Frequently Asked Questions
The Google AdSense team is committed to help you understand how the AdSense program works and make it a long and successful partnership. We understand you may have questions about your AdSense account, including how invalid activity may affect it.
Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
Questions about invalid activity
I’m worried my account is getting invalid traffic. What do I do?
To determine if anything is suspicious about your account’s traffic, we encourage you to review your site’s traffic logs regularly and identify any anomalies.
We’d recommend taking a close look at all AdSense referral sites found in your web analytics tool reports and/or your site’s log history. You should investigate any unusual increase in a particular traffic source from another country, website, IP address, etc. Once you’ve identified a suspicious traffic source, you can then block that IP address or referral URL. We also highly recommend closely monitoring any website optimizers you’re working with.
Segmenting your traffic sources can help you identify sources of problematic traffic and make appropriate changes to keep your account in good standing.
How do I find out which traffic source is generating invalid activity in my account?
To identify the potential source of the invalid traffic, we recommend splitting your traffic into channels, as discussed in the Understanding traffic on your site article of this Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center. This will help you understand your traffic better, as you can get better insight into which traffic campaigns are performing better, the user behavior on your site, demographics of your user base, and so on.
You can also use an analytics tool, such as Google Analytics, to investigate your traffic sources by digging deeper into specific parts of the traffic to your site.
Unfortunately, in order to protect the effectiveness of our detection systems, we are unable to provide information regarding specific traffic sources that are known to send invalid traffic.
Can you provide more information about the invalid activity you detected on my account?
We understand that you’re concerned about the actions taken on your account. However, please note that these actions are a result of careful and detailed investigation by our team of specialists.
Because we have a need to protect our proprietary detection system, we're unable to provide any information about the invalid activity, including any web pages, users, or third-party services that might have been involved.
Please note, we reserve the right to determine what is considered invalid activity, and may disable accounts for any reason, including invalid activity from any source, in order to protect our advertisers.
What are some examples of invalid activity?
Some common forms of invalid activity include: bot traffic, click farms, incentivized clicks, and accidental clicks.
One of the more malicious forms of invalid activity is bot traffic. Bot traffic generally occurs from computers that have been infected by malware or otherwise taken over by those who don't own the computer. The malware or unknown hijacker can inject software on these computers, which can then allow someone to use these computers to perform tasks, one of which is to load ads and click on them.
Another type of malicious invalid activity occurs from click farms, which are typically large group of individuals who are paid to view and click on ads.
Importantly, traffic providers may appear to provide legitimate sources of traffic but actually be delivering artificial traffic, such as bot traffic or clicks from a click farm. For this reason, we strongly urge you to use caution when partnering with third-party traffic services. The traffic provider checklist can help guide your discussions with any potential traffic provider.
Incentivized clicks result when users are not actually interested in viewing the ad content/landing page and are motivated to click on ads for other reasons; a simple example of this is when a bad publisher encourages users to click on its ads by saying "Help keep my site free by clicking my ads!" or offers some sort of reward for users who click ads.
Accidental clicks are just like the name implies -- clicks where users did not intend to click on the ad. Accidental clicks often result from poor implementation. Please review our Ad placement policies to learn more about how to avoid implementing ads in a non-compliant manner. For example, ads should not be mistaken for other website content, such as menu, navigation, or download links.
Will I be punished for things like web crawlers that visit my page?
Our signals and filters are able to identify traffic from simple web crawlers. Since we do not charge advertisers for these non-human impressions/clicks, you will not generate revenue from this traffic. We will not take action against your account that results from standard web crawlers.
Questions about earnings
Why is there a difference between my estimated and finalized earnings?
The reports in your AdSense account are intended to give you close estimates of the current activity in your account. However, these reports do not represent your finalized earnings. Many factors can affect the amount that is ultimately paid to you. Once earnings are finalized, they are posted to your Payments page. Any revenue found to be from invalid clicks or impressions is refunded back to the affected advertisers. If your account is disabled for invalid activity, all revenue in the account will be refunded to advertisers and you will not be eligible to receive payment.
On the Home page of your account, we show the following information:
- Estimated earnings: close estimates of your recent account activity from today, yesterday, this month so far, and last month
- Finalized earnings: this section displays two levels of earnings:
- Current balance - the current balance of your earnings that have not yet been paid out. This balance may not reflect the total amount of payment you receive. Google may make adjustments to the amount, including for rounding discrepancies, any invalid activity that needs to be adjusted from your earnings, or other month-end credits as necessary.
- Most recent payment - the payment you last received.
We may make adjustments to your estimated or finalized earnings to account for invalid impressions or clicks, which means that we may remove earnings from your payable balance. An effective strategy to combat invalid activity is to investigate any changes in traffic sources you’ve experienced over the last payment cycle. We’d recommend taking a close look at all AdSense referral sites found in your web analytics tool reports and/or your site’s log history. You should investigate any unusual increase in a particular traffic source from another country, website, IP address, etc., that matches the time period where your finalized earnings differed from your estimated earnings. Once you’ve identified a suspicious traffic source you can then block that IP address or referral URL. We also highly recommend closely monitoring any website optimizers you’re working with.
For more information about invalid preventing invalid activity, please see the Proactive steps to prevent invalid activity and Things to keep in mind when looking to increase traffic articles.
Do estimated earnings account for invalid activity?
Estimated earnings may account for some invalid activity that we have detected, but all invalid activity may not be reflected. Our real time filters assess impressions and clicks as they occur, and if they are determined to be invalid, advertisers are not charged and no revenue is generated. This unearned revenue does not always materialize in front end reports in real time, and is often updated at the end of the month, so estimated earnings may not match finalized earnings. The emphasis is that this is not removed revenue, but revenue that was not earned by either the publisher or Google (since the advertisers were never charged for the traffic).
Questions about disabled and duplicate accounts
Why was my account disabled? What can I do to reinstate it?
Google takes the occurrence of invalid activity very seriously. We aim to provide the best platform for both our advertisers and publishers for long and successful partnerships.
To maintain the advertisers’ trust in our ad network, we need to protect our advertisers and publishers from invalid activity. Invalid traffic from our publishers damages our advertisers and other legitimate publishers. Therefore, if we detect that your account poses a risk to our advertisers, we may disable it to protect internet users, our advertisers and other publishers.
In the event that we disable your account for invalid activity, we will withhold all unpaid revenue. We will refund that unpaid revenue, including all of Google’s share, to affected advertisers.
You may appeal our decision to disable your account by completing the online appeal form. We will review your appeal as quickly as we can, and proceed with the appropriate action.To help our specialists investigate your account thoroughly, please include as much information as possible in your appeal. This is your chance to help us understand why we might have seen invalid activity on your account.
Please note that an appeal does not guarantee reinstatement. Once we’ve reached a decision on an appeal, it’s considered final, and we will not consider any subsequent appeals.
My account is disabled. Can I open a new account?
If we disable your account due to invalid activity or any other violation of the AdSense Program Policies, you are not allowed to participate in AdSense or monetize through other products such as AdMob. If you feel that your account was sabotaged or otherwise improperly terminated, you may appeal for reinstatement through our online appeal form.
I need another AdSense account. Can I have multiple accounts?
You are only allowed to maintain one AdSense account under the same payee name.
Questions about site traffic
Can I use traffic exchange for my site?
While we understand you wish to increase the traffic to your website, please know that the use of some of these services may lead to invalid clicks or impressions. You are ultimately responsible for the traffic to their ads, so if you choose to partner with a third-party service to increase traffic to your site, it’s critical that you monitor your reports closely to gauge the impact that each source has on your ad traffic and review your site’s traffic periodically to understand the nature of your visitors.
If you observe suspicious activity in your traffic, we recommend that you avoid using these services to keep your account in good standing.
To learn more about traffic exchange, please visit About traffic exchange programs.
How do I avoid partnering with bad traffic providers?
We understand that it is not always easy to determine whether a source of traffic is legitimate or not. Nevertheless, it’s important for you to take all appropriate measures to understand exactly what traffic you’ll be receiving.
The Traffic provider checklist contains helpful questions to ask before agreeing to work with a traffic provider. The Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center also has an article discussing Things to keep in mind when looking to increase traffic.
Can I click my ads while testing? I accidentally clicked my ads, what do I do?
According to our Terms and Conditions and Program Policies, you are not allowed to click the ads on your own pages under any circumstances. Please note, Google may disable any account if we find any publisher violating this policy.
However, we realize that there may be cases where accidental clicks may occur on the site. If you were clicking your ads out of interest or to see who was advertising on your site, we suggest using the Google Publisher Toolbar as an alternative. This toolbar will allow you to check the destination of ads on your page without the risk of generating invalid clicks.