Thursday, July 17, 2003

Google NonSense

So I got interested in Google’s new AdSense program. It doesn’t cost much to run this blog (all told, hosting and software costs run about $300/year), but I figured the AdSense program might be a nice way to recoup just a tiny bit of the investment.

So I signed up. Here is the e-mail thread that resulted:

From: Google AdSense Support “”
Subject: Google AdSense Account Status

Hello Rick Klau,

Thank you for your interest in Google AdSense. After reviewing your
application, our program specialists have found that the website
currently associated with your account does not comply with our
policies. Therefore, we’re unable to accept your into Google AdSense
at this time.

We did not approve your application for the reasons listed below. If
you are able to resolve these issues, please feel free to reply to
this email for reconsideration when you have made the changes.


- Difficult site navigation

It was then that I realized that the URL field in the AdSense sign-up page required a top-level domain; I replied to the e-mail and explained that my blog lives at and that the page at is in fact just a placeholder so that people who hit the page don’t get a 404.

Google’s reply:

From: “Google AdSense” “”
Subject: Re: [#3003784] Google AdSense Account Status

Hello Rick,

An entire site must be reviewed for participation in Google AdSense, not
individual pages. Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to approve you
to run only on select pages or a sub domain. Your website,,
was found to not be in compliance with our policies (, and we are unable at this time
to approve you to run in this program.

If you manage or own another site on which you’d like to display AdWords
ads, you may reply to this email and include that URL in the message. We
will then reconsider your application. If the new site complies with our
program policies, we’ll approve your application and allow you to run ads
on that specific site.


The Google Team

Here’s my reply.

From: “Rick Klau” “”
Subject: Re: [#3003784] Google AdSense Account Status
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2003 19:35:33 -0500

Maybe this isn’t clear: I run a weblog. It, and all its archive pages, are
at I also run a second weblog about the Dean
campaign, at

Except for the fact that both live at the same top-level domain, they have
nothing to do with each other. And they have complete navigation,
archives, search engines, etc. (TINS has more than 900 pages, Dean2004 has over 200.)

Both are, by any definition I’m familiar with, separate sites. For you to
describe as the site, and any and every page that lives off of
it seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom. I find this policy of
requiring only top-level domains to be “evaluated” to be at odds with the
goal of your program (namely, to distribute Google AdSense as widely as

If that’s your final position, so be it. But it strikes me as exceedingly
narrow and a rather arbitrary requirement.


Rick Klau

Oh well… I was going to try it mostly as an experiment anyway; no reason to get upset about it. But what practical reason is there to restrict this to top-level domains?

I’m consistently impressed by Google’s ability to “get it”. Just this once, they seem to have completely missed the point.


  1. ok, so "this post" was supposed to be a link. I can't keep track of which comment systems allow html and which don't. Anyway, see