Don't Make the Same Mistakes with Google AdSense I Did
BY Eileen P. Gunn
Every entrepreneur makes mistakes when starting out. Some are fixable, some don’t matter that much in the long run. Some really bug you and can’t be fixed and you just have to learn to live with them for a while.
I’ve made a series of mistakes with Google’s AdSense online advertising placement service. These mistakes should be easily fixable but aren’t—partly because Google offers no way to contact a customer service rep to answer my questions or solve botches. I’m frustrated since FamiliesGo! already launched and will continue to be frustrated for the foreseeable future.
My mistakes are common ones. I’ll share them to hopefully prevent others from following suit. I’d love if you’d comment below with any solutions, too.
Here’s what happened:
When we were building my website we wanted to know how AdSense would work, what enrolling in it would involve, how easy it would be to install the html code for the ads on the site, and how the ads would look in different places. So I registered for AdSense as well as Google Analytics with a FamiliesGo! gmail address while the in-progress site was still hidden behind a password. This is I think an understandable thing to do, but for Google it’s unforgivably wrong. My application was rejected when Google’s crawlers were stopped by my password. We figured it was a pretty common error and we’d just reactivate the account once the password came down.
No dice. My programmer followed the instructions for reapplying in Google’s rejection email, but wasn’t able to actually reapply. All she found was an online forum full of people complaining about the same problem.
We started fresh with my personal Gmail account for the sake of expediency and got the ads up on the website. (I’ve made just over $17 so far. Woo hoo!) I assumed that once I was up and running, I would be able to switch AdSense back to the preferred FamiliesGo! gmail account, which I’d successful linked Google Analytics to.
No luck. I’d like to use Analytics and AdSense together because it would be helpful to combine the different data they generate. And I’d like to not have to log in and out of two Gmail accounts every time I switch between the two tools. But I can’t link services that are attached to different emails, and I’m not allowed to change the email address attached to either service. Every time I try to go into my advertising account when I have wrong Gmail account open, AdSense tersely reminds me that I’m mistaken.
To add insult to injury, I created a YouTube channel this week for FamiliesGo! so I can post video travel itineraries. YouTube is owned by Google, and I was asked for a Gmail user name when I created my YouTube account. I offered up the FamiliesGo! email, of course. But after I’d gotten the account all set up I was offered the opportunity to link my YouTube channel to AdSense and collect a portion of the revenue from any ads Google runs against my videos. Another revenue stream? Sign me up!
Oh, no, wait. I can’t because my YouTube channel is associated with a Gmail account that AdSense has rejected. If I go into account settings there is an option to “Change which Google Account is linked to this account”.
But if I click on it I’m told, “Your account is permanently linked to a Google Account.” The message is in red and punctuated with a redder exclamation point to convey hot outrageous this request is.
I only have one video on my channel. I could shut down the account and start again with the personal email address that’s attached to AdSense. But I’m afraid if I try such a clever move two automated Google hands will reach through my monitor and snatch my keyboard away after wagging a finger at me. Until I sort it out I’ve opted to not let Google run ads against my videos. It won’t make money until I do, but that’s what they call a hollow victory, isn’t it?
It’s tempting to keep trying to rectify this mess because it’s all just so foolish you’d think there has to be a way to sort it out. I understand why Google services customers through impersonal online help forums instead of providing real one-on-one help for free services like Hotmail and Facebook do. But I’m paying Google 32 cents out of every dollar in advertising revenue my site generates. For a 32 percent cut I think the company could be responsive to obvious, and easily-solved customer grievances.
But I think I just have to chalk this up to rookie mistakes and hope that better solutions will come my way at some point soon. Maybe I’ll just wind up closing my AdSense account.
As I do so, I’ll hold tight to my keyboard.
Do you have solutions to my AdSense dilemmas? Please share them below.
EILEEN P. GUNN is the founder of FamiliesGo!, a travel website for busy parents planning family vacations. She is also an independent journalist and author whose work has been published widely. In her Inc.com blog Start Me Up, Gunn shares the whys and hows of building a business as she does it. @familiesgo