Google Mindlessly Blocks Mowser Ad Swapping

[Updated, see below]

Google sent me a notice last week that said they've stopped serving ads to Mowser because of a violation of the ToS. It seems they don't like the interstitial ad pages. Fine - we don't like them either, so we got rid of them. Additionally, we were only serving a few thousand Google ads a day anyways, as it was just backfill to the more profitable AdMob ads.

Oh, and by the way, I had checked when I put the ads on the interstitials and didn't see any violations. I wouldn't swear on a stack of bibles or anything, but suddenly there's a lot more detail on the ToS pages about what's not allowed and interstitials may qualify. Regardless, it's fixed. Google also pointed out that they don't allow ads for mobilization services - i.e. putting our ads on someone else's content. Something Mowser has *never* done.

So I responded and said that we've removed the interstitials, and explained that we don't put our ads on other people's content, but will automatically swap ads using the original web publisher's ID.

The zombie at the AdSense desk of course didn't actually bother to understand what I wrote and responded today:

Hello Russell,

Thanks for your email.

As was previously mentioned, pages such as and, which frame content from other sites without permission from the owners of those sites are not permitted to participate in the AdSense program. This includes 'mobilizing' third party sites without the express permission of the sites' owners.

Please be aware that because your site was found to be in violation of our program policies, it is no longer eligible for participation in the AdSense program.Your account remains active, and you are welcome to place Google ads on other sites which comply with AdSense policies.



The Google AdSense Team

Translation: "I didn't actually bother to read what you wrote, and btw, one strike and you're out, be thankful we don't completely remove your AdSense account all together."


I'm not going to bother to respond again. Google actually has competition in the mobile ad space so I really don't give a fuck about not serving Google's ads (their loss), but this does affect one of Mowser's core differentiator which is ad swapping for external sites. I'm sure there's a technical solution of some sort, as only the "site" has been "blocked", though I'm not sure what that means since the server is doing the request for ads and displaying them rather than using JavaScript, though from now on it's going to be sort of a pain.

But anyways, the moral of the story is that it doesn't surprise me that Google came up with a random reason to block our ads, and that their response to the issue is both mindless and capricious. I've been prepared for it since I started using them, and sure enough it happened. No biggie. Anyone making any sort of money from Google, has to be aware that that revenue stream could dry up at any moment.

Where's GOOG's stock today? $455? Down $10 so far today. Good. I hope it keeps going.


Update: A friend who works at Google saw my post and sent some emails through the backchannel, and happily I got this today (Tuesday, April 8th):

Hello Russell,

As you may know our AdSense representatives monitor all sites participating in Google's AdSense program according to our Terms and Conditions and program policies. I wanted to offer you an apology for our previous email and policy actions. I've been reassessing the information sent in your last email, what can be found on, and the fact that you had removed the Google ads from being shown in interstitials. My conclusion is that your site provides great value to the AdSense network. Ad serving has been restored to your site.

I want to apologize once again for any inconvenience our last response may have caused.

If you would like to talk about this on the phone, I'd be more than happy to set up a call.


Winnie The Google AdSense Policy Team

Not only did they fix the issue, they complimented the service as well! I don't think it would have happened without an inside person helping out, but I'm happy to see the AdSense guys were willing to address the issue once it was pointed out to them.


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