I Just Got Banned From Adsense! Now What?
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If you're making a good chunk of income from your Google Adsense account, the last thing you want is to get an email telling you you've been banned from Adsense.
And that's exactly what happened to me. What I'm about to share below happened to my Google Adsense account a few years ago and I hope my Google Adsense account ban experience will be helpful for you in getting your disabled account back.
When there's an issue with your Google Adsense account, you get an email letting you know that your Adsense account will either be temporarily suspended or permanently disabled. If you've only been temporarily suspended the steps you'll need to take to get your account back is different from if you've been permanently disabled.
- How I KNEW I WAS Banned from Google Adsense
- Banned From Adsense: What Happened?
- How Can You Make Money Now That Your Banned From AdSense
- Will I Ever Use Google Adsense Again?
- Should I Still Build Micro Niche Sites With a Disabled Adsense Account?
- My Google Adsense Account Has Been Terminated: Doesn't This Change Everything?
- Google Adsense Alternatives
How I KNEW I WAS Banned from Google Adsense
Unfortunately, I got a really depressing email stating that my Google Adsense personal account had been shut down for generating invalid activity.
I received the same message for all of my business accounts as well. So I no longer have any access to Google Adsense.
The news fell on me like a ton of bricks, and I'm still a bit dazed and trying to climb out of the rubble. Since I have always tried to be as open as possible here on my blog, I felt like I needed to share the news with you.
Update: After forming a new LLC, I was able to get a new Adsense account. Read about it here: Welcome Back to Google Adsense!
Now, I've been using Adsense since 2005 and I have been consistently averaging over $10k a month in Google Adsense income for the past year or so. The last REAL income report where I showed my full Google Adsense income was in August when I had earnings of $13,099.49. You can see from that figure that Adsense has been one of my more significant income streams.
Since that time I have only been sharing partial results about a group of small sites I built and my authority site.
Overall, my Adsense has continued to generate money in the six-figure annual range for me, until last week. Since I had my Adsense account disabled, my Google Adsense income has been $0.
To top it all off, the Adsense team has informed me my outstanding balance will not be paid out. Since I had my account suspended for generating invalid activity, Google's share and my share of any profits will “kindly” be fully refunded to the affected advertisers.
So, what happened to my sites and where do I go from here?
Banned From Adsense: What Happened?
I got the standard message from Google, which you can read here, but basically, it's an email stating: “we've determined that your AdSense account poses a risk of generating invalid activity”. These are the only details given, no specifics.
All I know is that my Google Adsense account has been disabled. Apparently invalid traffic or “invalid activity” is one of the more common reasons people get their accounts suspended. It basically means that Google suspects you're in breach of Google Adsense policy because you are clicking your own links or getting bots to click your links or you buy traffic.
Here is the email I received:
This message was sent from a notification-only email address that does not accept incoming email. Please do not reply to this message. --------------------------------------------------------------- Hello, After reviewing our records, we've determined that your AdSense account poses a risk of generating invalid activity. Because we have a responsibility to protect our AdWords advertisers from inflated costs due to invalid activity, we've found it necessary to disable your AdSense account. Your outstanding balance and Google's share of the revenue will both be fully refunded back to the affected advertisers. Please understand that we need to take such steps to maintain the effectiveness of Google's advertising system, particularly the advertiser-publisher relationship. We understand the inconvenience that this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation. If you have any questions or concerns about the actions we've taken, how you can appeal this decision, or invalid activity in general, you can find more information by visiting http://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=57153. Sincerely, The Google AdSense Team
If you get this email, apparently there is a way to get your account back. You can fill out an appeal form and submit a reconsideration request if you think you've had your account banned for invalid traffic in error.
That said, I submitted a reconsideration request myself, but from what most people have said about that process, I don't have high expectations.
So Why Was I Banned from Adsense?
Clicking on your own ads or asking friends and family to do so is a quick way to get your Adsense account banned. But, the traffic sources for my sites are pretty much 100% organic traffic from search engines and I NEVER click on my own ads or ask others to do so. So, looking at things from my own end I'm confident I don't have fake traffic that's causing the AdSense team at Google to flag me up for invalid clicks.
I've actually been using Adsense now for over 15 years and have never had issues in the past. All I can say is that Google has obviously changed something on their end.
I'm not sure if it had to do with being too aggressive with my adsense layouts or other factors.
I probably could have picked a less aggressive WordPress theme with regard to ad placement but I didn't have too many ads and as far as I know, I wasn't making any policy violations. It seems like Google is just getting much more aggressive in closing accounts.
Here are just a few other AdSense users that have also recently had their Adsense accounts shut down:
In fact, I have received a few other private emails from Adsense users in the past couple of weeks that are suffering from banned Adsense accounts.
So, it appears I am not alone. It also tells me that likely this isn't something I did, ultimately I think it's just Google. There's been some kind of update to their Adsense policies or the way that the Adsense team are checking sites and Adsense users are unfortunately being given the raw end of the deal.
I would suspect that adsense users with a high number of domains are at higher risk.
That is the only thing that I can figure. Lots of domains probably raises a red flag.
How Can You Make Money Now That Your Banned From AdSense
Well, it could have been worse. Even though my primary monetization source is gone, the source of my traffic is not. All of my sites still rank exactly where they were before in search engines, including Google.
So, with some experimentation, I hope to find some other contextual ad network that gets me close to where I was with Google Adsense. Here's a list of several other ways to make money from a website besides Google Adsense.
It won't be easy, and to be honest I would be very surprised if my sites earn what they were earning with Google Adsense with any other network. However, hopefully, I'm wrong.
I already have a few other ad network and affiliate marketing options that are worth considering:
- eBay Partner Network
- Amazon Associates Program
I was also recently set up on Vibrant Media. Plus I just applied to the Media.net advertising program. In addition, I am approved by a ton of other affiliate programs, so I'm going to use some affiliate marketing to try to make up some of the money I'm losing.[su_note]
Many Good Alternatives to Adsense Now!
When I originally wrote this, there were plenty of options (and MANY more besides what I have listed), to make money from Adsense alternatives. The problem was that most of these didn't pay as well as Google Adsense. Google's advertising system was just… better, and as a result, there were more Adsense users than any other ad network.
Therefore, there was more money being pumped into Google Adsense as these companies competed for placement on your site.
This isn't true so much today. Now, there are a variety of different options you can use to make good money. You can probably still make more money with Adsense, but that might change too. Trying Ezoic as I mentioned above has been a huge success for my Niche Site Project 4.
I also have come to love Mediavine (read my Mediavine review here) and Media.net has become more and more viable in recent years.
So, I fully expect to get back some of the income, but it's going to take some time. After all, when I got banned from Adsense I had over 200 sites.
Now, it won't be an easy task finding the best advertising fit for each site. Some will do okay with Amazon, but most won't, and micro-niche sites are harder to find advertisers for.
Infolinks and Kontera are a quicker and easier general in-content ad solution for information sites – so I would have had to rely heavily on these if I hadn't been able to get a new Adsense account under my new LLC.
Nevertheless, I would have had a lot of testing to do in the months that followed…not fun.
Will I Ever Use Google Adsense Again?
I can personally never have a personal account on Adsense under my name according to Google.
But… I knew that technically, I could form a new legal entity with a different name and open a new business account and make sure there is no linking information to any of my banned personal accounts, and the new business entity can re-apply to Google Adsense.
At first, I was not sure I want to go down that road. When I first wrote this post, the wound was far too fresh. I definitely needed to take some time to think about getting a second account.
I also knew that even if I somehow got a new Adsense account, I would always be in fear of the same thing happening again.
You see, I have specialized in building more informational types of blogs and websites that are best monetized with Google Adsense. Because they have such a broad advertising network, I could (and I have) build sites on Worm Farms, Buffalo Nickels, or Oil Change Coupons, and made good money.
However, those keywords could NEVER be monetized well with Amazon Associates or many other networks.
So, while I was using Google Adsense I could really use my skill of finding low competition keywords – because there were SO MANY to choose from. If I don't use Adsense, my pool of keyword choices is limited greatly.
At least that's how I see it now. Who knows though, maybe some of these other ad networks will surprise me.
In the end, as you now know, I did end up getting a new Adsense account. So far so good, but fingers crossed I don't get banned from Adsense again… ever.
Should I Still Build Micro Niche Sites With a Disabled Adsense Account?
I don't know. It's too early to say where I am going to take my business. If any of these other ad networks are anywhere close to what Google Adsense was able to pay out, then I will likely still dabble in building small niche sites.
I'm not saying I'm giving up on niche sites by any stretch of the imagination. I'm just saying that I'm considering all options; including building larger sites, building lots of small affiliate sites, or other strategies.
However, as I wrote about a few months ago:
I've always known that a better strategy is to build a larger site that you are in love with and provide unique tools or other value to the end user.
So going forward, I am going to be considering additional ideas on large niche sites ( 1 or 2 maybe) that I can just keep and build for years to come. I already have one site that is only a few months old that I think has a lot of potential. It's only getting 150 uniques or so a day, but I think it has the potential for 100 times that easy and maybe more.
I don't know if I have the personality to do that honestly, but this is probably the best strategy for many of you out there. So, I will most likely continue to build small niche sites and grow the winners into something bigger.
I just might have to find other niches and other means of monetizing.
My Google Adsense Account Has Been Terminated: Doesn't This Change Everything?
Yes and no. As mentioned, as I try different revenue models, I may find something that works nearly as well as Google Adsense. However, the skill that I have been able to master is keyword research, and that has always been the core of this business.
There is no reason why I can use this same skill of keyword research and simply apply it to either a larger site strategy or use different ad/affiliate networks.
I wrote about the risks of building niche sites about 9 months ago. (Getting your Adsense account banned was #3). So, I have always been VERY aware of all the risks involved, but I stuck it out because I know ALL businesses have risks.
Luckily, for the most part, the things I have taught on this site remain unchanged. The keyword research tactics I teach are still valid as is nearly everything else on the Niche Websites Hub. The difference is that instead of using Google Adsense, I'll need to find something else.
However the basic process of: finding a good niche keyword, building a site, and ranking that site remains unchanged.
Of course, this also just makes me think longer term about the viability of micro niche sites (without Google Adsense) and the types of sites I should build in the future. This will be an ongoing consideration. Perhaps you should look twice at your own business as well.
Overall, I really like the attitude that Eric Gati had when his Adsense Account was disabled recently.
He feels like he will be able to look back on the experience as one of the best things that could happen to his online business. Perhaps I will feel same in the future.
UPDATE: I posted a part II of sorts to this post that covers a few more details – The Importance of Diversifying Your Online Income
Google Adsense Alternatives
Let's say that you do get your Adsense account banned. What can you do?
Google claims that you can never reinstate your account under the same name. I got around this by applying with an LLC and Google did give me a new account.
Niche site strategies have changed since I first started with them. Quality is a lot more important now than it has ever been. And I think that high quality content will be even more important in the future.
If I had to start all over, I would wait until I had about 10k visitors per month and apply to Adsense. Once I was approved, I would go to Ezoic without waiting.
Ezoic gives you an account manager and they are a Google Certified Partner. So they can help you make sure that your account isn't at risk.
Another option is Mediavine. They're an ad management network that runs a few of my sites and I've been very pleased. Right now I'm undecided between them and Ezoic, but Mediavine requires that you have at least 25k monthly visitors before applying.
I'd start with Ezoic and then move to Mediavine if you aren't thrilled with ad revenue numbers.
The downside to these options are that they only work if you haven't been banned by Adsense. They work to keep you from getting banned, but what if you've already been kicked out?
What Are My Options If I've Been Banned From Google Adsense?
No worries, there are still a ton of options out there for you. And the majority of these display ads options can earn as much or more than Adsense.
First, I would try reapplying under a different name. I did this by applying through an LLC and that's still a valid tactic. If that doesn't work, here are some alternative ways to monetize your site.
This has become my bread and butter over recent years and it's the primary way of monetizing Niche Site Project 4. I've even made a full guide on how to increase your Amazon Associates earnings.
If you aren't willing to deal with Amazon, there are tons of other affiliate offers out there. You could try CJ, VigLinks, or any number of offers on Clickbank.
Media.net is the Yahoo/Bing alternative to Google Adsense. In some niches, they work much better than Adsense. In others, they underperform. Media.net places in-content ads into your blog posts. They don't look spammy and seem very natural to the user.
If you have a few posts that are doing great at targeting a certain audience, you could reach out to someone who has a product for them. Right now, I'm drawing a ton of visitors who want to monetize their websites. That's why you're here reading about getting banned from Adsense, right?
So I reached out to Ezoic and while I'm writing this, I run private ads for them. It's win/win. I don't have to rely on obscure and hard-to-deal-with Google policies. I can recommend a product that I love and use. You could try doing something similar on your website.
These types of networks pay you per lead. When companies recommend a credit card, a bank, an insurance company, etc. they are using a CPA network. I've never been in this space but I hear that ClickBooth is good for finding these types of offers.
Google Adsense & What You Do: Your Thoughts
I want to hear what you have to say. I know that some of you look to me for guidance when it comes to Google Adsense and Niche sites; so that's why I wanted to share this latest information.
However, I now look to you for any monetization strategies or other tactics that you have found outside of Google Adsense that have worked well for you!
What do you think, should I build small sites with affiliate products, cpa offers, or something else? Or should I move beyond small sites and move onto something that could become a long-term success?
I also expect that many of you have other questions regarding my ban from Google Adsense that I haven't covered. If you have had a Google Adsense account ban, it sucks, but it's not the end of the world. So, feel free to ask away.
I look forward to reading and responding to all of your comments!
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