Working with Google to deal with alleged policy violations can sometimes be Kafkaesque for AdSense publishers, with accusations of invalid activity coming down from on high with little explanation or understanding. In acknowledgment of this history, Google says it is undertaking to be more proactive and positive in its dealings with publisher partners regarding click fraud and invalid clicks.
Any improvement in this arena will likely be received very positively by publishers. Even if they haven’t had their own account disabled by Google because of suspected fraudulent activity, they’ve likely heard frightening stories of publishers being suddenly cut off from a large source of revenues without much recourse.
Probably most important to publishers will be additional information in notifications when Google detects invalid activity occurring on their AdSense account. If Google suspects clicks on a publisher’s site to be fraudulent, it typically has sent an email and put a notification in the publisher’s account. Now that email will contain additional information to help the good guys rectify any inadvertent problems.
“We’ve made notifications more informative. They used to be sufficiently cryptic that people have compared them to a Franz Kafka story,” Jonathan Bellack, a product management director at Google, told me. “We’ve taken that to heart.”
Bellack notes that the company has to tread a fine line between providing sufficient information, and providing so much information that bad actors could use it to circumvent Google’s security measures.
Secondly, Bellack says the appeal form — which publishers fill out when they think they’ve been unfairly accused of generating invalid activity — has been revamped to collect more useful information.
Additionally, a publisher’s tenure will now be given more weight when invalid activity is detected. If a publisher has been successfully running AdSense ads for years, with no problems, their account will likely be suspended, rather than terminated, when Google finds invalid activity. The company also says it would like to work directly with more publishers to resolve issues before disabling an account is necessary.
The company is also beefing up its self-service tools to make AdSense policies clearer, so publishers can watch videos, read FAQs, go through “AdSense Academy” and peruse checklists to prevent or quickly correct any policy violations.