Wednesday, February 22, 2012

...But Everyone Else is Doing It!

Really? Everyone else is doing it, so it must be okay, right?

We see so many new publishers (and even some "older" publishers) giving this as an excuse for not following the Adsense Program Policies and Webmaster Guidelines.

Let me ask you something. When you tell your child to do something, you expect them to do it. You set up rules in your household that you expect the kids to follow. So when one of your kid's doesn't follow the rules, what do you think?  When your child says to you "everyone else is doing it, so why can't I?" what do you say?

If you are like most parents, you'll tell them that as parents it's your job to set the rules for your household, and your job to make sure they are followed. You probably don't care much what the rules are in other households, and you'll tell your kid's that you expect them to follow your rules, not someone else's.

Well then, what makes you publishers think that it's okay to follow what another website does, instead of following what Adsense tells you to do?

One of the recent posts in the Adsense forum is from an ex-publisher, who thinks that all ex-Adsense publishers should "band together and force Adsense to reform".  This isn't really anything new in the forum, we see similar posts regularly, but it is probably time to address this publicly.

Adsense has a contract with publishers - it's called the Terms of Service (which have previously been addressed here).  Publishers must agree to this contract before they can actually use Adsense. It's your responsibility as a publisher to understand that contract BEFORE you agree to it, and once you agree to it, it's your responsibility to uphold that contract, even if you don't like all the parts of it.

The person posting in the forum, replied with this statement:

If the contract was so one-sided and was designed to make the employee fail in their duties at some early stage, then of course. (of course the business should reform is what they mean).

In reply to that, I'd have to disagree. Based on principle. In fact, since the "employee" would have had to agree to that contract in order to be hired, the onus is on the employee. They can make their own decisions about whether they'll accept the contract or not, BEFORE getting into the "hired" stage.  Adsense is the same. You have the option when you get approved to agree to the contract, or not. That's your choice. If you choose to go forward, then you must choose to agree to abide by the contract, whether you like it or not.

People who don't read the contract and just agree to it, will find themselves having problems. It is our responsibility as publishers to make our own choices and decisions. I personally read all Terms of any site I sign up at, and there have been a few sites whose terms dissuaded me from going forward, because I couldn't live with the terms of their contract. That's my choice, the same as it's any publisher's choice. The options exist - you choose to abide by the contract, or you choose to not use the service.

People need to learn to become responsible for their own decisions at the time they make them, instead of complaining about what they signed "after-the-fact".

Not all of us actually like the Adsense terms, but many of us are only too aware of what they say, and what can happen based on those terms. Unlike a lot of others, I agreed to the terms knowing full well what they meant.

Businesses of all sorts work in a similar way. The business has the right to decide how they will run their business. I wouldn't much appreciate someone else telling me how to run my business, or what my contract should say. Neither, I'm sure, would many other businesses allow such a thing.

Another statement of note from the ex-publisher (and we also see this from many publishers who have been disabled) is that AdSense operates as a scam hiding behind a legit organisation for cover.

I don't think so.  I've had my Adsense account since late 2006, and haven't had any problems ever collecting my earnings - I am not a large publisher and don't earn mega amounts, but I get my check every time it's issued, without any problems. And I'm not a US citizen, nor do I live in the US. Many of our forum regulars live all over the world, and collect their earnings regularly too.

The difference between those who are able to keep their accounts long term and those who run afoul of the policies in their early stages is probably a lot simpler than some might think, and most of it is unrelated to being "click-bombed". The percentage of people who are innocent and actually do get click-bombed is extremely small (maybe as low as 3 or 4%, if that) compared to those who have solicited the click-bombing by joining click-rings.

- new publishers don't take time to understand the rules, not to the letter of the policies, nor to the "spirit" of the policies.  They are more interested in covering their sites with ads to "make money" than to "waste time" learning the ropes first. Nobody should ever rush headlong into something they don't understand. Far too many new publishers don't have any idea how to even edit a website, or place their code, let alone understand how Adsense works.

- new publishers want money, more than anything else and tend to run off slapping their sites on link exchanges, and traffic sites to get a boost in their traffic. Most of which are traffic sources that fall outside of the "okay" limit for Adsense. The traffic quality section has lots of information about how to increase your traffic levels appropriately, but I would guess that 90% of the new publishers have no clue it even exists, because of course they don't take time to read the information available. It's too much work to read all that stuff, so ... just put the ads on and hope to get rich.

- new publishers tend to follow what they see on other websites, and not what they do read (if they read it) in the policies. This is one of the biggest issues I've seen. "That site does it and gets a way with it (for a while), so I'll do the same. It must be okay."   Even if the policies say it isn't.  This is another area people must learn to take responsibility for their own choices. Adsense policies are written for a purpose; that purpose is so publishers know what you can and can't do. If you want to blindly follow another site without even knowing if they are doing the right thing, that's your problem.  

Personally, I believe I could make more money by doing things other than I am, however, from my standpoint if Adsense hasn't specifically said something is "okay and allowed" I'm not going to take any chances by doing it. If it specifically says it isn't okay, you can bet I won't do it, regardless of what any other website does.

And like many publishers (both active and disabled), they also think that there should be warnings rather than account dismissal for early "violations".

That would be nice.  BUT, Really. How many "warnings" does the law give before issuing a ticket for a traffic violation? Not too damn many, and they don't care if you are a new driver or not. They expect you to know the rules of the road. Ignorance is not a defense.

There are multiple warnings scattered throughout the Adsense Program Policies, and also in the Webmaster Guidelines. If people aren't going to take heed of THOSE warnings, then you begin to wonder if there is any point at all to issuing a warning. How many warnings to do people need?

The way I see it, if you're told not to touch the hot stove, you've been warned. If you touch it and get burned, then it's your own fault. You shouldn't need yet another warning. Pay attention to the warnings that exist throughout the Adsense Help Center files, and you shouldn't need a warning. For anything you don't really understand or aren't sure is okay, you can ask before you do it. That's called being "proactive" about your choices.

So are there problems for new publishers who sign up for Adsense? Yes, of course there are. Most of these problems could be resolved in the beginning if publishers took the time to understand how everything works before actually using the services.

What I see as inherently wrong with the Adsense recruitment methods is the lack of education BEFORE allowing a new publisher access to any Adsense ad codes.  New publishers should be required to attend an online webinar that explains all the policies in-depth, and then should have to complete a questionnaire without having any access to the answers from the help center. At that point, if they pass the "test" stage, they get access to their entire account and the codes. That way, people are educated before they jump in with both feet.  The publisher then becomes responsible for everything they do, and if they still fail, then nobody would be pointing any fingers at Adsense. Right?  Wrong. There are some people who will always try to avoid their own responsibility for failure. 

Like many of us who continue to use Adsense, I see things that should be changed. Things I'd like to see changed. But I don't run Adsense, and I don't get to make those decisions. My options are to continue to use it and suggest changes when we get a chance, and to stick to the rules as they stand now. 

I don't support all their decisions, but I support their right as a business to make the choices they make for their own business...whether I might like it or not is of little consequence. If I dislike it enough, I'll stop using it. For now, I've learned to live within their rules. I hope you'll take the time to learn how to do that too, before you need any "warning".


  1. Wow that was a great post Gracey! Excellent insight into why many publishers get disabled and go cry a stink on the forums. I totally agree with you, Most people are interested in earning a quick buck rather then learning the rules and adhering to the Adsense policies. Hopefully some new publishers will read this ( even old ones ) and a better understanding of things. Great post Gracey! cheers

  2. This post was really needed..people just ignore all guidelines and point to what others do..

  3. Hello Gracey
    I'm not reach $10 but google adsense says your pin is generated and will be mailed within 3-5 days from generated date
    Why google generated my pin without reaching 10$
    Shall i get any problems in future?

  4. Hello sai - that is unusual, but I have seen it happen from time to time.

    I also haven't noticed anyone saying that it caused any problems for them.

  5. I am a Adsense publisher and been using it past 2 years.I am happy with my earning but i want to increase my earning further.Can you suggest me some other PPC programs with which i can add adsense and the other PPC to increase my earning...I heard Infolinks is best to work with Adsense.Please do let me know

  6. Hi "song"

    InfoLinks is a good choice to use with Adsense if you have a lot of written work (text) in your sites. InfoLinks puts "links" on some of your text, and doesn't display banner ads like Adsense does.

    If you are looking for other banner-type ads, there are many available. I don't really use other banners, but you could try Bidvertiser or Chitika, or just do a web search for "Adsense Alternatives".

  7. Hi Mrs. Gracey,

    as You are a top contributor in Adsense forum, I'd like to ask You (if You find little time) to try to find what could be the reason for disabling my Adsense account. Of course email I received was generic (account poses a risk of generating invalid activity). Of course the appeal answer was also generic. No, I won't apply for new account , as I don't depend on Adsense income, but just curious what was wrong. I thought everything was by the book (T&C) , but obviously not. I can provide You access to my servers logs or analytics account where I didn't find anything suspicious. If You are willing to take a quick look, I can provide You any information You need. If You come to some conclusion can You please email me to Thx.

  8. You have multiple violations from what I can see. For example, in the source code of this page, you still have adsense code, so there was adsense ads on this page - which would violate adsense policies. You may not place ads on a page with nothing but ads.

    And you don't seem to have a privacy policy, and there could be more violations than that. I haven't checked every page. I also don't know if that's the only site you had the ads on. I'm afraid there really isn't much we can do once your account is already disabled.

    I don't work for Adsense. I'm just another publisher.

  9. Thanks for looking at a site. Yes indeed I see that page now. It's the only one with no real content , but links. And the privacy policy was on that page , but obviously because of my fault was replaced with ad link.

    Once again, thank You for Your quick observations , I was just wondering what could be the problem. I'm not asking for reenabling Adsense, but couldn't figure out what was wrong.

    I know You're a publisher, but as Top contributor at least You gave me some directions what went wrong.



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