An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

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October 26, 2007

The AdSense Loop

I didn't want to post about this, but Google disappointed me enough to do it. Last week, I received a message from AdSense that informed me I was "displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with [their] policies". More specifically, the problem was the usage of "Google Brand Features", such as the "Google" from this blog's URL.

This is the second time I receive this message from Google. Last year, a post from Philipp Lenssen's Google Blogoscoped made Google change its mind. Thanks to Matt Cutts and other Googlers, I got this reply:

"While we do require that publishers obtain permission before running AdSense ads on Blogger sites that contain Google Trademarks in the URL, we've re-reviewed your site and are happy to grant you permission to continue running ads on"

This week, Google disabled the ads again, for the same reasons as before, but this time I didn't receive any reply from Google. It's strange to see this if you think that Google Operating System has never mislead people into thinking it's an official Google blog and the usage of "Google" in a subdomain should be allowed: "Don't register Google trademarks as second-level domain names," says one of the many Google guidelines. There are many important sites that use "Google" as part of the subdomain or domain name and Google still serves ads for these sites. What's more, I received permission to run ads on this blog.


Update (13 hours later).

Interesting response from Google: "As you know, we value automation, and sometimes, that automation is unable to parse nuances that separate illegal use from legal use." Hopefully, Google will do a better job at detecting the AdSense policy violations in the future and will adopt a clearer set of rules.

Thank you, Matt Cutts and Vic Gundotra.


  1. Let you know that you have me as your supporter.


  2. Do the ads really make you that much money anyway?

    (I support you, I just wonder whether ads are required.)

  3. Been there, done that. I was actually annoyed that they gave some people special treatment, despite their words to the contrary. Better to ban everyone or no one, to my mind.

  4. Hey Google, DO NO EVIL!

  5. The Guardian newspaper recently got confused, and said that your page comparing searches was a Google page. I commented on it, but I can't find the page now.

    I wonder if this is related?

  6. that's their mistake.

    This blog has got "Google Operating System Unofficial news and tips about Google" big and obvious at the top.


  7. Well... you are kinda leeching money by using the Google name.

    I still love your site, and am always stopping by to catch the latest news, but it IS all about Google, so it would be fair enough if they chose not to serve you with Ads.

  8. Hey, I just dropped you an email. I saw that this happened earlier today and I'm prodding some people now.

  9. Talk about special treatment, at least you get a reason, with a reply no less - and from Matt himself on top of that!

    I've been thrown in their crapbox twice now on a rollover blog with no idea why. How the hell are they making the internet a better place by doing that?

    No feedback and crappy AdSense/Analytics UI's have them in the eternal doghouse with me.

    btw: I just turned by blogroll AdSense ads on after a month-long hiatus. Why were all the ads "Billy the Kid", "Billy Bob Banana" and all that crap for a tech rollover blog? Who the hell knows, tehy don't try to make things better by giving a reason, they just flip a switch and go with it!

    Hell, while I'm at it, another recent Google grip - what kind of doctorate does it take to meet their standards for being part of their project where we get paid to photo local businesses at $10 a pop? I don't know either, but I waited many weeks for a 'screw you' email, and I have no idea why.

    So all in all, at least you got a letter :-)

    Thanks for all your hard work by the way. G/L.

    damn, Matt almost got to see my rant too...

  10. Switch to another ads provider?

  11. @Lol Hon Chun:

    Not that much as you'd think, but it's not just about money. I understand the principle of respecting Google's branding, but using Google in a subdomain name (not in a domain name) should not be a problem.

    I agree with you, but in this case I feel this blog got special treatment when it was banned. An automated system would've blocked many other sites that use Google in the (sub)domain name, like .

    I did the best I could to clarify that this blog is unofficial. Now there are two occurrences of the word "unofficial" at the top of the page and a disclaimer at the bottom. Google's blogs usually have "official" in the title. If you have suggestions for some other changes, I'm happy to listen.

    Thank you. I know your work is unrelated to problems like this

    I don't want special treatment, I want fair treatment for everyone. If you think treated you bad, send your story in an email and I'll make a post from it.

  12. Hi and thanks for your great articles,

    I have no opinion on your issue, but I wanted to let you know that I thought for a long time that your blog was an official one, or at least one from an (ex?) employee of google.

    if they keep disabling ads for you, just redirect the website and the feed to another url

  13. Hi Alex, I like your articles, even though I've just found your site recently. I support your opinions and hope the fair treatment returned soon. Cheers!

  14. its horrible but policies are policies. all you can do is accept it.

    anyway, i suggest you move to a different website url and leave a redirect here :-/ i know, too much hassle

  15. Wow, I wish I had a blog important enought that all I had to do is mention my adsense account is broken and Matt Cutts shows up within four hours!

    I haven't been able to log into my adsense account since they changed it to using google accounts, strange thing is I can still use adwords...

  16. Google doesn't appear to have an automated system to disable ads from domains that use Google brand features, oddly enough. It appears to be completely manual. If you see the posting I mentioned before, you'll see that I was able to deduce from my referrer logs that there's a "hit list" of potentially infringing sites maintained by some group in Google. It's probably based on that.

    Now I have no problems with Google protecting its trademarks. And they can pretty much do whatever they want if you read the AdSense terms and conditions closely enough anyhow. But when they chose to stop serving ads on I appealed the decision and even faxed in a brand features licensing form... all to no avail, because they told me that there were no exceptions made for AdSense publishers.

    But after I go through the hassle of moving everything to a different domain, you run into the same situation and then lo and behold Matt Cutts comes in as your deus ex machina and you magically get to keep your ads running.

    Instead of hoping for divine intervention, it seems to me that Google should allow AdSense publishers to use the existing brand features licensing forms to get permission to show ads on nominally infringing domains. If it's a legitimate site/blog then the publisher should have no problem filling in this kind of form.

    But that's just my opinion.


  18. Still no update for me on the AdSense ban of I agree AdSense support shouldn't be about whose email address you know or who reads your blog, that is unfair. Google should start being honest about why they really AdSense-ban a site. If they tell that the site is banned because they don't allow "google" in the subdomain then that should be a rule and not need "manual" decisions. And if that's not a clear rule, then they shouldn't mention it as the sole reason for a banning.

  19. (Yikes, I subscribed to new comments for this feed using Blogger's recent feature, and indeed received a new comment alert... but one citing my own comment! How redundant.)

  20. I knew it when i saw this, that:
    1. Matt follows this blog. Look at the number of comments he has left in your blog . Some more anonymously.
    2. Matt cutts is a powerful man in Gooogle!
    3. Hence, Your post will make a difference.

  21. Sorry that this happened to Google Operating System again. :(

    Lakshman, other people at Google also saw this post and were emailing within Google. So it wasn't just me asking about this.

  22. Glad to see the issue was resolved. I think too many are making a bigger deal about this than is necessary - Google's automation algorithms aren't perfect, they're gonna make mistakes now and then. Cut them a little slack. I don't think they are being EVIL or intentionally malicious. Though it did surprise me to see how many of the commenters talked about their own negative experiences with adsense.

  23. Ken, no one's complaining about AdSense, just the inconsistent application of a domain name policy that prevents those of us with serious blogs from displaying AdSense ads on them if they happen to use a Google brand feature in the domain name... unless your blog is read by Googlers, it seems.

  24. this had nothing to do with automation. it was some adsense support person (likely in india) reviewing your site and applying the policy. however, the ad hoc policy appears to be, you can't do it unless you are "quality" site. i'm not sure that ad hoc is good enough for a company of google's size.

  25. I got your back. This is one of my favorite blogs ever. Netvibes RSS'd for 1+ year.

  26. I love Google.

    I despise their adsense policies. I had something similar happen to me. Blocked. Reviewed and reversed. Blocked. Reviewed and reversed again. Blocked a third time with no response. In spite of being told by a human that my site was ok, their automation software didn't get the message. There are a lot of people that are very alienated by the extremely rude and inconsistent Google behavior.

    At least you got more communication than almost everyone else on the planet.

    I still love Google but after being repeatedly violated by Google it is hard. I hope you can not only get your problem solved but speak up for all of the others that experience similar treatment.

  27. Hey, so fianlly ads are abck again on ur site .........
    So did u receive any communication from Google....??

  28. Yes, the update and Matt Cutts' comments illustrate that. It seems that this post was the only thing that had some impact. Here's the timeline:

    Oct. 20: The letter from AdSense. I replied the same day, but I've never received a response.

    Oct. 22: Google disabled the ads.

    Oct. 24: I posted about this in Google Blogoscoped's forum.

    Oct. 25: Google Blogoscoped has a post about this on the front page.

    Oct. 26: I wrote this post and everything was solved in less than 12 hours.

  29. screw you guys, i'm going homee.. !


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