Banned from adsenseFirst, my friend's adsense account was banned. This was the account that I used for one of my cosmetic surgery site of which I have reported its earnings in my monthly earnings reports. There was no specific message except something along of the line of invalid clicks. This is crazy as there was no abnormal clicks or spikes in the account so I don't know how google came to this conclusion. Anyway, this marks the third adsense account that was banned. Interpret this info as you would. The ban means that I just lost the income from Jan and Feb for this site. Shit!!!!
Fortunately, I found a great adsense alternative which I will talk more about in a future post. If your adsense account has been banned or if you did not manage to get one approved, you might want to look out for that post.
Banned from amazonThe above was nothing. The worse news is what I received in my inbox this morning. Double shit!!!!!
It has come to our attention that you are artificially increasing your advertising fee earnings by automatically tagging Amazon sessions to your account. This is a direct violation of the Operating Agreement to which you agreed when registering for the Program. You can find the complete text of the Associates Program Operating Agreement, including Participation Requirements, via this link:
We insist that you cease this activity and remove all Amazon content from your site(s) immediately. Moreover, because you are using the Associates Program in ways in which it was never intended, your account has been closed and you will not receive further payment. Any other accounts you may have or may open in the future will be closed and advertising fees withheld without notification.
Why I was banned from amazonFrankly speaking, I have no idea what "automatically tagging Amazon" even means. After discussing in a private forum, some members think that it might due to some themes or plugins. My own gut feel is the fact that I have used a redirecting plugin which causes the ban.
The plugin will cloak the links so that instead of showing http://amazon.com/blah blah, it is showing http://sitex.com/recommends/productX. I think this is against their new terms of service in Feb 2012 as stated below:
"In addition, you must not use a link shortening service in a manner that makes it unclear that you are linking to an Amazon Site."
Another possible reason is the auto blog which I have mentioned in my post here about can you make money with auto blogs. This auto blog, for some reasons unknown to me, generated a huge amount of amazon impressions even though I don't have that kind of traffic to back it up.
Take a loot at the stats from my Dec amazon earnings:
Can I get my amazon affiliate account back?I am not sure I can. Of course, I can always get another amazon account as they are not as strict as adsense. However, the thought of replacing all the amazon links with the non redirected links makes me sick in my stomach. Do you know how many pages I need to go through? Geesh, making money online is not an easy thing at all!
Another amazon affiliate alternative is skim links. I just applied for an account but I am not sure how strict are they with the quality of the sites. I intentionally submitted a pure amazon site i.e. there was no other info besides product reviews. We will see how that goes.
A realistic look at the make money online journeyI have posted about my ascend and descend of my adsense earnings in this post on why my adsense earnings is down for 2011. However, I want to list the journey of what you are likely to face as you embark on your money making journey. This is what I have been through and I hoped you have better luck than me!
-First 3 months: Excited about being able to make money online. Lots of possibilities come to your mind. You will also try to understand how everything works and end up confused as hell.
My advice: Do as you learn. It makes everything easier. Don't have to get everything right when you are starting.
- 3-6th months: The passion started to die down as there are no visble results. The hardworking ones would have put in a lot of work but the results are pathetic. You might not have earned a single cent yet.
My advice: Keep working and learning. There is always a breakthrough waiting to happen if you continue to work at it. You might realise you are doing the wrong keyword or you might be focusing on too many sites or keywords ro you might learn how to repeat your first dollar success 100 times. These kind of realisations don't just happen. It will happen only when you continuously apply what you learn.
-6-12th months: Things might start to look up if you have been working hard. You might have earned your first 100 dollars per month. For those who did, you will feel like king of the world. Suddenly, your perspective changes and you realise that working for a job is not the only way to make money. You might even dreamt of working from home.
My advice: This is a good time to start learning about the bad things that can happen. Be prepared for the worst while you still have not much to lose.
-13th -18th months: You might have successfully scaled your sites and earning more than 1k per month. Congrats! You are now convinced that making money through online works! You see endless possibility now and are prepared to scale it up even further.
My advice: You must do things right at this point. Don't take shortcuts. Produce good quality sites with the money you have. Find a purpose for your site besides making money.
- 19th-24th months: Suddenly, problems start to happen if you have not been doing the right things. Your sites might get affected by algorithm changes or your accounts got banned. You realise that things are not as passive as they seems. You get disillusioned and learn to pick yourself up.
My advice: None. I am at this stage right now. I don't know if I want to continue with this path. Getting sites affected by panda and getting your adsense/amazon accounts banned are not fun things at all. One lesson I have learned is that SEO makes you lazy. You tend to forget the fundamentals of a good site because you can get all the traffic just doing backlinks and putting up sub standard content. You can get away with it for a while but things will come back to you.
Hence, my advice for those making some money is to start investing some of these money into better content or even your own product. Look at the startups to see how they are creating products that bring real benefits.
Don't get lazy in your make money journey. SEO is a valuable skill. Don't waste it.