Google Adsense is one monetization method on the Internet. What makes it special is that it allows you to make money from sites where superior monetization options like affiliate sales or direct ad sales do not work on. When I say superior I mean higher paying with less traffic. While there are alternatives like Chitikia or Adbrite, they all do not come near the cpm levels that you usually generate with Adsense. Google more or less has a monopoly in this vertical in this regard.
Adsense accounts may get reviewed for a number of reasons, for instance when someone reports the account, when it is picked randomly for review, and - I believe - also when it reaches certain payout thresholds.
When violations are found one of two things can happen:
- Google bans the full Adsense account which immediately blocks Adsense ads from appearing on all sites the ad code is run on. It also blocks payouts, and pays advertisers back meaning that the webmaster whose account got banned receives no further payouts.
- Ad serving may be disabled on a single site. This does not affect the Adsense account, and ad serving continues on other sites. Money will also usually not be retracted from the account.
When ad serving is disabled, webmasters may appeal for re-inclusion after they have fixed the issue that led to it. Google usually sends out an email to the primary email address explaining why ad serving has been disabled. The email will contain general information about the Adsense policies that were violated and may also contain example pages that were violating the guidelines.
Below is an example email that you may receive when ad serving gets disabled.
During a recent review of your account we found that you are currently
displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our program
Please note that this URL is an example and that the same violations may
exist on other pages of this website or other sites in your network.
As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers are not permitted to
place Google ads on sites with content related to hacking or cracking. For
example, sites showing ads may not provide instructions or equipment to
illegally access or tamper with software, servers, or websites.
GOOGLE PRODUCT ABUSE: Publishers are not permitted to promote the abuse of
any Google product, such as YouTube, Orkut, or Blogger. This includes
providing the means to circumvent the policies of these or other Google
products, such as by allowing users to download YouTube videos.
ACTION TAKEN: We have disabled ad serving to your site.
ACCOUNT STATUS: ACTIVE
Your AdSense account remains active. However, please note that our team
reserves the right to disable your account at any time. As such, we
encourage you to become familiar with our program policies and monitor
your network accordingly.
On a side note: Many tech blogs and software download portals that use Adsense for monetization review YouTube video downloaders on their sites. Those programs are a direct violation of the Adsense policies and will get ad serving disabled on the site.
Fixing Google AdSense ad serving has been disabled to your site
Webmasters need to read the email very carefully. I'm not saying this to scare you off, but to warn you that it is not enough to fix that one page on your site to get the account reinstated unless it is the only page violating the guidelines. Usually, there are additional pages that do and Google runs checks after you apply for reconsideration to see if the issue has been resolved.
The first thing that you need to do is read the violations found part of the email. In the example case above, one violation has been found and needs to be addressed before you have got any chance of getting ad serving reinstated on the website.
During my research, I came upon a helpful page on Google Support that is providing you with details about all prohibited contents, and examples that give you a better understanding of what is allowed and what is not. You look up the hacking and cracking content policy section on the site and open the examples here to look at acceptable and not acceptable contents.
Update: Google has published the AdSense policy FAQs, a page that answers several of the most asked questions about AdSense and potential policy violations. Questions include whether "a girl in bikini" is considered adult content, if you are allowed to link to adult sites, or whether it is okay to use fixed ads.
Not acceptable here are for instance sites "that assist or enable users to download streaming videos if prohibited by the content provider, such as those found on YouTube and Google Video", and this was exactly the reason why ad serving has been disabled on the example site.
If you have not received an email, you can check in your Adsense dashboard where you should see the message as well.
Next up: cleaning the site
Once you have identified all causes, it is decision making time. You can either decided to give up on Adsense on the site and find other monetization methods, or try and resolve the issue by cleaning up the site.
A drastic approach would be to remove all contents, e.g. pages or articles, that are in violation of those guidelines, another to edit pages so that they fall into the acceptable category.
I suggest you ask someone else to look over the site to make sure that everything is in order. A fellow webmaster for instance would be best for this.
The Policy Violation appeal
You can use this form to appeal the decision. What you need to include is your name, publisher ID (that you find in the code), the Issue ID number which you find in the email, and the affected site.
You also need to explain what you have done to your site to comply with the policies. It is usually enough to explain that you went through all contents on the site and deleted or removed any content that violated the policies. It is also a good idea to promise that this won't be happening again and that you have instructed all other authors of the site as well.
It will take a few business days before you receive an answer. Sometimes you may not even receive an answer but will notice that ad serving has been re.enabled on the site.
If you have not received an email after a week, I suggest you politely use the form again asking for an update on the policy appeal.
If your appeal is denied, you usually have the option to appeal a second time after you went through your site again first of course.