How I Lost My Adsense Account

We all screw up once in a while. After all, we are ‘only’ human. This post is about how I made a mistake, the high punishment I got for making that mistake and the lessons which you can learn from being ‘ignorant’.

A few months ago I got an e-mail from Google. It said that I had violated the Adsense terms at that from that moment on, my Adsense account was banned. I was taken out of Adsense. At that point I had no idea why.

Now you have to know that I never used Adsense that much. I had set up an account I think about 6 or 7 years ago. I had put it on a small personal site which only had a few visitors a month. In a later stage I had put the Adsense on a different site but didn’t do much with it. In total I think I never made more than a 100 maybe 200 dollars on Adsense.

Only in the last year or so I started using it a little bit more: I had put Adsense on the RSS Feed of State of Search. Again, I didn’t make a lot of money. I know some people can run their entire business on it, I don’t. Still, when the e-mail from Google came I was surprised and disappointed.

The e-mail

The e-mail I got from Google had the following in it:

“While going through our records recently, we found that your AdSense account has posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers. Since keeping your account in our publisher network may financially damage our advertisers in the future, we’ve decided to disable your account.

Please understand that we consider this a necessary step to protect the interests of both our advertisers and our other AdSense publishers. We realize the inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.”

The e-mail also had a link to a support page where I could find more information on the guidelines and what happened. Neither the e-mail or the page however could tell me why my Adsense account was banned. And Google made clear why that is:

“Because we have a need to protect our proprietary detection system, we’re unable to provide our publishers with any information about their account activity”

Now what?

So I was puzzled. What did I do wrong? And how can I correct that mistake? I tried e-mailing Google but without luck. They could only tell me I was banned. Even a reconsideration request failed to get through. They were serious here: my Adsense account was banned and would continue to be banned. I was sentenced for life.

Now being the ignorant me on Adsense and because I didn’t know if this was caused by State of Search or a personal site I tried setting up a new Adsense account, specifically for State of Search. They approved that but within a week it was disapproved again because they made the connection with my personal account. That made me think it had something to do with State of Search. Turns out it didn’t.

What did I do wrong?

Last week I found out why my Adsense account was banned. It was a mistake I made about 6 or 7 years ago. Something which I had ‘erased’ with a redesign without realizing, after the ‘punishment’ was given out by Google, probably one of the reasons I couldn’t find what I did wrong in the first place.

Seven years ago I had a personal site in Dutch which only attracted a few visitors a month. It was a small site with incredibly low numbers which I had stopped using for a while, it was just sitting there. At the bottom of a page on that site I had done something very stupid, which I should have known I shouldn’t do but didn’t know back then. I hadn’t read the Adsense guidelines and I had put this below the page:

Taken out of

And one thing which is not allowed on Adsense is to ‘trick’ or ‘convince’ people to click on ads. Stupid, stupid me 7 years ago.

The punishment

So there it was: my mistake. I had screwed up. I should have known better. I deserve to be punished!

And that is just what Google did: they punished me by not allowing me to use Adsense anymore. To be very honest: as said, I deserve to be punished, but in this case the punishment ‘feels’ a bit harsh. It feels like I’ve been sentenced to life for shoplifting when I was just a young adult. If they would have asked me to pay back all the money I made on Adsense in those 7 years I would have been happy to do so, being banned forever is a very high prize to pay to be honest.

Extenuating circumstances

I could argue that there are extenuating circumstances: the site is a very small one, I hardly made any money from Google and why do my other sites have to be ‘punished’ as well? And come on, it was seven years ago I had put this on! Some consideration could be in order!

In Google’s defense: they have to be hard. This is the way they make money and they have to protect their advertisers. And as somebody pointed out to me: what if ALL the small sites would do this, can you imagine how much money Google would lose on that?

So again, Google was right to punish me. And there is something to be said for this punishment. But really, if JC Penney screws up, get punished by losing their rankings, but are back in there after only a few months (I know, different part of Google, but still), shouldn’t a small advertiser get a second chance?

Lessons Learned

There are many lessons to be learned from this:

Do NOT ask for clicks: that is the most obvious lesson of all off course. Don’t do this in the first place!
Read the terms and conditions: I had not read the terms and conditions back then (I think many people don’t to be honest). I should have because then I would have known the risk I was taking by putting down this one sentence.
Google’s support could be a lot better. I in the end found a connection, so the actual people there helped me out, but being unaware of why you got banned doesn’t really help anybody. I know, setting up support for that is costly, but giving people a reason why they got banned so they won’t do it again could help.
People deserve a second chance: Even though I admit to have made this mistake I truly believe Google should allow ‘second chances’ or at least a warning.
Don’t just use Adsense. Imagine if I would have been totally dependent on Adsense. That would have killed my business on this one mistake. Spreading your income through different channels makes sense.
And finally: everybody makes mistakes (tell me, did you?)

Bas van den Beld

About Bas van den Beld

Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.

61 thoughts on “How I Lost My Adsense Account

  1. Did you not get a warning first?

    I got a few warnings over the last years, as AdSense showed up on pages with “porno graphic” content. That was ofcourse not the case, but it turned out there were ads displayed on my search result page. A couple of visitors searched for naughty stuff and the ads were displayed. Google gave me 3 days to fix it, though.

    Result: no ads on my search results page.

  2. I think you’re being too nice on Google. It’s fucking ridiculous that they ban your AdSense account, without warning and without pointing out what exactly you did wrong, and leave you guessing that it MIGHT be something you did YEARS ago.

    AdSense is a scam. Google harvests all the income from the advertisers, and does not pass these on appropriately to the owners of the platforms where the ads are being shown. It’s theft, pure and simple.

    1. To be honest Barry, that was my first response also :). But I have to be honest that I did something I shouldn’t have done and it could have been ‘stealing’ the other way around if people would have actually acted on it, which they didn’t.

      I do feel strongly however that they should have warned me or at least give me a chance to ‘make up’ so to speak :).

      On the other hand: at this point of time, I don’t need Adsense.

      1. Of course it’s theft, Bas. If Google had even an ounce of honesty and integrity, they would refund the advertisers that paid for those clicks & impressions.

        But they don’t do that of course. Instead they pocket the money – pure profit for Google. It’s horrendously cynical and greedy and anyone who thinks Google are the ‘good guys’ needs only to look at this Adsense scam to see that for the blatant nonsense that it is.

        1. Hi Barry,

          Regarding “they would refund the advertisers that paid for those clicks & impressions.”, please be aware that “The earnings on your account will be properly returned to the affected advertisers.” as you can read here: Disabling an account is a loss-loss situation for Google and publishers, but Google has to do it to maintain the quality of AdSense network and protect advertisers. You can read more on why this is important and how Google does this at

          For other publishers with questions about the AdSense Policies, please visit the the AdSense help forum and ask your questions there. Also if you want to know more about invalid clicks and AdSense, be sure to visit

          Hope this helps πŸ™‚


          1. Hi Fili,

            I stand corrected – I was unaware of that particular policy, as I’ve been involved in running many display network ad campaigns on AdWords for clients and not once have I seen anything about reimbursement.

            In light of that it makes Google’s AdSense slightly less cynical, but still a rather farcical exercise. Without the publishers, Google wouldn’t be able to sell all that ad space. But Google seems entirely uninterested in actually taking care of those publishers and instead give them little but the mushroom treatment.

            But yes, thanks for setting me straight on that particular point. As Google is publicly traded, I wonder if there are details available on how many accounts they block and how much money they reimburse?


  3. To add to this – I’ve had a similar problem with Adsense, and I actually got given that ‘second chance’ – was very surprised that they even considered that. But it seems if you are truly not to blame, AND you speak to a decent Adsense representative, you can get re-accepted.

    For me, again, the site in question wasn’t making much money ($150 a month maybe) – but was a discussion forum with a few thousand users.

    One of our users had posted a link to their own blog in their signature, along with the comment of “Click the ads on my blog!” – that addition had immediately created thousands of references to the phrase ‘Click the ads’ across my site, in the bottom of every one of their posts. A few weeks later and I received the same email you mention in this post. They had noticed it before I had.

    The first email I sent to Adsense received basically the reply that I was expecting – I was banned and that was the end of it.

    The second email I sent was almost identical to the first, in the hope I got a different Adsense representative. I did, and they were much more understanding of the situation. With tens of thousands of users, it’s often difficult to keep up with everything that everyone is posting – and in this case a simple change of signature text had a big effect, and had flagged my website.

    A week or so later and I was re-included via an apologetic Adsense rep, but I guess the lesson to learn is that so long as Google are this vigilant, you too must be just as vigilant with your website and/or users to stay in their good books.

      1. Haha, superb from Google as always πŸ˜€

        And yes I agree, sadly I think you might be right – If it’s your fault, Google don’t tend to care whether the violation was made yesterday or many years ago.

  4. Yes,
    I hope everyone does mistake some get chance to clear it but not.
    My account was also banned due to my stupid things but after research made another account and trying not to do anything stupid this time.

  5. I started a blog a few months ago, mainly to help in my search for a career in marketing! I’m just wondering, do you think Google Adsense is worth it? How much can you earn? I’m not sure if I want to put it on my blog, I don’t want to put people off reading it!

    If I do set one up, I’ll definitely be reading the terms and conditions – it seems so harsh that they banned you with no warning, especially for a site set up so long ago! Not what I would have expected from Google! Fingers crossed they’ll read this and rethink the situation! πŸ˜€

    1. If you don’t feel sure about it in relation to your readers don’t put it up.

      What you could do is integrate it in your feed to start of, which will only mean people will see it on the RSS Feed.

  6. I think Google has done the right thing to some extent but the fact that you had made the mistake 7 years should be taken into account which means that you are argument of having a “second chance” is a good one.

    Here is the difficulty though, through what process should Google give publishers a second chance? Surely the administrative costs of that would be very high both in terms of support and continuous monitoring?

  7. I have been banned from adsense twice.

    First I had it on a personal site which I hosted from home. I didn’t tell people to click the ads or anything, they were just text ads that sat there minding their business for a few months. Suddenly one day I was banned for the same reasons you state but also that I was “clicking my own ads”. I wasn’t clicking my own ads but hosting from the same broadband connection I also browsed on could have done it.

    Years later I set up adsense again under another gmail account for another site. I also a had a new address so in essence they didn’t know I was the same person. Anyway I set the account up on my site (mostly a discussion forum) and I was making $20 a day. Fantastic, I can easily run the site from that I thought. A week went by then suddenly I was made aware that someone in USA who hated the nature of my site was deliberately clicking ads on the site in an attempt to get me banned. I immediately contacted Google through their reporting fraud form, which they tell you to use if you’re aware of fraudulent clicks on your ads! 2 days later I was banned for the reason they gave to you. Despite the clicks however, they were discounted correctly by their system.

    Now where’s the fairness in that? I wasn’t doing anything wrong, someone else was! Someone I didn’t even know! I tried appealing twice, both times it failed. They just didn’t listen and didn’t care. They’re frauds themselves and the above just goes to prove it. They don’t listen to your “excuses” or explanations, they just care about the money.

    The money that adsense provided could have allowed me to expand my site a long way. It’s a good job I didn’t rely on it, so your comment about not relying on a single ad provider income is very justified.

    I’ve tried using other ad providers in the past but they’re all slow in comparison to Adsense which is why I liked it so much – until I got banned again.

  8. I set a friend up 3 weeks ago on Adsense. She was running a health / hair related blog based on her past experiences with Alopecia.

    It was the first time she had ever run a website and had spent the last 3 weeks blogging about 3x a day with lots of great content which was being picked up by hair charities and some newswires.

    She was making about $10 a day so nothing huge but for a week old website not bad for a newbie.

    Her website was naturally growing in traffic daily and the Adsense was growing with that.

    Then last week out of nowhere Adsense banned her account using the same email template above. I checked everything and she was just running 1 sidebar ad. She contested the ban but no luck.

    Having been banned from Adsense in the past through my own dodgy stuff I expect nothing less but I can not see any reason at all as to why she has been banned.

    The appeal continues….

  9. Pretty shitty to be punished Bas, but inspired by your experience I just had a thought.

    What if I take your AdSense code and pasted it into a brand new Tumblr or Blogger set up with “Please click my Ads” all over it?

    What is stopping Google from hammering YOU from MY shitty actions?

    How would they know any different?

    This is probably not an original thought, but all the same what measures are in place to counter this kind of competitor sabotage?

      1. That was my initial thought too, but Tumblr & Blogger are on shared hosting, although Blogger is a G property Tumblr isn’t so I don’tthink they could differetiate between me and you with regards to IP only Tumblr could (or any other platform that does not belong to G for that matter).

        Also judging by others experience in the comments here do you think G would go that far to find out which account belongs to who?

        I am guessing not. Just a quick hammer and on to the next infringement.

    1. Adsense has a section that allows you to list all the sites that you approve to show your adsense code. So if you put my code on your site, for example, and your site isn’t in my whitelist, then I won’t get paid for clicks on the ads on your site, nor will I be punished for anything that happens on your site. (Or that’s at least how it’s supposed to work – not sure if it actually does). πŸ™‚

  10. I was banned from Adsense less than 60 days into using it. I had put it on a fairly new, low traffic website (site was complete with lots of pages/media files/etc.) However, due to having low traffic I had an insanely high CTR on my main banner spot and I guess Google thought it was suspicious. They banned me without warning, I had tried to get in touch with them twice and then gave up due to the fact they don’t even respond to you.

    I ended up switching to another network, which (for me) generated more income with less of a hassle and most Ad networks I’ve worked with over the last 3 or 4 years have had much better support via IM, email, and even Skype.

    My takeaway was that there are better Ad networks to work with than Google in terms of payout, communication, and even targetting.

    1. Hi Dan!
      I got banned on Adsense just this week, not sure why- got the “poses a risk of generating invalid activity” email and that’s that… I was working with a coder outsourced from Bangladesh, not sure if he did something squirrely or not, he’s currently looking into it, as well… He was supposed to be adding keywords into the site and setting up backlinks, too… Was making about $8-10 a day on my site after 2 weeks… I have no idea if I’m really to blame by association yet…

      Anyway, you mentioned other, better ad networks to work with other than Adsense… Could you be so kind as to share your thoughts on what those networks are?



  11. I wish Google would do something like the following.

    When a new user signs up, Google should make the assumption that he or she didn’t actually read the fine print (since no one does), so Google emails the user and says, hey look, here’s The Ten Commandments Of Being An Adsense Publisher:

    1. Thou shall not ask users to click on ads.
    2. Thou shall not click your own ads or encourage friends and family to do so.
    3. Thou shall not trick people into clicking ads when they thought they’d be clicking something else.
    4. etc. etc. etc.

    And then after spelling out the main things, they should finish the email by giving them encouragement to go read the rest of the TOC by saying something like…”Now that you know the ten commandments, you should read the rest of the terms. Why? Because not reading them might mean you’ll do something that will get your account banned forever. Good enough reason?”

    Make it clear right from the get-go that some things are IMPORTANT for new publishers to read. Really important. And really easy to find and understand.

    1. Google should make the assumption that he or she didn’t actually read the fine print (since no one does)”
      That’s not true! I did read it! Everything seemed OK. But my site was rejected. And they didn’t tell me why!

  12. I also got banned, and am still at a lost for a reason. I agree with your closing points, most specifically the need for a second chance. Here is my story:

    It’s been 5+ months without AdSense, and at this point I can say good riddance. I make more money focusing on affiliate links, and I don’t have to clutter up my site with those irrelevant ads that always puzzled me why on earth anyone would click on them in the first place. While I miss the ~$100/month, as I become more and more disillusioned with Google I’m fine cutting that tie with them.

  13. It’s strange to see how a company like Google is doing such things. I felt really disapointed this week and it wasn’t for a Adsense ban, no it was Adwords ! They said I ignored a warning for running a campaign which didn’t agree with there terms. (I didn’t get a warning).
    The big problem in my case was; It was the Adwords account of my company.. which is running lot’s of campaigns for our projects but also for our clients…. I called Google, they couldn’t even tell me what it was about… but they would call back the same day they said… Over not hearing a thing for 2 days(!), i called again…
    Now 2 weeks later i know which site it is about, but not even what the problem is… it’s totally legal, just a normal service.. nothing special. So i said i will turn that campaign of and let the others run… They didn’t agree, they needed to investigate more…….
    I will call Google again tommorow. Glad i can post my frustation somewhere…. πŸ˜‰

    P.S. Thanks for the great presentation at Bas, i though i wouldn’t learn a thing extra SEO whise, but i definatly did. Thanks for sharing your knowlegde.

    1. Yes they do.. But my old UK Compare insurance website was making nearly Β£1 per click! Ugly or not.. I was making lots of money..

  14. I totally agree Google should offer second chances – even after a “cooling off” period. Especially for industry representatives who do know better.

    My account was suspended a few years ago. I’m glad I’m in suck good company. Thanks, Bas!

    1. Hey Thom :). Yeah it is ‘suck company’ indeed, nice misspelling there which makes sense with this post ;).

      I’m afraid I am never going to get it back. But tbh, I’m not really missing it πŸ™‚

  15. Long story short – my blog attracted a lot of visitors really quickly and google didn`t like it. i got adsense disabled. I stopped maintaining my blog for several months after the “ban” and yet my blog still recieves genuine readers,, i doubt if google takes notice of this.

  16. I too had my adsense account disabled for no reason and I still
    can’t figure out why. This blog looks like it was blatantly made by
    google in an attempt to make people feel like it was their own fault. Don’t treat us like were stupid! You’re obviously going to run into trouble by posting up banners saying ‘click on my ads’!!
    Most of these people on here, including myself, didn’t actually do
    anything wrong but we’re being punished for it, which is just cruel. I
    never asked for monetization in the first place, it was offered to me. I
    would have preferred to not even know about it rather than have it
    unfairly stripped away from me! Google doesn’t even have the decency
    to tell you what you have actually done wrong or give proper warnings of
    how serious the outcome is to what they deem to be wrong. You can’t
    just mess with people’s emotions like this! I’ve been through some tough
    times in my life and spent years in depression but as I started
    uploading videos and getting such positive feedback it really picked me
    up and gave me something to believe in and aim for. I was on a fresh
    start and all was going well. Then Google went and ruined it all again
    by punishing me for my talent and taking away my goal. Now people are
    asking me for more videos but I’ve lost my drive and I’m just about
    ready to give up. I wish I never started making videos as I feel worse
    than I did before now and it’s all Google’s fault.

  17. Mine too. And I only started trying to make a website. I was trying out Wix andtried to put an adsense. i dun exactly know how. But i think u need to put ur website add when u apply fr adsense. I just want to know how the whole thing works. By the way my web isnt published. But I found out that Wix cant support Adsense.

  18. One drop of advice for you all.. Do not use AdSense Full Stop! I was making hundreds per day with adsense and What do you know.. Yep, that email we all dread! All I can say is that stood by all their rules.. It just turned out they did not like me buying traffic!! This is what screwed it up for me.. People say use other alternatives, but they are just so poor. We need one big New System.. Regards to you all

  19. Hie, my adsense got disapproved lately due to reasons i know not they may be due to invalid add clicks which ovcours i did as a matter of fact i was excited for my approval. i heard that adsense pays the most amongst all those out there, so would you please share what next options i should ponder upon?

  20. Wonderful post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on
    this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Bless you!

  21. i have banned from google adsense. and i did again submitted the request with slightly changing in address. and my request accepted one week ago. but today google adsense said ‘ While going through our records recently, we found that your AdSense account has posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers ‘ please help me

  22. i have banned from google adsense. and i did again submitted the request with slightly changing in address. and my request accepted one week ago. but today google adsense said ‘ While going through our records recently, we found that your AdSense account has posed a significant risk to our AdWords. please help me

  23. I have not got a clue with AdSense and surely do not want to do anything wrong that would cause me to violate their terms and conditions.

    Please can you tell me if there is a site/s that explains how to earn money through advertising on your own website or blogging site for absolute novice.

  24. Adsense pays nothing now anyway. Google wants Β£1+ for any Adwords clicks and pays Adsense publishers derisory amounts like Β£0.20. Add that to the sub 1% click through and you rapidly realise you’re wasting your time

  25. Hey how did you communicate with them ? I had lost my adsense acc when i was at the age of 10 ( now i am 17) I would like to ask them to give for a second chance…..

    1. Sorry, only just spotted this comment. I had e-mailed them via the help center (link is in the post).

  26. The problem is that you have it in your genes to beat the system, so why bother with you in the future. It’s like perhaps a friend who steals money from you, would you trust that friend with money ever again?, or would you feel uneasy when he was around you and your money. You get what I mean, so why bother with you.

  27. I have also been banned for Adsense, I am not sure what I did to cause the ban though. Its a shame because now I don’t know whether to make an active effort to establish my Youtube account or not. Can I create a new YouTube with Adsense or is this against TOS?

  28. I was banned from AdSense as well. I had several websites, and on one of them I had paid for visitors. This was early in my online career – about 8-9 years ago. I placed Adsense on all my sites, having forgotten this program I was still paying about $3/month for 500 visitors. I was naturally banned, and cannot persuade the AdSense team that this was not deliberate and was an oversight. I understand that deesrved it and don’t blame Google in any way. If I wa paying $10 a click, I would want some guy stealing money from me by paying people to visit his site. Obviously they would expect to click the links!

  29. AdSense is just robbing everybody .. i just lost my account over 27$ dollars i tooke 2 years to earn !! i will send then a ridiculous email soon, wishing all the bad karma to then.. google should not be part of that program anymore !! this is ridiculous, since the ads has been already display over my 20.000 daily traffic of my site.. for what ? a few cents a day ? fuck AdSense program.. i am already searching for an alternative method and hoping they to fail on a miserable way .. since they only care for big, putting us small on the trash ..

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