A Review of Google AdWords and AdSense

The Stinkers

I do not like Google!  Google acts with impunity.  Google acts as a predator towards small internet marketing businesses.  Google’s actions are not ethical (and remember I can make such determination as I have a Ph.D. in ethics).  I find that Google’s actions are not consistent with our standards for ethical internet marketing.

Google is an internet marketing standard with a vast array of high quality services and products especially for a website.  Many of the internet marketing services it provides are free to users.  Most of us do not go a day without Google-ing something.  It is also my understanding that working for Google is an amazing experience as they are an innovative and progressive employer.  They seem to be a very ethical employer and in fact I use them as an example of such when I teach business ethics.   However, for us small fish trying to make some money with internet marketing, I would suggest you stay as far away from Google as possible!   Run far away, run far, far away, now!   Well that probably isn’t possible and yes I still use Google products, but I especially want to warn you about AdWords and AdSense as they especially fail to live up to ethical standards.  I would suggest you stay away from AdWords and AdSense in your marketing endeavors.

Google AdWords

The reason you would want to use Adwords is to increase your website traffic.  Google AdWords is a pay-per-click system in which you pay for connecting keywords to your website thus generating traffic with each click.  Adwords can be a very effective marketing tool generating traffic for your website.  However, remember you are paying the same for each click no matter whether that traffic is at your website for a few seconds, half-an-hour, or whether they purchase anything from you.  Traffic in and of itself is not that valuable.  You need to be very careful about having a high conversion to sales rate with the traffic.   If not, you will quickly be sending hundreds or even thousands of dollars to Google via Adwords with little in return for it.  This has been exacerbated by the fact that it is increasing difficult to get affordable rates for important key terms in Adwords.  It is not unusual to see rates as high as $10-15 per click on many keywords.  Well you better convert a hell of a lot of those clicks to sales with profit margins larger than $10-15 or your business will be filing for bankruptcy before you know it.  This is hardly a good marketing strategy.  Lots of people make a profit with AdWords and many lose a lot of money with it.   In fact, I find that in-regards to the small marketing player, Google’s AdWords are predatory and therefore not ethical.   If you choose to use AdWords to generate traffic, you need to do so with care and develop the necessary skills.  I chose to shun AdWords as it never makes a profit for me and the way it preys on small players is not ethical.  They are much cheaper ways to get traffic.

Google AdSense

The reason you would use AdSense is to monetize your website.  Google’s AdSense in my experience shows even greater ethical issues.  AdSense sounds like a great idea.  It costs you nothing to join AdSense and you can make money by placing Google Ads on your website.  Every time someone clicks on one of those ads on your website, you make money.  It sounds like free money and theoretically it is.  Who wouldn’t want to sign up?

Google’s Behavior Fails To Meet The Standards of Ethical Internet Marketing

However, everything is not so wonderful in Googleland.  They have a ton of rules.  I read them all and I believe that I observed them all.  However, I received this lovely email from Google.

Hello Joel,

While going through our records recently, we found that your AdSense
account has posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers. Since
keeping your account in our publisher network may financially damage
our advertisers in the future, we’ve decided to disable your account.

Please understand that we consider this a necessary step to protect the
interests of both our advertisers and our other AdSense publishers. We
realize the inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you in
advance for your understanding and cooperation.

If you have any questions about your account or the actions we’ve
taken, please do not reply to this email. You can find more information
by visiting

https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py? answer=57153&hl=en_US
(NOTE: Original link in the email is in the text but is no longer valid. Consequently, the link has been updated to equivalent information from Google)


The Google AdSense Team

They do not tell you what you have done wrong.  They will not tell what you have done wrong.  The link will give you some generic possibilities.  But it also says that they cannot specifically tell you what you did wrong because doing so will reveal proprietary information concerning their algorithms.  That is total BS!  They could easily give at least the general area that they claim you violated without there being any impact to the secrecy or their algorithms.   I do not know what they think I did, but I certainly did nothing that would threaten their advertises as I was one of them!   At the time this happened (about seven years ago) there was no appeal from the situation.  The only appeal that Google accepted was if you had been banned for clicking on the Google Ads on your own page.  Obviously this is a temptation since you increase your income when those ads are clicked.  So why not do it yourself?  Because it would be unethical.  Moreover, Google’s algorithm will catch this and rightly so, because the advertisers are not getting interested prospects with their advertising bucks if you were to do this.  I knew that I had not done this, so I was left with no relief from this banning nor any idea what I might have done.

Google provided no second chances.  Everyone makes mistakes and a descent thing to do would be to identify what they think you did wrong and allow you the opportunity to correct it.  But of course since they will not even tell you what it is that you supposedly did, then you cannot possibly rectify the situation.

Then comes the real kicker, whatever money you have in your account that is due you, they confiscate it.  Yes they do not pay you!  Instead they say they redistribute it to their advertisers.  That might make sense if there is a direct relationship between what you did wrong and those particular ads.  That would be the case if you had made money by clicking on ads on your own website, but for anything else there is little to no connection between the two.  Of course you have no idea if there is any connection because they will not tell you what you did.  In my case it was not much money, something like $40.  But quite frankly, I consider it a theft that Google has perpetrated against me.  That is not ethical.  Oh yes their terms of agreement say that if you are banned you forfeit your balance.  But warning me in advance does not make it right.  Telling me in advance that you are going to rob me does make any difference in terms of ethics.  Especially since there is no charge of what I did wrong or any evidence of it.  Also, I would be interested to know if any advertiser has ever received a refund because of such actions.  Why am I suspicious that Google’s claim that they redistribute money to advertisers is nothing but a blatant lie?

Case Update

Well, five years later Google theoretically liberalized their appeal process.  They now allow for anyone to appeal.  So after having my website down for several years, I recently decided to open up a brand new one, though with the same name and purpose.  So I decided to appeal my banning by Google.  Surly after five years they would let bygones be bygones and provide me with a second chance to reform from whatever it is they think I did in the past.  Of course you can’t really reform from something that, at least in my case, I do not think I did.  Nor can you reform from an actual transgression when they won’t tell what the transgression was.  You see here that Google has created a perfect catch-22.  They can’t trust you not to do it again because they won’t tell you what it is you are to avoid doing.  So they turned down my appeal.  I suspect they turn down virtually every appeal.  What follows is the lovely email I received this time:


Thank you for your appeal. We appreciate the additional information you’ve
provided, as well as your continued interest in the AdSense program.

However, after thoroughly re-reviewing your account data and taking your
feedback into consideration, our specialists have confirmed that we’re
unable to reinstate your AdSense account.

As a reminder, if you have any questions or concerns about your account,
the actions we’ve taken, or invalid activity in general, you can find more
information by visiting

(NOTE: Original link in the email is in the text but is no longer valid. Consequently, the link has been updated to equivalent information from Google)


The Google AdSense Team

This experience is not mine alone.  I have heard of this happening to many online marketers.  In addition, the same thing happened to an advertising co-op in which I was a member.  This co-op was run by one of the most honest individuals on the internet.  I am convinced that he did not intentionally violate Google’s rules and I doubt that he actually violated the rules.  In that case Google took a couple hundred of my dollars and thousands dollars from the co-op overall.  Was there any explanation?  Of course not.  Google does whatever Google wants.

While Google is not a governmental agency and therefore can do or not do business with whomever it wants, Google is so dominant on the internet that its power is dangerous, especially when it acts in such tyrannical ways.  Google’s internet search index is essentially a public square and that requires them to act fairly and with some transparency.  Because the place Google has created has become a public square, it requires them to have an unusually high ethical standards.  Instead they are prosecutor, witnesses, judge, jury, and executioner, and are accountable to no one but themselves.  That is simply not ethical.  They hold all the evidence and do share it, do not bother to inform you of the charges, find you guilty, banish you from the Google internet kingdom and seize your assets.  Big Brother is here and it’s a corporation.

I recommend that in your internet marketing you avoid using Google AdWords and AdSense because they fail to meet ethical standards.  There are better ways to generate traffic and income from the internet.  Adwords and AdSense have joined The Stinkers List.  Phew!


Ps.  Be sure to check out all of our reviews.



About the Author

With a Ph.D. in ethics and a long-time educator, Accer has for the past ten years created websites providing valuable information and honest reviews of products.

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