Hidden Treasure in Google Adsense

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A couple of years ago I was mucking around with Google Adsense. I had (and still have, coming to think of it) a site that was top three on Google for ‘internet marketing courses’. I wasn’t doing much with the site at the time so I thought I’d put some adverts on and try to make a little passive income. It was really just an experiment – a way of killing some time during a lunch break.

Anyway, at the time there was a problem with the Adsense website. Google’s Adsense interface wasn’t working properly that day and I couldn’t load my advert onto my website. So, after about fifteen minutes of messing around, trying to put some Google adverts on my website, I gave up.

Fast forward a couple of years to today and I spotted an email in my inbox saying ‘You’re eligible to receive an AdSense Payment later this month’. I must admit, I had long forgotten about my failed attempt to tune into Adwords a couple of years ago. So out of curiosity I logged on to see how much I was due.

It turns out I’m due £52.13 this month. That’s not a bad alarm call for a Saturday morning.

Anyway, I logged onto the Adsense interface to learn more about what was going on. It turns out I’ve earned a total of £154.48. I never even knew any of this!

HOWEVER, and this is a really big however, I’ve lost most of it. Basically, the money has been sitting for so long that Google have claimed it back – all without me being aware of what was going on. So, my total earnings are £154.48 but my balance on Adsense is only £71.90 because Google has taken back most of the funds.

What I find even more disturbing, however, is the incredibly slow and laborious process I have to go through to claim the small sum of cash I have left. To claim my funds it turns out I have to go through telephone verification. I have to also have a PIN number sent to me via the post, which takes (according to Google) two to four weeks. Finally, I have to verify a bank account which also takes rather a long time, as far as I’m aware. Once I’ve gone through all of those hoops then Google will send me a cheque which, of course, takes more time to cash and gives Google an opportunity to earn a little interest.

Folks, there’s a couple of lessons here.

If, like me, you’ve experimented with Adsense in the past then it’s worth logging on to see if you have any money hidden there. Also, I dare say that it seems to me that Google are deliberately putting as many hoops and obstacles as possible between advertisers and their rightfully owned funds as they can. Their hope, I dare say, is that people like me will say ‘sod it, it’s not worth the effort’ and leave Google to claim back the money – no doubt with the backing of some very small print tucked away in the darkest depths of their terms and conditions.

With today’s technologies there is absolutely no need whatsoever for Google to utilise such a slow and drawn out withdrawal of funds process for their advertisers.  I say this as a person who has been living and breathing web development for over fifteen years.

Clearly, my case is trivial and the funds involved are relatively low. However, it’s rather mind boggling to imagine how much money Google must be hoarding and eventually reclaiming without advertisers being aware of what’s going on behind the scenes.  My speculation, given the popularity of Google, is that the amount of money being quietly reclaimed by Google must run into many millions of pounds.

Thanks for reading!

-David Connelly

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