Google, Adsense, and Splogging

Reports of cancelled accounts while sploggers earn money by scraping honest bloggers’ content is troubling.

Jim Mitchell lost his AdSense account and Google won’t tell him why. He’s bitter about it. But what makes him more bitter is that he’s discovered that sploggers with AdSense accounts have been using his content to earn revenue.

From Is Google AdSense Really Fair? on

Today, I found four different sites that have scraped my content to use as their own with AdSense ads on the page. This, according to the Google AdSense Terms of Service, is a huge violation. I promptly reported the abuse with hopes the sploggers who lifted my content get their income generating plug pulled pronto.

One of the commenters to Jim’s post claims his AdSense account was also cancelled for no reason.

Now I’ve had no trouble with Google or AdSense and hope I never do. My earnings are meager, but they do cover the cost of hosting, which is my primary goal for including AdSense ads on this site. (That’s one of the reasons I don’t plaster the site with advertising like so many other bloggers do.)

But I do have a serious problem with sploggers, especially if they’re using AdSense or other advertising programs to earn money by illegally using the content written by other bloggers.

I know my content is scraped. Every once in a while, I’ll get a pingback from a sloppy splogger that directs me to his site. The site is full of scraped content and not much else. Most of the ones I’ve seen seem to be link farms for some other purpose. I don’t know enough about this stuff to understand why my content is being scraped when there doesn’t appear to be ads on the site my content is appearing on. (Perhaps someone reading this can explain or include a link to a good explanation.) But if these sloppy sploggers are stealing content in a way that can be easily traced, how many other sploggers are stealing content in a way that can’t be easily traced?

And do they all have Google AdSense accounts?

Which brings up a good question: how does Google determine who qualifies for an AdSense account? Is there a human who actually looks at the sites? I seriously doubt that. So that makes me wonder how effective their software is at determining whether a site is legitimate — full of fresh, legally obtained content — or a ripoff of other bloggers’ hard work.

And that also brings up the question of the effectiveness of an Adwords account. I was using Adwords for Flying M Air in an effort to sell my multi-day excursions. While I’m no Adwords expert, I think I had it set up well. I know I was paying for a ton of hits. But I also know that my phone didn’t ring. While this might mean that people don’t want the service I’m offering — chances are, they get sticker shock out when they see the price — it also might mean that the clicks aren’t being made by serious customers — or even by humans.

But it also means that my Adwords payments might be going to sploggers who have built sites to draw in visitors who then click on my link. I probably wouldn’t mind so much if they were buying — one sale would pay my Adwords bill for a year — but they’re not. So I could be paying, through my Adwords account, for sploggers to steal content from honest bloggers, some of whom, according to Jim Mitchell, have had their AdSense accounts yanked for reasons never explained.

I guess what I want to know is this:

  • Why does Google cancel the AdSense accounts for certain bloggers who claim they have done nothing wrong, then refuse to explain why they were cancelled?
  • How does Google ensure that AdSense accounts are given only to legitimate sites — and not to sploggers or other copyright violators?
  • How can Google Adwords customers be assured that their ads are appearing on legitimate sites and are being clicked by humans who are genuinely interested in the products or services advertised?

I hope Jim gets his AdSense account back. And I hope that other bloggers do their best to report feed scraping and splogging activities to Google or other ad sourcers whenever it’s found.

7 thoughts on “Google, Adsense, and Splogging

  1. Yes, my adsense account was cancelled too, I ran a cooking recipes website.

    My other 4 friends also had their adsense account terminated.

    They do not respond to our emails.


  2. Thank you for writing this post. I am still in the process of learning about splogs and I didn’t know about adsense being canceled. That is definitely bad news.

    GreenBucks’s last blog post..Got Game?

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