Google is the only company on the Internet that I actively try to avoid, so I am coming clean here: I hate Google. Having said that, I still use some of their services or I have old accounts with them like Google Analytics, gMail and Adsense to name but a few out of the dozen or so, but do not use them.
However, my attitude towards the Internet giant has not always been so negative. Google shot to fame with their revolutionary search engine, but it really became my hero when they set up Adsense and accepted my application for an account.
They were empowering small guys everywhere to make a few dollars a day from the Internet.
I started earning a few dollars a week with them, which was nothing to me, but when I moved to Thailand to live, I soon became aware that kids were now able to earn the same sort of money as their unskilled parents and so make a real contribution to their family’s economy.
Once I got the hang of Adsense, I was earning $1,000 a month, and that went a long way in Thailand. It was the wage of a foreign English teacher, or about half as much again as a medium-sized farmer.
One day, I awoke to check my Google Adsense account and it had been ‘temporarily suspended’. In a panic, I immediately contacted Google support staff.
A receipt note for the support ticket, told me to expect a reply within three days, but suggested that I join the support forum, which I did.
I was shocked. It looked like thousands of other Google Adsense accounts had been closed very recently in a swoop by Google called Panda.
A man in a forum offered to help, so I answered his questions. “All your sites have the same look and cross-promote one another! No wonder you got banned”, he snarled.
“So do your Google sites”, I protested, “what’s wrong with that?”
“Oh, I don’t work for Google. I just help them out in the forums as an amateur”.
That was me done with their amateur help forums, but I kept getting snotty comments for weeks. How dare a company that earns so much money use untrained amateur support staff!? It is a ridiculous state of affairs.
However, the official Google support staff were no better. The reply that I had been waiting for said something like: “It appears that some of the sites you are using Adsense on are, or may be, associated with disreputable websites which contravenes Google’s Terms and Conditions”.
Well, none of my sites were disreputable, so I told them them that. Three days later, I received a reply. “Perhaps, some of your sites are sharing servers with sites Google considers disreputable, or your sites are mentioned on them in the form of links”.
I had never got involved with link farms, so I wrote to my hosts to tell them what Google had said. They wanted to know which sites were disreputable, but I didn’t know, so I asked Google. Three days later, I received the reply that Google could not go into specific details. They suggested that I look for links to my websites (all 140 of them), and write to the firms owning those sites requesting that links to my sites be removed. I spent a week writing hundreds of emails, but there were well over 10,000 links to my websites. Most people didn’t even reply, and I had lost almost a month of earnings.
Arguments went back and fore between Google and me, but they wouldn’t help me any more specifically, and then, one day, the temporary ban was made permanent.
Once lost, a Google Adsense account will never be restored. I and tens of thousands of other small guys lost a source of income, and I reckon that this was a cold-blooded move to save Google the cost of writing millions of small cheques. After all, if you want to buy online, you don’t care whether it is from a giant corporation or a one-man band, and it is cheaper to pay a few giants large cheques than millions of small traders tiny ones.
At that point, Google had decided to abandon its earlier principle of sticking with the small man, and joined forces with the giant elite.
At that point Google lost my support too.