Sadly, this will also be my last post on this blog. I was informed by Google a couple of weeks ago that my AdSense account, which has generated ads for this blog, was disabled because the Google team feared that I pose a risk of generating invalid activity - i.e. clicking on my own ads or other malicious activity. Here is the full text of the email they sent me:
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
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...
Notice that the email doesn't say that there was any invalid activity, just that I pose a risk of generating invalid activity. I appealed to Google three times and received canned responses that they cannot give me any more details and that my account cannot be reinstated. As the email mentions, they confiscated all of my earnings, which I am embarrassed to say amounted to less than $100 for the entire 20 months that I have been blogging. Not exactly enough for me to quit my day job. They have not addressed my request that my revenue be returned to me less the amount generated by the activity in question.
I don't consider myself a reactionary person and I don't hold grudges against brands, so I won't be making any promises about unraveling Google from my life. I am unhappy with their customer service and will definitely have to think hard about engaging them in the future for anything more than email service. Google does make some wonderful products and I have been generally happy with them in the past. I'm not sure their slogan - "Don't be evil" - is necessarily accurate, as providing terrible customer service, while not evil, is certainly not good. So, they can feel smug about having avoided being evil, while at the same time not being good either.
Anyway, thanks to my few readers and best of luck to all of the photographers out there who are making great images one weekend at a time.