Banned by Adsense

I don’t know where we went wrong, but we have been banned for life from using Adsense ads!  As you know, last month we initiated an experiment with advertising on this site to see if it was possible to earn income from a travel blog.  We incorporated Adsense ads as well as Affiliate ads into our site.

The application and approval process used by Adsense is particularly rigorous.  I guess they need to make sure the sites that host the ads of their paying advertisers will comply with their equally stringent rules and policies.  After getting approved, it then took some effort to incorporate the ads into our site, although, admittedly, this was quite easily achieved through the use of a very user-friendly plug-in for WordPress.

We spent the month of December monitoring our Adsense account, watching our earnings grow almost daily.  Daily earnings ranged between a few cents at the low end and a little over a dollar on a good day.  We had no idea how this compared to the average site, although these numbers were much higher than we expected.  By the end of the month, we had earned a whopping $28.82. This got us thinking about the possibilities of setting up multiple sites on niche subjects that we could write about.  It seemed a simple matter of economies of scale, the more sites we hosted, the higher our earnings.  Could we be onto something here?  Or was this too good to be true?  You know what they say…….

Concurrent with our Adsense ads, we set up a few affiliate ads for companies that we have personally done business with and would recommend them to our friends, namely: iPage our website hosting provider, World Nomads our travel insurance provider, and CheapoAir where we get the best prices on airfare.  The pricing model for affiliate ads is quite different from Adsense where you get paid based on users clicking on your ads.  With affiliate ads, you get paid a percentage or flat fee when someone makes a purchase through the link on your site.  Our one month of affiliate ads yielded a big fat zero in earnings.

As we prepared to settle down in Chiang Mai for a while, our creative juices were flowing  as visions of dollar signs danced in our heads.  We spent time researching ideas and playing with the technology.  Our enthusiasm ebbed and flowed as we got excited with each new idea, only to be crushed when we poked holes into it or realized it had already been done before.  While we were doing all of this work – and it really did feel like work, at least from what we remember work feels like – I met Monique, the lady with the non-profit Association who I mentioned in an earlier post, for whom I offered to create a website.  My efforts at finding a money-making venture were put on hold, as this altruistic project consumed far more time than I had planned.

Suddenly, out of the blue, we received an email from Google Adsense, telling us that our ad account was permanently disabled because we were in violation of their policies.  No explanation.  All appeals for an explanation, for more information, for some direction on how to correct our mysterious violations, were flatly refused now that  we were allegedly guilty of invalid click activity.  Not to mention any names, but we strongly suspect some of our readers may have been a little over-zealous in helping our coffee fund.  Obviously, Big Brother is watching!

To add insult to injury, we can’t even get paid our measly $28.82 because they locked us out of our account before we received our PIN number which we needed for security reasons.  They really aren’t kidding when they say we are banned from their program.  In reality, our Adsense earnings for the month was another big fat zero.  Good thing we didn’t quit our day jobs…..wait a minute, we did quit our day jobs….guess that’s why we’re heading home in April.  

Thanks guys.


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2 Responses
  1. Jennifer Wells says:

    Laughing all the way to the bank – or not!
    Still enjoying following your travels.
    I recommended your site to a friend who is planning to walk the Camino later this year.

    • christina says:

      Hi Jenny
      Glad to hear you’re still following us. You might want to mention to your friend that the best way to see all our Camino stories is by using the Category search on the left hand side of our site. There is a category for Camino de Santiago – Chris and Camino de Santiago – Christina. If she selects one of those, she’ll see all the articles we each wrote. Unfortunately the posts are displayed with the most recent first, whereas it is best to start with the oldest which is the beginning of our Camino story. You can click “previous entries” at the bottom of the page to get back to the beginning. It might even be easier to use the Archive widget and select May/June 2012. Hope to see you in Canada when you do your East Coast trip.