Ballistics by the inch

Wherein Google Adsense screws us royally.

My Good Lady Wife, who does all the grunt work to run the BBTI website, just heard from Google Adsense that they have denied our appeal.

What appeal? Well, last month was the first full month for us to be running the Google Ads in order to help offset the time and cost of having BBTI free for everyone to use. Initially, it looked like it was going to be a reasonably good thing, generating an estimated $120 for the entire month. Then, after the month was over, Google Adsense said that actual earnings was just $24. When my wife asked why the discrepancy, Google Adsense came back with the answer that they had determined that we had somehow engaged in “invalid click activity” (i.e.: fraud) and that not only were they not going to answer the discrepancy, but that they were closing our Google Adsense account and refunding the $24 to the advertisers.

Oh, and they refused to say what “invalid click activity” they had detected.

My wife appealed the decision, of course, since we have a very solid track record of how many people visit the site, and all the estimates were in accord with what we’ve seen over the years. All she got back from Google Adsense was that they were rejecting the appeal and that it sucks to be us.

I can’t begin to express how annoying this is. As I’ve noted here over the last three years, we run thousands upon thousands upon thousands of visitors a month, and the site has become a standard reference for firearms enthusiasts around the world. I don’t know if Google Adsense is just anti-gun, or what, but it really feels like they have screwed us over.

And the accusation that we have engaged in something tantamount to fraud is just insulting.

We’ve pulled the ads from the site, of course. What we’ll do next remains to be seen.

But let this be a cautionary tale about working with Google Adsense.

Jim Downey

March 15, 2012 - Posted by | Discussion., Links


  1. If you have been watching the print news, despite all the noise from the RNC circus, you may have noticed a recent New York Times editorial and related news stories recently about Greg Smith a “mid level executive” at Goldman Sachs (making “only $500K per year”). Sadly, his published “OP-ED” confirms the unethical behavior many of us have come to take for granted in American business.

    Google recently went public with their own policy changes from their original “Do No Evil” corporate mantra. Originally, that slogan was perceived by most of us as a charming indication of Google’s intentions to be a more ethical and responsible corporate citizen of the world. Sadly, they are now just another greedy corporate culture, as your experience demonstrates.

    F. Scott Fitzgerald is credited with saying, “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” He was right. We are regularly seeing the unfortunate results in American business and politics with increasing frequency.

    Comment by TucsonMTB | March 15, 2012 | Reply

  2. […] in March I reported on how Google Adsense had screwed us over. Well, after looking at a number of options and being realistic about what kind of revenue […]

    Pingback by June? Already? « Ballistics by the inch | June 1, 2012 | Reply

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