How I got banned from Google Adsense for life

Maybe you've noticed, for the last few days some google ads appeared on this blog, but they have disappeared now again. That's because I just got banned from google adsense for life time (as it seems), although I didn't do anything wrong. Here is the story:

This blog and the related other websites are getting more popular every month and generating more and more traffic. So I thought it would be a good idea to place some few non-disturbing ads on the page to get in the costs of the webservers again. So I did this and after two weeks it looked like it worked out: The statistics at adsense told me I would get some very small amount of money out of it, enough to pay my costs.
Then in the beginning of this week, I released a new version of some free software (irrKlang 0.5) I am working on in my spare time and this generated some attention: Several game development pages and blogs linked to my website, increasing its traffic. The next morning, I received a mail from google, telling me that my account was suspended and on their site it reads that I'll never be able to do business with google again, because of invalid clicks on my ads.
In that mail, they did not even tell me any information about their problem with my ads, only "invalid clicks or page impressions". No IP adresses, no channel ID, no website, no time or date, no amount of clicks, nothing. No way for me to find out what was wrong. There was the possibility to contradict, and I tried to explain some possible causes like the sudden increased amount of traffic, but they ignored me. The interesting thing: They now even won't pay out the money I already earned before the occurance of their 'invalid clicks' assert.
So from one day to the other, google completely locked me out of their program and are witholding all my money, without telling me why, no possibility to defend myself, being sure that I didn't do anything wrong. And lets assume: Even if for example some east asian click fraud company clicked a thousands of times on my ads (which I've read is today a standard way of companies getting rid of their competition), why the hell are they punishing ME for this?
Do no evil? Sure, but it seems this is only valid if it hasn't to do anything with money.
I'm going to use some alternative ad providers now, if I find some good ones usable in Europe/Austria.

Update: A bit more than a week later, google sent me a mail, apologizing for the trouble and unlocked my account again. Details here.

20 comments, already:

wtf, that sucks badly. oO
i guess that’s how big companies make money today…
bakkdoor (link) - 22 02 07 - 17:47

YouTube… Google… What next? The whole internet?
Messen - 22 02 07 - 18:31

man that’s crazy! would be interesting to get to the bottom of this story – maybe someone should slashdot this—although that venue seems to think Google can do no wrong.

sure makes me think twice about setting up adsense on my site.
John Haverkamp (link) - 22 02 07 - 19:04

I submitted this to slashdot, hope it helps….
buhatkj - 22 02 07 - 20:17

thanks, but don’t know if this is worth submitting there, I’ve seen this happening a lot of times on the web, just search for it :)
niko - 22 02 07 - 20:18

yeh you are probably right, even if it makes the front page its unlikely google would do anything to rectify this, but I just think what they did is wrong, and at least maybe some more people will know.
buhatkj - 22 02 07 - 20:22

so thats what you meant with losing your primary source of incomce….and i thought you were talkin about your job! :)
stan - 22 02 07 - 23:19

Some time ago I commented one of your blog entries and (silly me) entered my primary e-mail address in email field. For last week or so I’m getting spammed through it with some kind of completely nonsense spam messages, which appear to be sent automatically through allegeldy newly added comments on that thread (that do not exist). Maybe your site really is target of some strange spambot clicking through all the links…
It does not make google less ignorant, but maybe those things are connected.
3p - 23 02 07 - 09:58

This are the effects of messing around with LOST… told you that beer was evil.. ;-) keep away from Dharma lol.
leo (link) - 23 02 07 - 15:19

agnas (link) - 23 02 07 - 15:57

thanks :) @3p: I can also remove your adress again if you want, just tell me where :)
niko - 23 02 07 - 19:10

Shame you can’t sue Google somehow but then that is what happens when a company is really big. Impossible to put a dent in them. :P
Frobozz - 23 02 07 - 21:32

Maybe it was do-gooders clicking links as a thank-you for all your work, which caused your click-through ratio to increase to levels above some fraud threshold.
You should write back to Google and explain the situation, and include links to Irrlicht’s download statistics, explain that you have a massive community and have only just started with AdSense. Hopefully a real person will look into it, rather than a fraud-bot.
gaz - 23 02 07 - 22:40

youtube is owned by google, i bet viacom paid some cash to google to stop adsense from your site niko, after that victory over viacom post you made!
Rapchik Killer - 24 02 07 - 22:42

lol rapchik you may be on to something ;)
leo (link) - 26 02 07 - 14:30

Dale Graal (link) - 28 02 07 - 12:07

Maybe you needed this???

Its supposed to stop visitors overzealously clicking.
Raedwulf - 01 03 07 - 12:32

Switch to adbrite!
1dollar (link) - 04 03 07 - 03:14

I just saw that Google ads are back. Did you find an agreement with them, or did you forget to remove them from the layout?
hybrid - 06 03 07 - 09:27

yep, going to blog this in a few minutes ;)
niko - 06 03 07 - 19:02

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