Sunday, August 14, 2016

Securing an AdSense Account

During the last couple of months we've seen a lot of confused people in the AdSense forum; people that can't login to their AdSense account, or their email address has been removed as a login, or they no longer appear to be an admin on their own account.  Some know their accounts have already been compromised or hacked by someone else, or an invited email address has removed them from their own accounts.

Most of this can be avoided by securing your account. C'mon people, we've talked about this before (more than once in fact), but it's still happening way too often. If you aren't vigilant, you can be locked out of your own AdSense account.

The truth is, this could happen to almost anyone, but using common sense and being aware of what the consequences are of the choices you make can help mitigate these issues.

Inviting Users to Your AdSense Account

This can be one of the easiest ways to jeopardize your account.  When this opportunity was released, it wasn't designed as a tool to put your account in danger, but it has become one of the ways people lose access or administration rights to their own account.

Many people invite other users - friends, family, co-workers, to use their AdSense account by inviting that user's email address and authorizing them to login to the account.

Once an invited user accepts the invitation and can login to YOUR AdSense account, you can change the user access level from a Standard User to an Administration Level User. It might surprise many publishers to know that a Standard user has almost as much access to various parts and functions of your AdSense account as an Administrator does. THIS puts your account at risk. Even a Standard user can change things within the account.

Standard user
Can view, edit, and manage any part of an account.
Can't see the list of users who have access to an account.
Can't see the "User management" page, which displays the users who have access to an account.
Can't give account access or change another user's access level.

Administrator
Can view, edit, and manage any part of an account.
Can see the list of users who have access to an account.
Can give account access or change another user's access level.

Giving both levels of users the ability to edit ANY part of the account doesn't make much sense to me, since any part of the account would include any part of the account an Administrator can access and edit as well, so if you can edit it, a user can edit it too.

The safest option is not to invite any other user to your account. And if you must, then NEVER give anyone else Administrator access to your account. Because if you do, then basically you are handing over your account to that other person. They can remove YOU as an Administrator, and remove you as a user, meaning you will not be able to access your own account.

And AdSense won't be able to help you. Note that right from the beginning when you invite a user AdSense warns you that you (the account owner) are solely responsible for whatever happens after that.
The account holder is solely responsible for the properties in the AdSense program and Administrators should exercise caution in granting users access to an account. All users added to an account must comply with the AdSense program policies.
That means if some user that you made an Admin takes over your account, you could be stuck in a very bad position - not being able to login, and losing access to whatever earnings you had. If a user has access to change anything in your account, they can change where the payment is sent too.

Be a smart publisher. Secure your account and never invite other users unless absolutely necessary. Even people you trust can be swayed by money. Friends you thought you could trust, might not be as trustworthy as you believe.

Only you can keep your account safe. Think long and hard before you decide whether adding users is absolutely necessary. Sometimes, the outcome really isn't worth it.

posted by J. Gracey Stinson

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