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An Open Letter to Google

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Here is a copy of an email I received from the Google folks today. I recognize that it is probably an automated letter, sent out by some cold, efficient little piece of code, but I thought it warranted a response…so here it is:

Subject: Google AdSense Policy Enforcement
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2006 16:34:08 -0800


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

Publishers are not permitted to encourage users to click on Google ads or
bring excessive attention to ad units. For example, your site cannot contain
phrases such as “click the ads,” “support our sponsors,” “visit these
recommended links,” or other similar language that could apply to the Google
ads on your site. Publishers may not use arrows or other symbols to direct
attention to the ads on their sites, and publishers may not label the Google
ads with text other than “sponsored links” or “advertisements.”

Please make any necessary changes to your web pages in the next 72 hours. We also suggest that you take the time to review our program policies
(https://www.google.com/adsense/policies) to ensure that all of your other
pages are in compliance.

Once you update your site, we will automatically detect the changes and ad
serving will not be affected. If you choose not to make the changes to your

account within the next three days, your account will remain active but you
will no longer be able to display ads on the site. Please note, however,
that we may disable your account if further violations are found in the

Thank you for your cooperation.


The Google AdSense Team


Dear Google,

Respectfully, I don’t tell you guys what to put on your site, you shouldn’t be telling me what I can put on mine.

Why don’t you go after those vast Google adword “farms” that seem to be popping up all over, who provide no real content beyond a link-fest designed to line someone’s pockets and push out viral adware, rather then picking on a tiny blog site that gets maybe a handful of click-throughs per year?

Feel free to disable my adwords account if you choose, but I have better ways to spend my time then hunting down the handful of references on my own site to things like “please click on some ads” or “support the site sponsors”. That’s my business, not yours. I can live without the $4.27 worth of revenue that you won’t send to me anyway until I hit $100, which, barring a link from Instapundit, at the current time frame, should be in 2029.[ADBLOCKHERE]

The one nice thing about being so small and doing this from motivation other than monetary gain is that it grants me the freedom, dare I say it, the sheer joy, of telling you “NO”.

I note that you are a whole lot less “strict” with your own self-imposed rules to “Don’t be evil” when you apply them to yourselves.

So bugger on off Google…Go back to colluding with the Chinese government to crush more dissidents in your relentless search for market entry, while pretending that you reside at the center of the universe. Cut me off of my pitiful Adwords revenue, I need you not!

I. DON’T. CARE. Chew on that.



P.S. I thank you for your time.

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About Deano

  • chris

    Way to go. So many people online are afraid of speaking out against Google because it could perhaps bias their indexing at Google.com.

    Hey everybody, FEAR IS EVIL. FEAR NOT!

    And hey, Google is the biggest scraping technology (and copyright infringer) on the planet.

    They make people ‘opt out’ of their programs (e.g. their attempt at indexing the worlds books).

    THATS EVIL! They really walk the line of double standards every day.

    Thanks for speaking up.

  • Amazing.

    You join THEIR service and then have the balls to complain when they ask that you follow some simply fucking rules? Good Lord.

    And then you act like the unimportant thing is Google, and not whatever worthless site you currently run. Click-through rates are pretty standard at 2-4%, if you can’t muster enough traffic, the only one at fault is you.

    How could you honestly feel that blog post was worth anyone’s time? Count your blessings that they sent an email instead of just cutting your dumbass loose.

  • Nathaniel Winn

    I’m confused!

    I admire the chutzpah displayed by Deano. (Taking Google down a notch is somewhat counter-cultural.)

    I find Chris’s comments odd, to say the least. (With the exception–and it’s a big one–of the whole China debacle, I think Google is kicking butt, and I love their scraping, copyright infringing, opting-in ways!)

    And then Ryan defends Google so vehemently and venomously that i want to hate Google all over again. (And wonder if Ryan might be an employee?)

    I’m so confused!

  • Chutzpah?

    How did some worthless little blogger take the world’s most popular company down a notch?

    Its rather ironic that he’s post his article here as well, considering Blog Critic is a major Adsense user.

  • I’ve been an admirer of Google, their services and their business approach for a long time but their recent kowtow to the Chinese government has left a bad taste in my mouth.

    Receiving the email letter asking me to remove references to their ads from my site (a grand total of three references, none of which cite Google specifically) was just the final nudge.

    I don’t need their ads, I don’t need the miniscule trickle of revenue it brings in – realistically given the traffic levels that most blogs receive, given that Google draws the line at $100 worth of click-thrus as the minimum level to reach to actually receive payment, the vast majority of blogs that participate in the Adwords program are essentially giving Google free ad space, unless they reach that magic $100 level.

    At a 2% click-thru rate and an average of about $0.4 per click, a site with 5,000 visitors annually would generate about $4….Thus Google does not matter, not to me and it probably, bluntly shouldn’t matter to 90% of the Blogosphere, which sits there and relentlessly provides Google with essentially “free” ad space that they will, in all probability, never have to pay out for.

  • Interesting – this post has been cross-posted to Desicritics.org for further appreciation – check out the comments there too

  • Thanks Aaman!

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    So, Deano, I have a stupid question for you. Do you have somewhere other than Google to go? Can you ditch them, in other words, and do business with someone else?

  • I know that Yahoo is running a beta of a similar service, and I’ve heard of a few other ad distribution systems that you can sign up for but I have never investigated the details.

    The downside is they are not as well-known as Google but they may have lower payout thresholds, so you might actually see some return on your adspace.

    The alternative to doing business with Google in my case is just not to do business. I’m not likely to see much return for the ads anyway, so uncluttering my site or using that ad sapce for something like Amazon, might be a better alternative.

  • at least you were close to your $100. as far as ads, I’m not sure that telling people to click on them is of any help anyway as the ads through adsense are only relevant when you stick to the handful of keywords that will trigger the right ads, of which there are perhaps like ten or twenty, i don’t know. I should use text ads as well but i find them a bit boring, and am unsure why anyone else would click on them if i wouldn’t if i saw them on someone elses site. right now i’m using everything, including search and referrals for firefox and the service itself. why aren’t personal attacks allowed? i welcome negative criticism of my own site it’s the only way you’ll know how to get it right.

  • me again. is it me or does this always happen to someone when Google is close to paying them, like they’ve earned $99.50 or something, i’ve heard others complain about Google when they were in a similiar situation.