Getting Your AdSense Account Reinstated

You've been slowly and steadily attracting new visitors to your site, you've crawled up the search engine rankings and the AdSense clicks have started to appear. Just as you're on a roll, having accumulated only a few dollars short of your first AdSense pay check, you get the dreaded email from Google:

Hello Joe Bloggs,

It has come to our attention that invalid clicks and/or impressions have been generated on the Google ads displayed on your site(s). Therefore, we have disabled your Google AdSense account. Please understand that this was a necessary step in order to protect the
interest of the AdWords advertisers.

A publisher's site may not have invalid clicks or impressions on any ad(s), including but not limited to clicks and/or impressions generated by:

- a publisher on his own webpages
- a publisher encouraging others to click on his ads
- automated clicking programmes or any other deceptive software
- a publisher altering any portion of the ad code or changing the layout, behaviour, targeting or delivery of ads for any reason

These or any other such activities that violate Google AdSense Terms and Conditions and programme polices may have led us to disable your account. The Terms and Conditions and programme polices can be viewed at:

https://www.google.com/adsense/localized-terms?hl=en_GB
https://www.google.com/adsense/policies?hl=en_GB

Publishers disabled for invalid click activity are not allowed further participation in AdSense and do not receive any further payment. The earnings on your account will be properly returned to the affected advertisers.

If you feel that this decision was wrong and can maintain in good faith that the invalid activity was not due to your actions or negligence or those of the people that you are responsible for, such as employees and family members, you may appeal against the closing of your account. To do so, please contact us only through this form:

http://www.google.com/support/adsense/bin/request.py?contact=invalid_clicks_appeal&hl=en_GB

If Google decides to evaluate your appeal, we will do our best to inform you quickly and will proceed with the appropriate action as necessary. If we have reached a decision on your appeal, subsequent or duplicate appeals may not be considered.

Yours sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

So what do you do next? Google has very good click fraud detection methods and if they say they have detected invalid clicks and/or impressions you can be fairly confident this is accurate. Probably 99% of AdSense publishers who receive this message have been correctly suspended for violating the AdSense terms and conditions, although most won't admit to it. They have either clicked on their own ads, asked someone else to, or had a 'helping hand' from their friends, colleagues or relatives. So what of the other 1%? The 1% of AdSense publishers suspended from the program because of the actions of an unscrupulous business rival, mischievous trouble-maker or genuine error or omission on the part of Google? If you fall in this 1% you face a difficult challenge - you need to convince Google, who get it right 99% of the time, that they've made a mistake this time. This isn't an easy task, but it is possible.

If you find yourself suspended for invalid clicks and/or impressions, and you genuinely believe you've done nothing wrong, here's what you have to do:
  • Complete the appeal form as fully and accurately as possible. It is a web form so once you send it the data is gone. Be sure to keep a copy of what you write.
  • Pay particular attention to the last 2 boxes of the appeal form: "Any relevant information that you believe would explain the invalid click activity we detected" and "Any data in your weblogs or reports that indicate suspicious IP addresses, referrers or requests". You need to think carefully about what you write here. It needs to be well structured and well mannered. These boxes are your opportunity to explain the suspicious activity and offer evidence to prove you weren't responsible. The importance of keeping accurate visitor logs for your sites can not be over-emphasised. You might like to supply visitor log entries, suspicious IP addresses, whois records or ISP records - the more evidence you provide the easier it will be to convince Google of your innocence.
  • Be honest in your appeal. If your six year old nephew went berserk with the mouse on your AdSense ads tell them that. If you were tidying up a web page and you accidentally clicked an ad own up to it.
  • Be polite in your appeal. Hopefully it will be read by a real person, although this is increasingly unlikely with Google. A person is more likely to read and consider a polite appeal form than one which is rude and insulting. Remember that the person considering your appeal form has probably read a hundred offensive forms already that day - you are at an advantage if you buck that trend.
  • Conclude your appeal form by doing a little grovelling. Tell them how much you respect the AdSense program, how you understand they need to protect their advertisers, how you would be happy for any revenue earned by invalid clicks to be refunded to the advertisers concerned and that you are more than happy to assist them in any further investigation.
  • After you've submitted the appeal, just sit and wait a few days for them to consider it. Within a few days you will get an automatic email reply, nearly always as follows:
Hello Joe Bloggs,

Thank you for your appeal.

After receiving your response, we re-reviewed your account data thoroughly. We have reconfirmed that invalid clicks were generated on the ads on your site in violation of our Terms and Conditions and programme policies.

https://www.google.com/adsense/terms
https://www.google.com/adsense/policies

We have implemented these policies to help ensure the effectiveness of Google ads for our publishers as well as our advertisers. According to our policy on this matter, we are unable to reinstate you into the programme.

Please bear in mind that subsequent or duplicate appeals may not be considered and you may not receive any further communication from us. We appreciate your understanding.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team
  • Now for the best bit - you need to complete the appeal form all over again! That's why you need to keep a copy of your first appeal. Do not be put off by the "Please bear in mind that subsequent or duplicate appeals may not be considered and you may not receive any further communication from us." Complete the second appeal form exactly as you did the first. Obviously include any new information that might help you prove your innocence. Google will know you have already appealed. They will also see that your second appeal form agrees with the first, that you remain adamant of your innocence and that you are keen to stay involved with AdSense - all of these are points in your favour.
  • Hopefully a few days later your efforts will be rewarded by your account being reinstated, but this is still by no means certain. At least you've tried your best and can start looking for another contextual advertising service.
Remember that prevention is much better than cure. Minimise your chances of being suspended by keeping an eye on your AdSense account and visitor logs - if you notice anything suspicious, or accidentally click your own ad report it to AdSense support immediately. Normally they are quite understanding.

6 comments:

George Chernikov said...

Ironically enough, I accidentially clicked on my own ad a few days ago and I can confirm that the best thing to do is contant AdSense asap. Like you said, Google has a very good click fraud detection mechanism, so if you generate any invalid clicks, they will find out.

What I did is immediately fire AdSense off an e-mail saying that I accidentially generated an invalid click on such and such day, at such and such a time. I explained why it happened (was testing a few features of my new design), assured them that I fully understand AdSense programme policies, reminded that I have been an AdSense publisher for a year without generating invalid clicks and requested that the revenue from that particular click be deducated from my earning calculation.

A day later, I received an e-mail from AdSense thanking me for my honesty and for making the effort to avoid fraudulent clicks. The key sentence for me was "We thank you for your honesty and look forward t your continued participation with Adsense."

So the article is right and my experience confirms it - if you reckon you've done anything wrong at all, be sure to let AdSense know and own up to it. Better be safe than sorry.

Bill said...

I found your post to be very good and very informative. I went thru exactly
what you were talking about and did everything they asked to comply with the appeal. I still was denied so I just accepted it as a loss and never had anything to do with adsense again and never will nor will a lot of my friends. We just use Yahoo ads and do quite well and have no problem what so ever with Yahoo. My friends and I just never click anything that has anything to do with adsense weather it be ads or searchbar or button we just do not click ifit is adsense related.

Liz said...

I had my account turned off, and I can't get it reinstated. I have no idea where the invalid clicks came from.

Tom said...

Thank you Bill and Liz for your recent contributions.

Liz, I totally sympathise with your predicament - AdSense tend to assume guilt and offer very little opportunity for a publisher to prove otherwise. I'd appeal twice at the minimum before I gave up.

Bill, I would love to join Yahoo Publisher Network. Sadly it isn't yet available to UK publishers like me but as soon as it is I'll give it a whirl. I don't use AdSense on these pages - I prefer to use Oxado because it allows me to deliver more ads than AdSense does - handy if you have long blog entries. I make about the same from Oxado as I do AdSense, but I prefer the human way Oxado treats it's publishers!

Matt said...

Thanks for the heads up. When we ran into problems with adsense 15 months ago - the appeal form didn't exist. lets see if it goes through now...

Neil Matthews said...

A very good post, can I add that I find that Google responds very well to techie facts, if you can gather the IP addresses of the culprits repeatedly clicking on your links and prove they are not you i.e. they emante from another country this helps you cause.