with it. I have not been banned yet.

    Would they possibly be targeting site owners with the same common WP theme? Doubtful. I have a hunch that it has to do with backlinking/traffic campaign or possibly the bounce rate ( which I totally disagree with the logic)

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Todd,

      We did meet with an AdSense rep about a year ago and we did get the thumbs-up at that point…but the AdSense landscape definitely appears to be changing. Only time will tell what that means for us, but I’m hopeful we’ll pull through. We’d much rather stick with AdSense, but would make any necessary changes depending on how this plays out, of course.

      No idea if it has anything to do with the theme or bounce rate…nobody does, unfortunately. I don’t THINK so…I think it had to do with the AdSense team and not the Search Quality team…otherwise he would have seen problems with his sites and not AdSense accounts…but that’s a guess on my part…I really don’t know.

  50. Spencer Haws says:

    Thanks for the encouraging words; it does indeed hurt pretty bad to have my adsense account shut down. Looks like you have a good plan in case it happens to you as well (which I sincerely hope does not). I have already started implementing Kontera and Info Links on my sites. I also have an application in to Media.net that should be approved this week. I likely will do something similar to your step 5 (new entity). For a few hundred dollars I can essentially do this, and recover some of the income from my higher earning sites at least. Anyway, thanks everyone for the support! I’ve had so much traffic to my site with well wishers that my server has been crashing! I’ve upgraded and should be back to normal very shortly…thanks!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Spencer,

      Sucks, man. I know you were probably freaking out a bit when this happened. As I just left in my comment on your blog, you’re diversified a bit which will help, of course…and you’re a sharp cookie…we know you’re going to turn this around.

      As one of your commenters said, your blog is about to get even MORE interesting as you look for new monetization streams! Really interested to see how this plays out.

      I have to say I really, really hope this doesn’t discourage you from giving out great information on your blog. Your information has been so helpful to so many people…I’d hate to see you get discouraged and have that go away.

    • Cloudventuresgroup says:

      The very best of luck Spencer.

      Youve helped loads of people get going in IM and Adsense sites. Im sure your future is solid and other monetisation methods will work well for you.

      Look forard to your blog post with higher earnings than you ever achieved with adsense.


  51. Cobwab says:

    My AdSense account was disabled. I didn’t know why. I emailed Google for an explanation and I wrote a snail mail letter to the then president of Google. Several weeks later I received an email from Google. My account would now be enabled if I removed the copyrighted material that was in one of my websites. I did that and followed Googles instructions and in a week or two my account was enabled and has been ok since then and I have over 60 wordpress websites.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Cobwab,

      Really interesting. Was your entire AdSense account disabled or JUST the ad serving on a particular website? Usually in situations like that it’s the website and not your entire AdSense account. I’ve seen others that have gone through a particular site that was having issues and they fixed it as well by removing the content they weren’t supposed to have.

  52. Luke Clark says:

    So basically, I’m going to start building sites that I know can be monetized by affiliate links. I’ve built many product-based sites, but now I will lean my focus towards them further.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Luke,

      I think it’s good to hedge your bets that way, definitely. Still…it takes some work to turn an AdSense site into an affiliate site as Spencer mentioned in his post…even moreso if you’re not targeting great KW’s for affiliate sales. You’re right in that if you pick niches from the start that are better for a conversion you’ll be in better shape.

  53. Dave L says:

    I understand different groups are afoot to create different “galaxies” within the internet. Whilst competition may sound good and many are away the Google galaxy is just too dominant… you only have to see the terrible CPC payouts to know the competition (or lack of it) is keep the CPC figure high. Google is getting too strong. Its not what the internet was about or intended to be from the beginning where an organisation yields so much power.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Dave,

      That sounds nice, but unless another search engine (Bing…you there?) steps it up and gains market share, there’s not much we can do about it, unfortunately. I do believe Google’s a good company, but this is pretty terrible news, for sure.

  54. Zack says:

    This is scary. I have over 150 niche sites in my account and all my sites just got penalized yesterday. They’re still indexed though. My adsense account is still not banned yet I’m wondering if I should just remove everything and start fresh. Spencer said accounts with ‘too many sites’ might be at risk… How many sites do you guys have in your account?

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Zack,

      Any comments about what happened to Spencer is pure speculation…nobody knows for sure, including Spencer. We’ve had sites penalized as well, but haven’t had any problems with our AdSense account yet. Earnings are a bit low today starting off, but we just sold/transferred a bunch of sites…remains to be seen whether anything’s really off or not.

  55. Dave L says:

    I was using Longtail pro and kept getting banned from the google keyword tool. It was Fkn crazy dealing with Google and trying to work out why. When you get banned and in this situation you then get a reality check how Google work and how you just feel like a pawn in the whole game and powerless to do anything. What they say goes.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Google doesn’t like it when tools are consistently hammering their site with queries. Were you running a TON of queries with Google with LTP? Usually, that type of ban lasts 24-48 hours and prevents you from running queries on their search engine…it doesn’t last long and is only meant to keep you from hammering their servers.

  56. Paultibrown says:

    Great post.

    I wonder if the ban was part of google’s seemingly new focus on site quality? If the bounce rate of a site is really low, but ctr is high, that is possibly instigating manual checks on sites.

    IMHO (from reading googles terms) building a site for Adsense is against their policy. The serps are flooded with these sites and I personally had 600 at one time, but I do think G is on a mission to clean things up so changed my business model. Scary times.

    Just my 2 cents! I’ve no evidence for any the above.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      I doubt they’re looking at every site that has a high bounce rate…especially if we’re talking about the AdSense team. My GUESS is that it had to do with the multiple accounts that Spencer had and not any particular problems with his sites. The worst thing, though, is that we’ll never know…Google’s not likely to tell him the reason for fear of revealing something they shouldn’t, of course.

      Building a site for users that you put AdSense on is definitely not against their ToS. Do you have a quote or link to back that up?

      • Paultibrown says:

        Hey Justin, thanks for the reply. You’ve misquoted me however. I said ‘…building a site for Adsense is against their policy” not ‘building a site for users that you put Adsense on…’

        Quite a difference ;-)

        I just feel google is really pushing for quality. We can see that from the crackdown on blog networks etc and for their changes in user generated rankings and signals.

        In my experience (I could be wrong and often am) I’ve never landed on a MFA and thought “wow, I’ll bookmark that or +1 it”

        All google wants from publishers is quality.

      • Justin, when that’s the ban reason they send you a different canned email to the one Spencer got.

        They have more than one ban-hammer email. I have seen a few.

  57. Steve Eason says:

    Excellent post. Thanks so much for your thoughts on an emergency plan. My business partner and I have been starting down this road of building up Adsense sites and seeing this happen certainly changes my approach and makes me consider moving to some of these alternative options. It would seem if one of them can get their ducks in a row and really provide an alternative option, they would see droves of IM’ers moving in that direction.

    It’s only a matter of time to see how this is all going to end up. Hopefully we won’t be affected in the same fashion, but it’s always best to be prepared in case it does.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      It is concerning, but AdSense is definitely still the best game in town…until it’s not! :-) We’re definitely hoping that the quality of sites we’re building will withstand these latest challenges. We continue to improve considerably from where we started…hoping we can continue to move forward and build better and better sites as time goes on.

  58. I remebered telling Spencer few weeks back to find alternatives that Google is so crazy and could ban is account anytime. It is now high time that someone out there creates something better than adsense i swear. Google is playing on people’s intelligence!

    So sorry for him though and i wish your acct is not banned as well.


    • JustinWCooke says:

      Google has such an overwhelmingly large brand that it’s easy for them to get the advertisers. Until/unless someone else finds a way to do that on a VERY large scale it’s unlikely to happen, I think.

      We like AdSense and think it’s a good program…but things like this are definitely concerning.

  59. Manny36632 says:

    Shame about Spencer. Hopefully the appeal goes his way. Seems like niche sites r a dying breed. Google doesnt want people clicking on crappy thin sites. Cant blame them – I hate such sites too. Well, this is whats bound to happen when you build shacks on quicksand!!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Manny,

      Many of Spencer’s sites were pretty decent sites, actually…not the kind of sites you would always bounce from, for sure. Some of our sites were quite horrible in the beginning, but we’ve gotten much better at creating sites with good content, that add value, etc. Many of ours do a pretty good job of answering the searcher’s query, but I still think we have a long way to go.

      I agree you shouldn’t build on quicksand…it’s better to be in this for the long-haul!

      • Audman says:

        My guess and question was if Spencer has used BMR on all of his banned sites. I was reading elsewhere that people might have only used it one time and got hit with the ban. So could it be possible that they just took all the links and traced back to the sites that used BMR and just banned them. And that could explain why so many dabblers got hit as well as the big guys who tried anything and everything that appeared borderline to white hat. Did adsenseflippers use this at any time. That would then debunk that whole theory. Just curious.

        • JustinWCooke says:

          We did use BMR for some of our sites. Some of those sites took a hit in the rankings while others remained unaffected. Researched it briefly looking for a pattern, but didn’t find one. Either way, didn’t lose our AdSense account due to BMR, for sure.

  60. Ray says:

    Thanks for the info, I really feel sorry for Spencer and anybody that made a living with adsense to lose there main source of income overnight. I certainly think G is deterring niche sites build for adsense and moving towards authority sites. Bad news I guess for all of us.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      That really sucks for Spencer. He’s awfully nice, shares a ton of info, etc. I really hope it doesn’t make him re-think his strategy when it comes to marketing his blog, giving away great information, etc.

  61. Mitch says:

    This is exactly the problem with the Adsense business model and why I personally have never built a bunch of these sites. I need to have control in my business and Google Adsense does not give me any control whatsoever.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Mitch,

      That’s awfully perceptive and forward-thinking on your part, but there are risks in any business or monetization strategy of course. We’ve owned several “traditional” businesses and we have a ton of worries/risks in those businesses as well.

    • Dave L. says:

      Mitch. As long as Google is around as a search engine .. you wont have much control fullstop. You then when you sort out one thing will have another issue that drops your rank etc.

      May i suggest just stop worrying about control and wantrapreneuring and start doing and just learn to be fluid and flexible to adapt quickly to an ever changing environment.

  62. Austin says:

    Have you used InfoLinks before? I had deployed it on some of my sites in addition to Adsense and the CPC was terrible. I was getting an average CPC of $0.03 and with Adsense it was closer to $1. I let it run for about a month with no improvements so I took it down. What was interested was the CTR for InfoLinks was roughly 10 times better than adsense. If only the CPC was better.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      We did trial Infolinks on a few sites and, if I remember right, had similar results. Ultimately, that would just be “filler” monetization until we could get the sites on something that was working effectively. Hopefully, it would help make up a LITTLE of the difference between Media.net and AdSense.

  63. William says:

    I would point out that a few times in your article you say, “legal” or “illegal” when referring to something regarding Google’s rules. Google is not the law. You can set up a second company and it may also be disabled but no laws have been broken. :-)

    I know you’re aware of that but it does go to show how scary Google is. They may be the best game in town for many things like AdSense but we should always keep in mind they’re still a mere corporation.

    I had my AdSense account disabled after they sent me an email stating that my website design didn’t clearly indicate that the ads were ads. I had a header, footer, and sidebar ad like pretty much every other site out there. And the site had been set up like that for years. We had no major earnings changes, no major changes in click-thrus, nothing. And nothing tricky was going on.

    After I received the notice I labeled all of the ads “Advertisement” just to satisfy Google and they disabled my account anyway and wouldn’t say why. To this day I have no idea what it was about the site that got my account disabled and I’ve submitted several appeals which they basically respond to by saying that once your account is disabled they can’t help you.

    While AdSense is good, as others you mentioned have pointed out, it’s one option. It took a bit of sweat and time but we eventually did replace AdSense ads with ads we sold directly to businesses that would benefit from highly targeted traffic. Overall, we now make about the same as we made with AdSense but we sell based on monthly sponsorships rather than click-thru’s.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey William!

      I didn’t actually say anything about it being “illegal”…but I was trying to point out that you should probably speak to a consultant, attorney, etc. and not take my word for it that there won’t be a problem. I also wanted to point out I’d pull that section if someone pointed me to a source showing this is clearly against ToS with Google.

      In general, I completely agree with you.

      Sorry to hear that your AdSense account was disabled as well, but it does sound like it’s worked out for you. We’d be really interested in any more thoughts you have about how you were able to mitigate your losses on AdSense with other networks. Wouldn’t it be quite difficult to setup a sales team for that? Ugh…I’m shuddering thinking about that…

  64. Dallasacu says:

    It looks like Backlinks kingdom has been de-indexed. That is just an article network, just like uaw.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      They are an article submission network like UAW or are they an article directory? I’d never heard of them before…

  65. Jerome says:

    Thanks for the heads up Justin.

    I read Spencers post and its really unfortunate. One guy asked if the penalty was not due to publicly declaring earnings…..Whats your thoughts on that?

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Jerome,

      It’s a fair question…we’re really not sure, but it definitely concerns us. I don’t “think” that’s the reason…there are plenty of people that publicly display their earnings reports. I think it might be because they tied together multiple businesses and the multiple AdSense accounts? Still…that wouldn’t account for the others that have had their AdSense accounts disabled, unless they were in the same boat. We’ll really never know…that’s the frustrating part.

  66. Vin D'Eletto says:

    I read the niche pursuits post today too. I don’t really understand why he doesn’t just get another Tax ID or LLC. Yes, I can see how it may get frustrating to have to start a new company every time you get banned from Adsense. However, it could just become a process like everything else. Form an LLC > Build Sites > Monetize with Adsense > Switch Over to Medianet if Banned > Repeat.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      I definitely hear what you’re saying. Still…if this were to happen ever 4-6 months or so (IF you get that long) you’d lose 1-2 months of earnings out of each 4-6 months of earnings. That would cut into your bottom line quite heavily, eh? Another option would be for him to sell his sites off. They’re still getting a ton of traffic….maybe someone else would be willing to take the risk with the sites?

      Also…it could be that Google detected he had multiple businesses with multiple AdSense accounts…maybe that was a problem?

      • Vin D'Eletto says:

        I’m pretty sure they have stated it’s OK to have multiple accounts as long as each has their own Tax ID. I’ll try to find the article for you.

        I guess, at this point, conjecture is going to be pointless. It’s time to test different things and see what works.

    • To be honest guys Google randomly disabled my account on the 13th of last month and I found out many people got disabled between that date and the 16th.

      Now the same thing happening again this month. I also found out that payments for previous month’s earnings are processed after the 16th.

      Isn’t that a bit suspicious? I think so, I feel they randomly disable accounts and make a killing. After I read a post by some guy who was making 125k a month and got banned after always receiving certificates from adsense I knew no one was and is safe from getting banned.

      What makes it worse is the fact that there is no customer service.

      I have an honest question, will this be the downfall in the long run of google? I mean if they start banning left and right and provide no customer service then if there are no publishers to advertise or they all get fed up I really believe what they are doing will really bit them in the A%^$ big time in the future.

  67. Adam says:

    Great timely, prompt, and insanely useful follow-up to Spencer’s shocking news. Really appreciate ya sharing this. It definitely seems like this is an orchestrated “attack” on niche sites — are you guys getting nervous? Or do you think it was something specific about Spencer’s sites?

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Adam,

      Definitely a bit nervous, but it’s really tough to say the reason. I’m as positive as I can be that Spencer wasn’t doing anything sketchy with his traffic, sites, etc.

      • Steve Eason says:

        I would even believe that it’s something that Google is doing as a targeted process to ‘clean house’. Scary as that is. I’m truly surprised at the number of people I’m hearing about having this same thing happen to them. It looks like Google doesn’t want IM’ers making them money anymore.

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