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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Where has all the advertising gone? The failure of sudden success

You may have noticed that around the middle of April, after a bit of a stretch of inactivity, I worked things over, created the comic archive, updated all my Google AdSense advertising blocks. After quite a while with no revenue from AdSense, the new adblocks seemed to be targeting very well on the whole, and with some general reworking daily ad revenue was really starting to be very good.

Then I got a lucky scoop with the Fallout Trademarks piece, which got linked to by most of the major gaming blogs. A couple other posts got some exposure, and briefly, my blog's traffic surged. The new AdSense blocks were targeting admirably, it seems, and it looked like I'd accumulate enough for a cheque from Google within a mere 15 days.

That's pretty darn good, and welcome income besides.

Then, on Friday morning (US-time), 13 days after refitting everything and working to boost visibility and revenue, I was hit with circumstances beyond my control. You may recall the enigmatic post about it.

What happened? Google AdSense suspended my account.


Why? You know, I have no idea at all. "[Y]our AdSense account has posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers."

There's an appeal form, and I appealed it right away. They ask for additional information that might be helpful, but since they don't (as a matter of policy) reveal why they're suspending your account, it's hard to figure out what information might be useful to appeal that.

So... the appeal is now 6 days old, and the answer's just come back in, a few minutes ago.

"Thanks for providing us with additional information. However, after thoroughly reviewing your account data and taking your feedback into consideration, we've re-confirmed that your account poses a significant risk to our advertisers. For this reason, we're unable to reinstate your account. Thank you for your understanding."

Not that I actually do understand, but there's essentially nothing I can do. I imagine the sudden surge of activity after a relatively slow six months tripped some internal alarm. Over the weekend (advertising-less and all during the appeal period) I got a surge of record amounts of traffic to the blog and comic (around two orders of magnitude better) -- and no way to earn a single US cent off of it.

I've tentatively plugged Adbrite in as an alternative. We'll see how that goes. I'm in the process of dismantling the AdSense ad-blocks. The revenues I'd accumulated are forfeit (which is a bit of a pest, as I was sort of counting on that money), and I'm feeling quite a bit like I've just been punished for doing well.


  1. I'm closing ranks with you - there won't be any more AdWords advertising on any of my published content this weekend. Google can go ream themselves with a giant vibrator for punishing a resounding success with this sort of nonsense.

    A giant CONCRETE ANTI-SETTLING vibrator.

  2. I perceived some injustice in Google's system back when I was trying to get my first websites listed. It seemed outrageous to me that certain sites could get thousands of pages listed, while Google refused to crawl any of mine. Then I started getting hits and links, and forgot about my initial frustrations.

    But this story got me thinking again. I Googled (what else) the expression "risk to our advertisers," and was scandalized by what I learned. They arbitrarily cut off many small adverstisers, whose checks from Google then bounce at the bank, without giving any explanation - in fact, the replies to appeals seem to be automated. The only rationale for the cutoffs seems to be "invalid click activity," but how could that possibly concern Tateru Nino's blog?

    This is another example of the damage caused by huge IT monopolies, such as Microsoft and Google - which each in its own way fights against transparency. The solution is always the same: develop alternatives.

  3. Ugh, what a bunch of [REDACTED]. Your account did pose a significant risk to their advertisers, though... risk of getting click-throughs and them having to actually pay you, that is.

  4. Anonymous2:46 PM

    all p[raise google...... told ya all.


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