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.
"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.]