About two weeks ago I got this warning from Google, that one or more of my sites is in violation of Google Adsense policies and I must comply with guidelines within three days or remove their ads from my pages. Google always pisses me off so the first thing I did, at 5:30 a.m. because I couldn’t sleep, was to take all their ads down.
After doing some research, when I wasn’t just railing to myself about how these bastards think they can tell me how to write and what to do, I discovered that is a good thing to take down your Google ads if you get this warning. If you aren’t running their ads and can’t meet their guidelines, it prevents them from simply suspending your account.
[I tried to learn from this experience and improve my site to the degree that I can, and I’ve spent a lot of time on this, this winter. One of their complaints was that I had “landing pages” listed in the top menu and they didn’t like that. I shifted the lists of related posts and pages to the dropdown from the top menu bar, seems fine. I still have the landing pages but edited the links out. I also dumped a lot of posts no one ever read, and I reorganized my “categories” so that it’s easier to use that blog feature to find related articles. I update the more popular posts as I’m doing here, and fix broken links when I can. That’s probably all I can do, and I don’t expect that Google would think it’s enough. Maybe it will help my page rank. Actually seemed to help page rank when I quit Google.]
Google hasn’t made any money for me since they revised their guidelines and decided to stop supporting independent websites like mine. Google wants to control everything including web page layout, background color and type font. Now their big push is for sites to evolve for display on smartphones. I don’t write for smartphones. I’m old enough to remember books.
Google says their guidelines promote quality content and that if you write original content of good quality you will get page rank. I have found that good sites with real information usually don’t run Google ads. Google page rank means either that you are the only one writing about “How to Kill a Mountain Lion with Your Bare Hands” or, you make lots of money for Google. If you make lots of money for Google they will try to clear out your competition.
Obviously I don’t like Google, Alice and I were both starting to do well as internet writers back when the internet was still a frontier society and everyone was on equal footing. Then Google became the equivalent of a railroad baron and things abruptly changed. That’s water under the bridge now, but I am incensed that at this late date, when I am completely over this, when I haven’t had a payout from Google for three years and made an average of two cents a day from their ads during that time, they think they have the right to tell me what to do. One of the most infuriating things about this is that they don’t even define what is actually wrong. “Deceptive site navigation” in my case probably means broken links. Well, I write about odd things, and I’m sure that in some of my old articles there are links to free downloads that aren’t there any more and probably here and there are links to some of my old pages that were attacked by hackers a few years ago and aren’t available any longer. I have a lot of material online just in this one blog, the only site I have left, and I’m busy. I actually go outside the house and do things. I have no time to fix all of that. “Deceptive site navigation” could also mean that I have gateway pages with lists of articles to which I provide links, such as my Commentary or Axe page do. (Look up top, they are in the blog menu). Google doesn’t like this. I don’t care what Google likes.
I think that even old articles with broken links do have some value. I might re-publish some of the work I did take offline and link to that, but I’m reluctant to invest much time in it since my good material gets stolen quite often and there’s really no recourse to this. Writing is a whole new game in this day and age and I’m a retired Vietnam vet who would rather grow vegetables and go fishing and tinker with my real world projects, than to spend my days fixing links and prowling the internet for copyright violations, which will of course lower my Google page rank if I don’t fight them and demand they take it down.
Reading about the experiences of others who received this same warning about deceptive site navigation has been at least entertaining. Many people were panicking because they didn’t understand what it meant, and on the Help forum the experts were suggesting that maybe they should just redo their entire sites and publish entirely new material. People who don’t write for a living do think that writing requires neither time nor effort. Writers don’t actually produce anything, in the non-writer’s way of thinking, it’s just a mysterious gift. Cripes, my sister Patty thought I could ride in the back seat of their car from here to Texas and still make a living! You just cross your arms and wiggle your nose and blink and that’s an article! That’s just crazy. Writing eats up your whole life if you let it grab ahold of you. A website like mine represents years of work, and it would take years to replace it with new material in a new format. I see no point in doing that, I go back and read my old stuff from time to time and I still find little errors and things I can add, but I don’t disagree with what I said. If it was crap, I’d have taken it down ages ago. Yes, my tirade about sleeping bags was more than a little windy and incoherent, but I was really drunk that night. Sometimes when I wrote for Demand Studios the only way I could follow guidelines was by drinking a lot, alcohol is a mainstay for writers.
After checking out the guideline advice sections, I realize that Google could have banned me from Adsense for all sorts of reasons. I feel free to digress from the original topic of my blog, whatever that was, and to talk about anything I want. Google does not approve of digression. Everything has to be on topic. I’ve been booted off many forums for being off topic and I no longer visit forums. Google can’t boot me off my own blog.
Google doesn’t allow sites to speak of certain things, and one way to find out if your site is in compliance is to run a site search for banned keywords, like “rifle” or “fighting knife” or “gambling.” I wonder if it would matter if I wrote about rifling through old files, or gambling that the Church sermon would begin on time, or fighting to find my pocket knife, where did I put that thing? While Google doesn’t allow people to write about such things, anywhere on the domain registered with Google Adsense, or even allow you to link to pages with such content, Google will of course sell ads to companies who sell rifles and fighting knives or promote online or casino gambling. Recently Google Adsense even suggested I approve gambling ads for my site. The Google Adsense program is slanted very heavily towards revenue for Google. Those ads about those banned topics would show up on any pages I pulled up online, if they ran Google ads and I’d written about the topics in open gmail or even just searched for them on Amazon through the Chrome browser. They would even have showed up on my own site if I looked at my own pages, where I couldn’t talk about such things. Well, I did, a little. OK, well, frequently. I will do more of it now that I’m clear of Google restrictions. I know a lot about fighting knives and rifles. Well, I also know a lot about shovels, I know about the fundamental military things. Google said I can’t write about those things but I have and I will. In the WWI trenches the entrenching tool was favored over the bayonet and the Russian Army actually issues fighting shovels to their Spetsnaz soldiers. Fighting shovels! Take that! you Google bastards!
Oops! I have digressed from the original marketing theory of my blog, that is another violation of Google Adsense policy. Oh, “Zulu!” is such a good movie, an accurate depiction of a genuine historical event, with both sides portrayed fairly and with respect. But again, I digress and this is banned by Google.
I could go on, but there’s no point in complaining about Google. The big guys will fall, and Google is no different. Search engines like Startpage give better results without tracking your activities and selling the info. Hushmail gives you encrypted email for free that Gmail can’t hack to apply to targeted ads. There are many alternatives to Google’s and I use them. I haven’t used Google Search for years.
If you do want to help with the dumbing down of America and the world beyond us, please cooperate with Google and limit your activities to things that fit on a smartphone. It’s the fastest way to guarantee our transition to the world of Idiocracy.
Sigh, looking back I see way too many links, this also reduces page rank. But! tomorrow morning I will go fishing!
My final action on this was to exit the Adsense program. Smarmy bastards, they hit me with this right before payout and I’ll never see that money, but even if I had cared to try, I don’t think I’d ever have been able to follow all their rules.