Never run Google ads if you have an Android app

Google can and will permanently ban your Android app if Google thinks you’ve clicked on your own ads

If you’re running Google AdMob/AdSense ads and you have an Android app that you care about, take down your Google ads immediately and switch to another ad vendor.

If Google decides to ban you from AdMob/AdSense, they may also ban your Android app from the Google Play Store. This happened to DroidScript and it can happen to you.

Android death ray. Don’t let this be you. source: pixabay

Anyone can be banned from Google ads at any time

Google AdSense is the product where Google pays you for running banner ads on your website. AdMob is the product where they pay you for running ads in mobile apps.

Under AdSense/AdMob, Google pays you when users click on your ads; if you click on your own ads, that’s “click fraud.” Google can and frequently does kick people off of AdSense, claiming “click fraud,” without sharing any evidence with the people they’re banning.

When my company, Choice of Games, was kicked off of AdSense back in 2010, I wrote about it extensively.

Google will never tell you why they banned you from AdSense/AdMob. (Honestly, it sort of makes sense that they share no evidence, because Google doesn’t want people to learn how Google detects click fraud.)

As a result, there’s no effective way to appeal or remedy the problem when you’re banned from AdSense. Sure, they have an “appeal” process, but what are you supposed to write in the appeal when the charges against you are secret?! All you can say is “I didn’t do it.” And that never works. I’ve never heard of anyone who was able to successfully appeal.

The DroidScript Android app was banned for “click fraud” on their ads

Over the weekend, the team working on the DroidScript app announced that Google decided to permanently remove the DroidScript Android app based on allegations of click fraud.

Google first disabled DroidScript’s AdSense account.

Ad Exchange account disabled for invalid traffic

We understand that you may want to know more about the issues that we’ve detected. Because this information could be used to circumvent our proprietary detection system, we’re unable to provide our publishers with information about specific account activity.

A week later, Google yanked the DroidScript Android app as well.

After a recent review, DroidScript — JavaScript Mobile Coding IDE has been removed from Google Play.
Publishing status: Suspended

Your app has been suspended and removed due to a policy violation.
Reasons of violation
APK:206 Ad Fraud
App violates Ad Fraud policy.

Getting banned from AdSense/AdMob is a bummer, but it’s survivable. You can switch ad vendors, or you can even switch business models altogether. But having your entire Android app banned is not survivable.

The DroidScript team lost seven years of customers (Premium subscribers) in one swoop. There’s nothing that DroidScript can do now. Those customers are gone. They tried an appeal and got an autoresponder rejection. It’s the end of the line for DroidScript.

The bitterest irony of it all is that if DroidScript had been running Facebook ads or Twitter (“MoPub”) ads or Tapjoy ads or anybody’s ads except Google’s, this never would have happened to them.

Let DroidScript’s tragedy be a lesson to us all. Never run Google ads if you have an Android app.

Dan Fabulich is a Principal Engineer at Redfin. We’re hiring! https://www.redfin.com/jobs