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Woes Of A Full-time Blogger – Google Adsense Gone, Internet Cost Goes Up! (Flashback from 2014)

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By the close of 2013 I had every reason to look forward to 2014, as my year of takeoff. Traffic on my blog had reached an all-time high and I even had to move to an expensive dedicated server to host my blog. In 2013 I became an ambassador for the Malta Guinness ‘Africa Rising’ campaign, my first ever commercial campaign since ‘Ameyaw Debrah’ became a local fixture on the Ghanaian entertainment and new media scene.

So 2013 represented what I had hoped for when I left my previous job as the Entertainment Editor of Ghanaweb to focus fulltime on my blog (almost two years ago). I was faced with the dilemma of forgoing my salary at Ghanaweb to pursue the growth and development of a popular blog that was not making any financial gains but enjoying a lot of ‘hype’. So when I started receiving some direct adverts and Malta Guinness came knocking on my door last year, for me it meant that finally my works as a blogger could be seen as a commercial venture that would make all the hard work I had put in, all these years, pay off!

I therefore registered my business and put in place all the structures I needed to operate fully, and by February 2014 I had setup a small office to facilitate business, as well as making a call for interns and staff. In fact I had started plans to celebrate the fifth anniversary of my blog in a big style later in the year! But 2014 has so far been more challenging that I expected. It opened with me having server issues throughout January and the early part of February.

Thus, I lost advertising revenue, especially on Google AdSense while I lost money paid to my old host and I had to find for myself a new host. Well, the new server has been and as far as I am able to make enough to pay each month I am cool. Sometimes I even wonder why I didn’t just stay with blogspot like I started. Fast forward to more of my woes! So a few days ago I received another big blow when my Google AdSense account was disabled. I woke up one day and received the following email:

This email is to alert you that your AdSense account was found to be non-compliant with our AdSense program policies and as a result, yourAdSense account has been disabled. Current account status:Disabled Action required: None Violation explanation It’s important for a site displaying AdSense to offer significant value to the user by providing unique and relevant content, and not to place ads on auto-generated pages or pages with little to no original content. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • copying portions of text content from other sources
  • websites dedicated to embedded videos from other hosts
  • websites with gibberish content that makes no sense or seems auto-generated
  • templated or pre-generated websites that provide duplicate content to users.

For more information, please review the AdSense program policies, this help article about scraped contentand Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines. Payment As your account has been permanently disabled, we will withhold payment of your account balance. As stated in the AdSense Terms and Conditions (https://www.google.com/adsense/localized-terms), Google reserves the right to withhold payments from publishers due to any breach of the program agreement. Please note that this step was taken in an effort to maintain the quality of the AdSense program and to protect the interests of our AdWords advertisers. The earnings on your account will be returned to the affected advertisers. Sites Disabled Since your account was found to be in violation of our program policies, all of the sites you were monetizing have had ad-serving disabled and they are no longer eligible for participation in the AdSense program. No further accounts Please note that further participation in the AdSense program by publishers whose accounts have been disabled is prohibited. For more information concerning disabled accounts, please see the FAQ in our Help Center: http://support.google.com/adsense/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2576043&topic=1342777&ctx=topic. Thank you for your understanding. Sincerely, The Google AdSense Team

I was in total shock and well dismay because so far as I was concerned I had been careful with key policies of AdSense. In fact, a few hours before my account was disabled, my status read that I was not in any violation. Well, without wasting any time I appealed as follows:

i wish my account would be reinstated because i have adhered to the rules and terms of adsense for all these years that my blog www.ameyawdebrah.com has existed. i do not understand most of the reasons explained for the disabling of my account. my response to your Violation explanation: 1. copying portions of text content from other sources yes i occasionally take news from other sources but i credit them accordingly 2. websites dedicated to embedded videos from other hosts i occasionally embed videos from my youtube and other youtube channels but frankly i didnt know this was not allowed 3. websites with gibberish content that makes no sense or seems auto-generated this can not be so as www.ameyawdebrah.com is dedicated to original and exclusive celebrity news i write myself or source from others. so i dont understand why such content is deemed as rubbish/gibberish 4.templated or pre-generated websites that provide duplicate content to users. i dont know what this means

I also contacted the country lead for Google in Ghana and she forwarded my concerns to a colleague. A few days later I received an email saying that I had been sent several cautions in the past to remove some content. However I had not received any such warnings – not in my mail or on my AdSense account directly. I was advised to clean my website and re-appeal. Meanwhile the responds for my initial appeal was declined as follows:

We’ve reviewed your appeal, but we are unable to reinstate your account. Decisions on appeals are the result of careful investigation by our policy specialists and are final. Please also note that further participation in the AdSense programme by publishers whose accounts have been disabled is prohibited. For more information concerning disabled accounts, please see our FAQ in our help centre:https://www.google.com/adsense/support/as/bin/answer.py?hl=en_GB&answer=113059&topic=30288 We appreciate your understanding. Sincerely, The Google AdSense Team

At this stage I have given up on Google and I am working on alternative ways to get revenue from adverts, and it seems that putting up a marketing force to look for direct adverts would be my best bet. I wasn’t making a fortune on Google AdSense but the income from there was good for paying my server and internet bills, the basic things I need to run my blog.

Talking about internet bills, just when my luck seemed to be running low, Vodafone, my ISP decided to review the fixed broadband packages. According to a communication, Vodafone Ghana will on April 7, 2014 introduce new fixed broadband migration plan packages to its customers. The new packages are as follows: Package Amount (GHS) Data Allowance Browser Basic 50 -10GB Browser 70 – 20GB Streamer 100 – 40 GB Webmaster 150 – 80GB Downloader 200 – 200GB Office 350 – 500 GB

Maybe I should move from the downloader package to webmaster and see if that would be any good for me. Hmm, just when I was thinking of revamping my YouTube channel with regular video updates just to make some cash on there – I wonder if the webmaster package would be sufficient for that. I may just have to add 20ghc to my previous payment plan so I can still stay on the new downloader package. See, it’s not easy being me! So there you have it, my woes as a fulltime blogger. If you have any advice for me, do not hesitate to leave a comment or email me at ameyaw112. And oh, I need more adverts and promos now more than ever so get in touch also…LOL!!!

Article was originally published in March, 2014

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