Eric has a helpful AdSense and advises publishers to take the initiative with AdSense if anything abnormal is happening on their blog that might impact their account:on ensuring you don’t get banned from
‘It’s your job as an AdSense publisher to keep your nose clean. Keeping your nose clean means:
* If you notice suspicious clicks, report it.
* If you accidentally click your own ads (it happens), report it.
* If your site is suddenly featured on Slashdot, Digg, or some other high-traffic site, report it.
* If you know something (press release, review, etc.) is going to send a lot of traffic your way, report it.
* If you’re in doubt about anything, report it.’
I would definitely agree with the first two and the last one but am not so sure about sudden increases in traffic. From my experience with AdSense they are pretty good at working out where your traffic comes from and if it’s a valid or invalid source. I guess to be safe you could shoot them an email but I know that I never have when I’ve been Dugg or Slashdotted and haven’t been questioned by AdSense.
Ultimately the way not to get banned from AdSense is to following the following tips from Google (the bold is their words, the rest is my comments):
- Don’t click on your own Google ads – I suspect this is the most common reason people are banned. You can’t click your own ads for any reason. If you want to see where an ad leads to type in the URL from the ad or use the AdSense Preview tool (if you’re an IE user)
- Don’t ask others to click on Google ads – I regularly see people doing this – especially when they first put ads on their blogs. Be very careful about what you do say about your ads. Sometimes even an indirect comment or a ‘hint’ can be construed as encouraging people to click ads – it’s just not worth it.
- Don’t employ pop-up prompts or automatic software installations – I’ve been interested to see a number of publishers doing this lately by putting pop ups with ads in them on their pages or putting popups directly next to ads to draw the eye to them. Neither method is within the AdSense TOS.
- Be aware of how your site is promoted – Another reason I’ve seen publishers banned for is sending traffic to their site that is not ‘good’ traffic. Paid to surf programs are one example of bad traffic which you can get in trouble for. These days Google has impression based ads as well as CPC ones and if you’re driving thousands of visitors to a site that is not legitimate traffic you’ll get in trouble. When in doubt about whether to go with a traffic generating system you should check with AdSense first.
- Don’t place Google ads on sites that contain prohibited content – Family friendly content is the way AdSense likes to go. This means you can’t put ads on gambling sites, sites with adult content or with profanity (to name just a few things they prohibit). Get a full list of what you should avoid in their policies.
- Respect Google trademarks – Google writes – ‘Framing or mimicking Google pages is strictly prohibited by our Guidelines for Use of Google Brand Features.’
- Don’t tamper with the AdSense code – Unless you have permission you shouldn’t change the core AdSense code. Some publishers have agreements with Google to do this but if you’re a normal publisher you are not allowed to make such changes. Again – if in doubt contact the AdSense team.
- Provide a positive user experience – Again Google puts it best – ‘Sites that contain excessive pop-ups, use sneaky redirects to obtain traffic, or otherwise attempt to interfere with normal web navigation aren’t permitted in the AdSense network.’
- Provide a good environment for advertisers – AdSense juggles the expectations and value it offers to three groups – ‘publishers’, ‘viewers of ads’ and ‘advertisers’. As publishers we tend to lose site of the rest of the equation, especially the advertisers – but ultimately unless they are getting value for money they won’t advertise and the whole system falls down. In short Google will ban you if they feel you’re doing anything to trick your readers into clicking ads (ie ripping off advertisers).
- Be responsive – If AdSense tells you to jump – you say ‘how high?’ If you get an email from AdSense it’s important to reply (if they ask for a response) and to comply with what they ask you to do (or to politely explain your situation. I find that in most of my interactions with the AdSense team that they genuinely want you to do well as a publisher as it means that they do well also. While you might sometimes feel like you’re talking to a machine (their stock standard emails can be annoying) if you persist in emailing them you generally end up talking to a human and find that they are willing to listen and help you find a solution to any issues you’re having.
As Eric writes – when in doubt – ask. This is worth keeping in mind whether you’re wondering whether a traffic source is going to get you in trouble through to if you wonder if an ad position could be considered bad. I find that when you ask they will generally come back within a day or two with an answer and never respond with ‘you’re banned’. If you take the initiative to ask and they come back with a ‘no you can’t do that’ that they give you a chance to fix things before banning you.
Of course this is just my experience with AdSense. I’m certain that this post will attract stories of people being banned who disagree with me and don’t know why they’ve been kicked out – but in most cases the above works.