Friday, April 13, 2012

YouTube Adsense Questions Answered

Two months ago I posted the video embedded below.  I had a rare chance to ask some questions to AdSense support team.  I decided to allow my viewers to submit their own questions

Now obviously not all questions could be answered.  Essentially what I told the people I was talking to that any answer I got would be made public, so only answer what could be made public.  Below is their answers.  I would like to remind everyone that this blog post is NOT a replacement for the
Terms of Service for AdSense or the Terms of Service for YouTube for 

Therefore, even though these answers came from AdSense staff your best bet is to refer to the Terms of Service.

Review process (length/time) for certain videos. Some videos take longer than others and just stay with “Under Review” for weeks. Why?

Our team isn't actually responsible for reviewing videos, so I can't answer your question. It's probably best to post it in the YouTube forums.

Would it be possible for people to get paid with a voucher to be spent on online shopping? I earn small amounts and get a cheque every 6 months, I heard that google have an online payment system and I'm wondering if that could be used instead?

I don't think there are any plans to implement payment by online voucher. As far as an "online payment system" goes, I think you might be referring to Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). You can read more about whether this is available in your country here:

why do i have to make $100 before i get any payment?

We use the $100 threshold so that we have some time to evaluate the quality of the traffic a new publisher sends us and to make sure that a publisher is creating value for advertisers.

What will/does AdSense do about click-bombing/sabotage?  How is Google protecting publishers who are getting legitimately attacked where it is not their fault?

Unfortunately, this is one of the misconceptions that poor communication from our team has given rise to.  (I am not sure if you have the same degree of alarm over sabotage?  We do see sabotage from time to time, and we do our best to prevent publishers who are subject to it from getting disabled, but from our view of the data, it isn't nearly as large a problem as the amount of fear it generates on the wider internet.
It seams to us that in many cases, because the publishers didn't take the time to carefully review our policies and understand how the AdSense system works, after their accounts are disabled., these publishers will go onto the forums and grasp for any explanation as why their account was disabled.  Since they think they did nothing wrong, and "click-bombing" is the most readily available explanation in that case, the myth perpetuates
As for the cases of legitimate sabotage:  I saw the thread from Publisher1 that was ported over from the old forum.  The information in there is pretty solid.  What makes sabotage tricky for us is that it can look like a publisher inflating clicks on their own ads -- in both situations, you see a sudden increase in clicks and revenue.  Of course, we look at more signals than this, but the key difference between sabotage and self-clicks is intent.  Knowing this, publishers can put themselves in a better position in their appeals if they can make a case for why the clicks were not caused by them and back it up with data.  Publisher1's thread gives good guidelines for how to go about this.

HappyCabbie's NOTE

To view Publisher's Thread click here The Crash Course for Surviving Clickbomb Attacks although that mostly deals with blogs and websites.  In my opinion, and my opinion only, the best thing to do is to monitor your AdSense account daily.  Log in every day and look at your CTR (Click through rate) if you notice a sudden surge in clicks the first thing you should do is report it to AdSense via their suspected invalid activity form which you can learn more about by going here

The other thing you should do right away is turn off all ads on your videos.  You can do this by clicking on the button at the bottom of the page.

I think they need to change the appeals process, or have one specifically for YouTube users.  My friend @tannahtv just recently got his AdSense account suspended through no fault of his.  He said the form for appeal is very much aimed at blogs and websites so he held no hope of getting it reinstated.

This is great feedback!  We are constantly re-evaluating our appeals process, so we will take this into consideration as we try to improve it. 

I asked a question regarding Facebook.  I had seen many people post videos claiming that they lost their AdSense accounts after posting their videos on Facebook
Regarding Facebook:  Facebook and other social networks can be a great way to connect with friends, family, and establish a brand!  As a publisher, you may have good reasons to drive traffic from these sites.  Whenever a publisher drives traffic to their site, whether its a YouTube channel, Blogger site, or their own hosted website, they must consider if the users will be interested in the content and the ads that will be shown.
On publishers being a potential risk to advertisers:  From the ad implementation side, publishers need to follow all the published AdSense polices.  These include number of ads per page, ad placement, inciting users to click on ads, clicking on your own ads, site content, ect.  Part of the sign up process for AdSense requires users to acknowledge the Terms of Service.  It's super important for users to read these!  We can't stress that enough.  
When publicizing a website and driving traffic, publishers are ultimately responsible for this traffic.  By using Analytics, they can understand where their users are coming from not only geographically but also from what sources (search engines, social networks, directly typed in addresses, ect).  Anything that looks out of the ordinary might be a warning sign.  For example, a large surge in traffic that corresponds to a day where your site was featured on reddit, digg, slashdot, ect might make sense, but otherwise could be a cause of concern.  Also by segmenting traffic into different channels, users can see if certain sources are creating these abnormalites.  Hope that helps.
With appeals, users should be as thorough and as honest as possible when filling out the appeals form.  Any information that can help explain behaviors in their traffic -- especially anything that can be explained with data we do not have access to (e.g. site logs, non Google Analytics data) - goes a long way in our appeals review process.

HappyCabbie's Notes

I can assure you that all the questions were read, however these were the only ones that they were able to answer.  Once again, this is NOT a replacement for the Terms of Service if there is a contradiction to what you read here and the Terms of Service, the Terms of Service is correct.  It should also be noted that Google, AdSense, and YouTube reserves the right to change the Terms of Service at any time and it is up to you the user to know, understand, and comply with the Terms of Service.

Adsense last year held a live Webinar and below is an embedded recording of that Webinar

There is also some helpful videos produced by YouTube

This live session was recorded by my friend JamesLawsonSmith and it also has some very good tips on how to be compliant with the TOS