Quindlen's Shameful Ageism
The Amazing Blooming Jade Plant

Google Accuses Crabby Old Lady of Dishonesty

See that empty white space in the right sidebar? And the other one just above the comments section here and on The Elder Storytelling Place? That's where Crabby Old Lady's Google Ads once were - until Monday when Google disabled Crabby's account.

Google's email was short on explanation. Apparently, Crabby poses a "significant risk" to Adsense advertisers and further investigation on Crabby's part revealed this in the web giant's Disabled Account FAQ:

"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, including any web pages, users, or third-party services that may have been involved.

And further:

"As you may know, Google treats invalid click activity very seriously, analyzing all clicks and impressions to determine whether they fit a pattern of use that may artificially drive up an advertiser's costs or a publisher's earnings. If we determine that an AdSense account may pose a risk to our AdWords advertisers, we may disable that account to protect our advertisers' interests."

Crabby Old Lady doesn't have a clue what Google is talking about.

To raise a little extra cash, at the suggestion of a TGB reader she signed up for Google Adsense about five or six weeks ago, read all their rules and regulations, posted the code to her blogs and got on with her life. She fiddled with the colors in the ads a couple of times, but that seems to be allowed. On a few occasions when an ad caught Crabby's attention, she tracked down the advertiser by other means than clicking the ad which is disallowed by Google for site owners. So that couldn't be the issue.

Google now declines to pay Crabby the $175 or so she has earned during her several weeks of Adsense involvement. No wonder they're all millionaires at Google, confiscating honestly-earned money from a Crabby Old Lady because if Crabby has been banned without evidence or explanation, undoubtedly thousands of others have too.

A friend tells Crabby that his company lost a client when, while building a website, they included Google Ads in the design. The site was not yet public and Google suddenly banned it from the Adsense program.

Google provides no evidence of wrongdoing. Crabby Old Lady went through their appeal process which became a joke when she read that they may decline to respond - which they have not done so far - and there is nothing she can do to refute secret evidence beyond proclaiming her innocence. It's like being denied the right to confront one's accusers in court which, if Crabby's memory is in working order, is unconstitutional in the United States. But then, corporations are not democracies; all civil rights are left at the door when one is employed by or contracted with corporations.

Google's time would be better spent disabling the splog sites that plague Crabby by scraping her blog's content and posting their own Google ads - that's a real fraud.

Crabby, on the other hand, played by the rules. She is an honest person. And she is highly embarrassed at being banned by Google. When she read their email the first time, she felt her face get hot. That subsided and she woke the next morning in a rage over Google's unwarranted accusations and summary judgment.

It's not nice for a billion-dollar company to impugn the integrity of a Crabby Old Lady.

For many years, Crabby has relied on Google Alerts to keep her abreast of all things related to aging. She would now like to divest herself of all things Google and if anyone has a good alternative to Google Alerts, please do let Crabby know. She will also be using a different search engine from now on.

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lia continues her series of stories about embarrassment and humiliation with The Mousetrap of Cockiness.]


Comments

The word that comes to mind over this is "Kafkaesque." Unfortunately, as our corporate culture learns to takes further advantage of the anonymity of the internet, I'm afraid this will be more common in the future, if not the norm.

How appalling!
Pehaps the misdeed is happening through you and they therefore operate as if it's by you. Good grief.

Maybe you've got a dedicated reader who's also a dedicated ad clicker which made some sort of pattern that Google is talking about. I think they could at least give you some explanation of what's happened. You're right, you're probably not the only person this has happened to so it's no wonder you and others are very disenfranchised.

Sorry can't help with alternatives to Google alerts.

The 'analyzing all clicks and impressions' that Google claims to do is almost certainly done by computers, not by live people. So I would lay odds that whatever happened was some sort of over-zealousness on the part of a machine somewhere - similar to what happens when bona fide messages get caught in spam traps.
Google probably has no way of discovering what really happened. So instead of telling you that and apologizing, like the manager of your corner store would, Google will ignore you. Because it is now too big and too successful and too well-established at the top of the heap to care.
I loved Google when it first appeared. But it is rapidly becoming like Microsoft and Walmart and Amazon - the sort of corporation we all hate but find it hard to avoid because it is now practically the only game in town. Most people are too lazy to learn Linux, too lazy to mess with other search engines and too lazy to find alternatives to supermarkets. This is how capitalism works. It leads inexorably to totalitarian rule.

That would explain the "Site Not Found" notices that were interspersed with readers's comments as I was reading your blog, yesterday. Most assuredly, for $175, there is no human involved in your transactions with Google. The machines are just doing what they were programmed to do. Bummer!

this must be very frustrating. thanks for explaining the ins/outs of another aspect of the big G. been wondering about the "page cannot be found" text that has started to appear along with the empty space you describe.

i agree with marian's comment about the dangers of bigness. just wish she had not chastised those with fewer computer skills than linus-users.

those of us over 70 who use the machine--even blog--are a small subgroup within our demographic. please celebrate our efforts!

When the innocent have no recourse it becomes a frightening world we now live in. I hope someone from Google reads this post.

Would some of you who have encountered "page cannot be found" messages, tell Crabby under what circumstances it occurred - what you tried to click when it happened...

It can't be connected with the Google disabling. It is more likely a Typepad issue or Crabby screwing up some link code.

I had adsense for a nanosecond. I just removed the page element from my template. I had written an article on cheating spouses, and how that figured into spousal murder, and suddenly, up popped an ad for a hook-up service featuring "bored housewives." As that didn't figure in my plan for my blog, I asked Google to remove the ad, and, like you, never heard from them.

"page cannot..." is on my screen now, between your text and the "comments." It happened when I went to "comments."

Ah, thanks notdotdot. Although it's not showing up on the page for Crabby, she's sure it will disappear when she removes the Google code tomorrow. She left it in place for today's post so reader's can see what she's talking about.

To start, I know nothing about this issue, have never had an ad, nor clicked on one at a blog, but wonder if google is trying to favor its own blogs over others with ads? This whole 'excuse' they offered doesn't make much sense, and they have been accused of such unfairness before.

I do know that when people, who have Blogger sites, have problems, they never get a response from google either. One of those I read could suddenly no longer post pictures. For quite awhile, she tried to write to them for why it happened and never heard anything. I don't know if they have no way to deal with the public beyond a computer or what the deal is, but it has definitely hurt their reputation.

It would upset me too, to get such an email, as like you I try to follow all the rules. To be falsely accused of cheating is always hurtful and then maddening when you can't get an explanation for what happened.

This is awful. Really ugly, and I am sorry. No human hand was ever involved with these decisions, and your appeals will never see a human either. But word of mouth can be very meaty stuff.

That is ugly. :( I have no alternative for the alerts to offer, but I hope that you will share with us what you end up using if you do find an alternative - we might want it as well.

I had to warn a couple of relatives to not do me any favors by repeatedly clicking on ads.

But I’ve heard that sometimes competing advertisers will attack their rivals by flooding them with obvious bogus hits. Google should be able to track the offender although as you say, Google is so big that they probably don’t bother to make the effort.

My only suggestion is to give them a little more time. In past correspondence with Google I’ve found them to be really slow in responding. (Like weeks)

Evil, wicked, mean and bad and nasty! What I want to know is: how an inadvertent click can be differentiated from an intentional click and how can either be invalid?

Deejay is right "kafkaesque" is the perfect word for this.

I signed up for Adsence, the ads appeared, but no money or not even an e-mail to say I made no money. I guess they just have free advertising from me, of course, I probably do not have much traffic.

This is very disturbing. I'm sorry that happened to you because it does make one feel shabby and somehow dishonest. Creepy to be treated in that way and then only to find it is a machine doing it to you! How frustrating to be left with no recourse.
Facing another nasty problem of growing older... we cannot solve problems as we once did because the other side is not even human.
I think I had Google Ad-sense on PD Budd's blog for a short time. Or perhaps it's still on, forgot to check. No one ever reads or comments on my cat's intelligent blog so I am sure no one is doing any ad-clicking.

HOWEVER, I can suggest a different search engine that offers a by-pass to any drone following and storing search information.
Try using www.ask.com. In the upper right corner is a box asking if you want to keep your name private with no tracking. Also, this will mean you yourself will have no record except in your own computer history file, which should be enough.

I like Ask. com. It has all the information that Google has.
It used to be called Ask Jeeves.com and was designed for school children's homework research.
Then last year it grew up and dropped the "Jeeves."
Drop Google, dear readers, if you can!

Crabby Lady, I think you used to use blogspot.com. I still do. It is owned by Google now and so tracking on all Blogspot.com blogs goes on. Also, Google's G.mail tracks everything in every email that one sends or receives including group chats. Or if someone you emailto hase the g.mail address then your email is also noted and every noun is marked for advertising to you!
"BIG Brother Google" follows us 24/7.

Thank you for sharing this event. It is leading me to find a new free blog server at the very least. Any suggestions?
Now, I resolve to remember to use Ask.com instead reaching for that easy Google box all the time.

Just to let you be aware, the sponsored search and advertising components of Ask.com are actually operated by Google. This agreement has existed for a while. In November 2007, the agreement was extended for another five years for an estimated $3.5 billion.

What a steep and uncomfortable learning curve. Keep looking for alternative search engines though. I suspect we would all like info.

I know how you feel! When I was an Earthlink subscriber in the mid-90's I used the Internet for business and personal related emails of a very low volume. Someone spoofed me (used my email address to spam tons of folks) without my knowledge and I was summarily dumped from Earthlink and accused of spamming. No amount of explanation on my part - that I was in my 50's, ran a very small business and depended heavily on email, had too much integrity to spam, yada, yada, would sway them. I was guilty without a trial or any hope of proving myself innocent. I can understand your rage at being discounted and treated the way you were treated; and by machines at that! At least in those days I had the opportunity to talk to a real human being, albeit one who didn't believe me and was discourteous to boot.

I have a Google Blogger blog as well as a TypePad blog and have been working on dumping the Blogger one. Now it seems even more important to divest myself of the mad monster called Google.

Perhaps a pithy post by your readers on our Blogs about the rise of Google's machines will start a firestorm. I'm willing to do it because I don't care if Google disables my blog; it will just be more food for the fire.

I use Altavista for searching out of habit, which I think is Yahoo. In fact, if you are looking for alternatives to Google, you'll probably find a number of them at Yahoo.

If by Alerts, you mean subscriptions to know when people have updated (RSS feeds), then I can recommend Bloglines. Also, if you use Thunderbird as a mail client, that has an option to work as an RSS reader as well.

And for what it's worth, Taymar is my gaming alter-ego. ;)

Stupid Google! Whatever happened to their mission statement: Don't Be Evil? I'm so sorry this happened to you. It's ridiculous.

Google has become teh evil. I dislike it more and more these days.

BTW, this will make you happy, Ronni:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/01/31/BUO5UPQUC.DTL

Show them to mess around with Crabby Old Lady!

I'm so sorry to hear that! I always worry myself even though I follow the rules. Here are a couple of discussions that may help you - you may need to register to read them though:

"What to do when you're kicked out of Adsense"
http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum89/5794.htm

"I have been reinstated-adsense has let me back in"
http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum89/5960.htm

I keep those threads bookmarked just in case I need them someday.

If you post your problem in the adsense forum at webmasterworld you may get some help too. But keep in mind that people post there all the time that they were kicked out and did nothing wrong but many times it turns out they did so sometimes people there can be a bit harsh and rude when people post about having this problem.

It might be worth trying to send a sticky/pm to one of the moderators too before you post. They are all nice. I met martinibuster and Go60Guy at a conference once too - although they probably don't remember - and I know they are nice and might have suggestions on how to appeal to adsense to let you back in.

(Webmasterworld has lots of other useful information and helpful people too which you may find to be worth your time to look around at. And no its not my site nor am I associated with it - just a long time member who has learned a lot there.)

I've been giving some thought to adding Ad sense to my blog, too. But not now; you have convinced me.

I always use and can recommend Scroogle Scraper for searching. Scroogle prevents Google from tracking and recording your searches.

Yahoo has alerts:

http://alerts.yahoo.com/

Slightly different results - so you'll miss a few things - and receive a few things you hadn't with Google.

this just happened to a friend of mine. I think when you hit the payout threshold it triggers a "check" of your site. She's been trying to appeal with info she's learned from sites such as the ones listed in the comments above. But so far, no answer.

One blog I visit has a PayPal button that I can click when I want to send money. I only found this blog at the first of the year, but so far I've made two modest contributions. I figure I would gladly pay $20 or more a year for magazine subscription, so I gladly pay a bit to help this blogger I enjoy. I would do the same for Crabby. I don't suppose that $5 here and $10 there will add up to a fortune, and most readers will continue to enjoy TGB for free, but it might add up to $175 after a while.

Regarding another blogging service, I use WordPress, which I like better than Blogger (which I tried). It's: www.wordpress.com.

Another fine search engine is www.alltheweb.com. Looks like it's high time to shun google (small "g" on purpose).

I concur with several other commenters regarding alternate search engines -- www.ask.com is a good alternative to google. My wife, who is a librarian and an expert on search engines, swears by ask.com. She cannot stand google because it's like drinking water from a fire hydrant. However, you're going to have a hard time replacing Google News Alerts -- I'm not aware of any free news service that can do the same.

Ayay. This is awful! I agree with another reader that possibly a competitor, or someone who doesn't appreciate your perspective set out to click aggressively on your site. As you know, I run Google ads on my site and I've not had any problems yet (now I AM going to knock on wood), but I'm very disheartened to hear that you aren't getting a response from Google. Doesn't seem very fair at all.

Wendy

Outrageous is all I can say! To think that Microsoft is going to take over Yahoo, and Google is taking over the world and accusing honest people of being dishonest! Where are we goin?

Do you have anything like a small claims court in your state? We have this in the UK which allows you to claim for debts up to around £5000 without running up a huge legal bill. Might be worth a try just to ruffle their feathers a bit.

It seems you do

http://www.courts.state.me.us/mainecourts/smallclaims/

Ironically found via Google...

Fortunately I am yet to subscribe to adsense.

Crabby,

I found your site while searching for others who have gone throught the same thing I have. Your story is like mine and thousands of others.

I would like to invite you to reprint your story (or write a new one) at my new article site. http://www.googlehorrorstories.net

The purpose of my site is to create a warehouse of Google Horror Stories for the purpose of effecting positive change at Google. I don't know if it will work, but I do know that as long as stories like yours and mine remain spread all aver the internet, the average Joe will not even have a clue. But if we all band together and put our horror stories in one place and then get popular enough that the RSS syndication gets pulled by other sites, we can at least get the word about about what Google is doing and maybe they will change their ways. It sould like a fairy tale I know, but I must dream big!

I just recently had my account disabled. The email said that I 'may financially damage our advertisers in the future' ... with my $50/yr of adsense income. The innocent until proven guilty attitude really annoys me. I've been the model adsense publisher since day one and played by their rules. Anyways, $50/yr isn't going to break the bank I guess!

Ronnie:

Given your experience with Google, I thought that you might enjoy this post at my blog:

http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/05/google-monolith.html

George

Same thing happened to me about a year ago. I'm not much into conspiracy theories, but in this case, maybe.

Seems likely Google gets payments from the advertisers based on visits to the ads, and then cuts off the bloggers at payout time. There are enough potential AdSense users so they can just recru1t another batch of AdSense hosts.

I hope this is not the case, but what other explanation is there?

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