And now a word from our (former) sponsor….

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed the appearance of ads served by Google to the right of this post late last year, and then their disappearance a couple of weeks ago.

I ran those ads through the Google Adsense program and saw a (very) modest return from them–until Google abruptly terminated my Adsense account with no other explanation than that my site had generated some type of activity that was against my terms of service.

Oh, and Google took back all the money that was in my account.

No explanation for exactly what the offending activity was. The email told me I couldn’t reply to the automated email, that I could only appeal the decision to cancel my account through a contact form on the Google Adsense website. The form in question had a required field disabled, again making contact impossible.

Did I mention that Google took all my money?

A somewhat testy note sent to Google’s press office resulted in another automated email a couple of days later reaffirming that I’d been canned by Google and I wouldn’t be allowed back. No mention of giving me my money back, either. In other words: “You just spent the last few months serving our ads for free. So long sucka! Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck!”

I’m not the only one who’s had this experience. See here and here for a couple of good blog posts. This article by Benjamin Cohen on the Times of London website gives an excellent account of this and other questionable practices by Google’s Adsense program. Anyone else have a tale of woe? Post it here.

Seems to me Google’s looking at a class action lawsuit when the number of us stiffed Web publishers reaches a critical mass. In the meantime, Cohen notes that Yahoo!‘s ad-serving program comes with the “right to speak to a real human being, 24/7.”