Google Kills My Ad Account. Says I’m Peddling Porn

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

I received the following email from Google AdSense yesterday.

While reviewing your account, we noticed that you are currently displaying
Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our policies. For
instance, we found violations of AdSense policies on pages such as
http://www.theagitator.com/2002/04/30/-meet-my-alter-ego-now/. Please note
that this URL is an example and that the same violations may exist on
other pages of your website.

As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers are not permitted to
place Google ads on pages with adult or mature content. This includes
displaying ads on pages that provide links for or drive traffic to adult
or mature sites.

As a result, we have disabled ad serving to the site.

It’s an old post — the graphic doesn’t even work anymore. It was an illustration from a “create your own superhero” site. There was nothing “adult” about it all, and even if it did, the image no longer appears.

Google sent me a similar email several days ago warning me to take down the offensive content, or they’d suspend my account. I first thought they were referring to some comment spam to the post linking to adult sites. So I deleted the comments.

But that apparently wasn’t the problem, because they’ve now suspended my account anyway. I’ve sent Google AdSense two emails, but haven’t heard back.

I guess they could now be referring to other old posts with comment spam porn, even though they still include a link to the now spam-free post. If so, that’s going to be a problem. There are likely thousands of old posts that got hit with spam before I switched to a platform with better spam-blocking properties a couple of years ago. If that’s the reason Google suspended my account, it seems sort of unreasonable of them.

I guess it would be a nice start if they’d merely answer my email queries, and explain the specific content that violates their policy.

Frustrating.

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63 Responses to “Google Kills My Ad Account. Says I’m Peddling Porn”

  1. #1 |  Sam | 

    Does adsense count site hits or ad loads when calculating payout?

  2. #2 |  joev | 

    i concur with the email carpet bombing. this is like some power mad (freshly minted or stale dated) supervisor in of complaints dept or some tool using a ToS reporting tool.

  3. #3 |  joev | 

    sorry, forgot third option–deliberate/willful twisted translation of policies.

  4. #4 |  Alan | 

    Adblocking – The big reason I use Adblock (and I do disable it for many of the sites I read regularly) is because of all the stupid high-CPU Flash ads. If I regularly had audio turned on I would’ve started using it earlier. For my regularly-read sites where I’m still blocking ads, it’s because when I unblocked those sites I got hit with high-resource ads.

    I don’t even have to look at the CPU utilization, I hear the fan on my laptop kick up a couple of notches and I know someone’s got a Flash ad doing some sort of stupid animation (inefficiently, most likely) and flooring my CPU.

  5. #5 |  hamburglar007 | 

    Good for google. I for one am sick of all the titties and breastistists being flaunted on this site.

  6. #6 |  Mr P | 

    omar – While Google’s operation is largely automated there are people who can make things happen. One notorious example is SomethingAwful’s being nearly excluded from search results for years because someone held a grudge over a raid on news.admin.net-abuse.email. If nothing else, the response time for issues with sites its employees are likely to actively read tends to be a lot better for obvious reasons.

  7. #7 |  Ben | 

    To those asking, it’s more a question of the annoying ads popping up everywhere. Ads that flash oposite colors and ones with automatic sound which kill me at work. I actually run Opera at home which relies on the user to block individual pieces and doesn’t allow you to block google text ads. I actually like that better, but FF is better for work, so I use it.

  8. #8 |  Bill | 

    It was an easy way for me to make a donation to the site.

  9. #9 |  CTD | 

    Radley Balko, Smut Merchant!

  10. #10 |  Bryan | 

    There is porn on the internet?

  11. #11 |  Nick | 

    Few things…

    1) A couple commenters have already mentioned it and they’re correct. About a month ago, Obama supporters decided to battle the healthcare reform pushback by mass-reporting Google and YouTube videos as violations. When a certain number of people report it, it goes into a queue for actual people to review. Your Mackey posts drew enough mad statists that I bet it got you reported. The following comment can be found on almost every YouTube video critical of Obama:

    barackobamaexpress: For anyone who reads this; if you want to do your part today – something patriotic today, report this video to Youtube administration. It promotes racism, and fearmongering.

    2) Radley, you’re a journalist. Google will reply to you, most likely, the same day. Just tell them your doing a story on Google’s violation process. They replied to me immediately & said they’d answer my questions but first wanted to know who I was writing a story for.

    Email our press team at press@google.com. For non-urgent matters, call +1.650.930.3555 to leave a message. If you aren’t a member of the press, you will not receive a response.

    You are a member of the press!!!! And it would be an interesting article.

    Look at this smut:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20070213174849/http://www.theagitator.com/images/hero.jpg

    Shame.

  12. #12 |  Lascia Ch'io Pianga | 

    Can I get a waiver? I am among the worst consumers in history. I very rarely spend at all, and never via the internet. As such, it is a complete waste of effort to direct advertising my way. Is my use of Adblock+ acceptable then? Remember: The chances of a sale are zero.

  13. #13 |  The Agitator » Blog Archive » Google’s Aggravating Ad Policy | 

    […] I mentioned a few weeks ago that Google had stopped serving AdSense ads to this site. The reason apparently was because of some porn-related comment spam to a seven-year-old post. I deleted the spam, and they restored the ads a few weeks later. […]