During the coronavirus lockdown, I decided to try to monetize this site by displaying some ads here and there. The idea was to hopefully make a small amount of money to help pay for the server rental.

Unfortunately Google had limited service capacity due to workers being out of the office. I’m not sure why it affected them since reviewing web sites is certainly something that can easily be done at home. I patiently accepted that was just the way things were and I resubmitted my site for review. Every few weeks they would reply to say that they weren’t able to review the site due to coronavirus. Fair enough.

Delay

Eventually they reviewed my site properly but once again judged my blog as not yet “ready”. This time the reason was that that they’d found some policy violations.

We’ve found some policy violations on your site which means your site isn’t ready to show ads yet. Make sure your site follows the AdSense Program Policies.

Computer says “No.”

“OK”, I thought, “Let’s see what I did wrong.” I looked around for a “more info” button or similar but there wasn’t one – just a link to their full “Program Policies” document. There’s no way to reply but there is a button to request another review.

Red Tape

I diligently read the entire policies document, from the beginner’s guide to the changelog. Exciting stuff for a lawyer (I’m not).

I’d wrongly and ignorantly assumed that all I would need to do was make sure my site was generally tasteful. It had to be family friendly and not be considered a “hate” site and then it’d be given the thumbs-up, Right? Wrong! The program policies require Google “partners” to add things like the ridiculous and annoying EU cookie consent popups, California Consumer Privacy Act compliance, Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados(??) compliance as well as follow policies in other documents such as the general “Webmaster quality guidelines”.

Lots of red-tape for a low traffic and unimportant blog.

Compliance

I made the following changes:

  • Added some terms & conditions.
  • Created a privacy policy.
  • Added a silly cookie consent pop-up. It’s silly because almost every web site in the World uses cookies. Honestly if you want to avoid cookies, it’s best to simply not use the Internet… but I digress…
  • Removed the personalization options for Ads so that they’d be generic.

I then resubmitted the site for review and waited. A week later, it was once again declined because of “program policies”. Not only that, but I am not allowed to resubmit the site for another review until October 17th (nearly 7 weeks away) since my site has been declined several times – because they weren’t in the office.

Resignation

I’ve been trying to get this sorted for over 6 months and still have no idea how to “fix” my site. I could resubmit my site for review in 7 weeks time but I suspect they’ll decline it again without telling me specifically why. Cynically, I suspect there isn’t a reason and that some self-important little Hitler is enjoying exerting their bit of power.

Google is an impersonal and inflexible behemoth and, frankly, this is just not worth the effort. It’s time to look for an alternative ad network that’s available to a small-fry like me.

Last modified: September 2, 2020

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