So yesterday around the supper hour I received a long distance phone call from an area code I didn't recognize. Generally, spam calls (ie: unsolicited sales calls from telemarketers) don't show an area code or telephone number on our call display, they simply show as "private". Normally, I tend not to answer calls if I don't recognize the number, but we're in a bit of a family situation right now where we might receive calls from health professionals and we might not recognize the number, so I answered the phone.
What exactly does this have to do with Adsense? It doesn't really relate "directly" to Adsense, but if you read on, you'll see that it might have an indirect affect on a site carrying AdSense ads. In my case, it probably wouldn't have affected my Adsense account since the site this call related to doesn't have Adsense on it, but yours might.
The caller on the other end of the line began by telling me they wanted to update my Google Business listing. Right away, I was hesitant about the call. I couldn't imagine Google calling me for a simple thing like updating my Google Places listing. If they wanted to do that, they'd more likely send me an email than make a phone call. The next thing he asked was my name, which I also found strange. Considering the fact that updating a Google Places business listing involves the business owner whose name is attached and listed along with the business information, Google would already know my name, so they'd either ask for me directly or ask if I was that person. They probably wouldn't ask what my name was. So far, two sentences into the conversation and I'm pretty sure I was not talking to anyone from Google Places.
Next the caller asked if I knew where my business site ranked when someone did a Google search for the type of services I provide. I indicated that I did in fact know, and since I am semi-retired and live in a small community and my site comes up fairly high in serps, it's placement was fine with me. Next he wondered if I knew where my site ranked on Bing and Yahoo, and other search engines and "bingo" ... I knew this was nobody from any Google services.
He asked me if I wanted to be removed from his call list since he didn't think he could help me. (Ha!)
I asked directly what his position in Google was, and he finally admitted he didn't work for Google, but (yeah, there is always a but isn't there?) they were "partners" with Google. Oh really?
My final words to the caller: Do NOT call me again.
So some of you might still be wondering how all this could possibly have any affect on your Adsense account. If you haven't figured out why this guy was calling me, I'll explain it.
A word of caution - if you get a call from "Google", you better make sure they really are from Google BEFORE you give them any information at all - and I do mean "any". Don't even give them your full name. And never buy any SEO services from a cold-caller without checking out their company and services before entering into any contract. This sort of thing is how scammers get your money, and how inexperienced AdSense publishers may have lost their accounts for generating invalid traffic or unauthorized methods of site promotion. Never let any SEO company promote your site unless you do your homework first, and know the methods they'll use are compatible with Adsense policies. Always be involved in the decision-making process; a good SEO company will involve you in everything they do for you, and won't charge an outrageous price for things you can learn yourself; they won't use automated methods for generating traffic; they won't spam forums, blogs or email with your site; they won't submit your site to link farms or link exchanges etc.
On a personal level - my opinion on this is simple. If they (SEO companies) can learn how to promote sites using only approved methods (no tricks, no blackhat), then so can I; and, so can you. Visit Webmaster Central to get help free - that's why the forum exists. Between Webmaster Tools help center and the Webmaster Central help forum, you can learn what you need to know to make good decisions for promotion of your own sites.