Adsense Policy Warning Notices

Back in the old days of Adsense, if you violated any rules, you got an email that said something to the effect of “After reviewing your account we have determined that your account poses a risk of invalid activity.. Yada, yada, yada, you’re banned”.

But these days the Adsense team seems to be taking a kinder, gentler route with some violations.  Maybe because of the results of the survey they send to publishers, of which one of the questions is “how trustworthy is Adsense” and other questions that I’m guessing got very low scores. Or, maybe it’s from the lawsuits. No matter the reason, it seems that the Adsense team is kicking off 2016 (or maybe they’ve been doing it longer) with warnings for some policy violations.

In the last month, I’ve received warnings for two of my websites.  I got the notices via email and as a pop-up notice (impossible to miss) in my Adsense dashboard.  The reads (in part) like this:

Hello,

This is a warning message to alert you that there is action required to bring your AdSense account into compliance with our AdSense program policies. We’ve provided additional details below, along with the actions to be taken on your part.

You do not need to contact us if you make changes. Please be aware that if additional violations are accrued, ad serving may be disabled to the website listed above. You should immediately take time to review your pages with Google ads to ensure that they comply with our policies.

The email explained the violations, generic ways to resolve them, steps I needed to take, and reminded me it’s my responsibility to check my site, etc.  Overall a fairly friendly warning.

Upon logging into my Adsense Dashboard, there was a big red notice alerting me to the issue as well. Clicking the notice took me to the Policy Violations section which gave more information about the problem and has a button next to it allowing me to “mark as resolved”.  Once marked as resolved, it stays listed as a “Previous non-compliance” issue – meaning there is a record of all violations.  Adsense violation warning in the dashboard marked as resolved

In my case the violations were basically “too many ads above the fold” or using large ad units above the fold on a mobile theme and were (kinda) easily fixed.  A quick Google search shows a huge amount of other bloggers and webmasters have also received this same type of warning in the last 6 months or so, so it looks like the Adsense team is cracking down on this type of violations but are also giving publishers fair-warning to resolve the issue.

I expect that publishers will start to see more of these kinder, gentler warnings from the Adsense team for more types of violations in the near future.

Paypal Class Action Lawsuit

Notices are now being sent to claimants for the Zepeda v. Paypal class action lawsuit. This lawsuit affects anyone that PayPal tried to screw over from April 2006 and November 2015. Here is the notice and link to file a claim:

A settlement has been reached in a class action in which the plaintiffs allege, among other things, that PayPal improperly handled disputed transactions on PayPal accounts and improperly placed holds and reserves on accounts or closed or suspended accounts. Plaintiffs also allege that PayPal failed to provide annual error-resolution notices and monthly account statements under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.

You are a member of the Settlement Class if you had an active PayPal account between April 19, 2006 and Nov. 5, 2015. Certain Settlement Class Members who had a hold or reserve placed on their account and/or who had their account closed or suspended by PayPal are eligible to receive a monetary payment upon submission of a valid claim form.

This notice summarizes the proposed settlement. For the precise terms and conditions of the settlement, please see the Settlement Agreement available at http://www.accountholdsettlement.com/, by accessing the Court docket in this case through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov, or by visiting the office of the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays.

PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE THE COURT OR THE COURT CLERK’S OFFICE TO INQUIRE ABOUT THIS SETTLEMENT OR THE CLAIM PROCESS.

Stick a fork in it, Drupal is done

Drupal's tombstone
Sad to see ya go

Way back in 2006 I invested a lot of time researching what platform to build my first website on. After a few days, I had the choices narrowed down to Joomla or Drupal – at that time WordPress wasn’t even in the running.  If you wanted a capable, customizable CMS, Drupal or Joomla were the only real choices.  Joomla had several very public security issues at the time and people were already beginning to complain about lack of support – signaling that Joomla was on it’s last legs.  I downloaded drupal-4.2.6.zip and a great relationship was born.

Over the next 2 or 3 years I built several websites, all on Drupal and over time I upgraded them to Drupal v5, and although a pain-in-the-ass, then to Drupal v6.  Also around this time I started toying with WordPress.  Back then if you wanted a full-fledged, “real” website, the choice was easy: Drupal. If you “just wanted a blog“, the choice was quickly becoming WordPress.

As time went on, I created many more websites and my CMS/Framework of choice became WordPress – but for my two most popular websites, I stuck with Drupal, Version 6. Partially because for those websites Drupal 6 was working just fine, and also because migrating a website from Drupal to WordPress is virtually impossible. Sure, migrating a Drupal site to WordPress can be done, but it’s not easy, and with complex websites, unless you are an expert or want to pay an expert, it might as well be impossible.

Drupal 6 was working great. All of the modules I use, about 30 between the two websites had been around for quite a while and had all of the bugs worked out. As long as nothing changed, Drupal 6 would last forever!  Then, something changed.  I needed a responsive theme. With Drupal 6, there are virtually no responsive themes.

Around 2013 I upgraded my smaller, simpler website to Drupal 7.  A few of the modules I was using on Drupal 6 were not available for D7, but no show-stoppers, but this is when I started to realize how much better WordPress was than Drupal.  The Drupal 7 upgrade was a horror show. Error after error, PHP White Screens of Death (WSOD), database errors, headers-already-sent errors, errors I had never heard of or seen before.  Finally, after much time and pain, the simple website was up on Drupal 7 and running “ok”.  I was only using a few modules on that site, but virtually all of them had issues. Some issues made the modules totally unusable, some were just annoyances.  I figured that over time these problems would get worked out by the developers and module-maintainers.

Two years later I finally decided to upgrade my larger, more complicated website from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7. The upgrade process was no better than my previous upgrade two-years earlier. Stupid errors, problems and issues. Finally after several days the site was up and running on Drupal 7, minus about 10 modules, and with issues with almost all of the other modules.  No problem I figured, I’ll just hit the Drupal support forums.

Drupal Support? What Support?

It was now, when trying to get support for Drupal core issues and module problems, that the impending death of Drupal became obvious.  The core support forums that used to be brimming with users and developers helping each other and solving problems, was now mostly regular website owners like me, begging for help, and rarely getting it.  The module support-areas were worse.  Most modules had not been updated in years, many had been completely abandoned.  I felt like I was wandering around in an old abandoned building yelling for help, but only hearing my own voice echoing down the long, dark hallways.

I reported a few bugs and requested help a few times. To date, I have gotten ZERO responses.  Looking through the core support forum, it’s clear that I am not the only one. There is some activity, some users helping users and a few developers chiming-in here and there, but still many, too many, unanswered questions. Nothing like it was a few years ago.  Want to see what free, user-supported support should look like? Go check out the WordPress support forums.

Wait! What about Drupal 8 and Drupal 9?

Drupal 8 is the new current version and Drupal 9 is brewing.  So far, ONE of the modules that I use has a stable Drupal V8 release and only 2 have dev version 8 releases. As I mentioned earlier, most have been abandoned for a few years and I doubt a version 8 version will be coming.  As for Drupal 9 support? Don’t make me laugh.

Drupal is officially dead

If you have a team of Drupal developers or if you are a developer yourself, Drupal might still be a good choice since you can support yourself.  But if you are like 98.9% of us ‘regular webmasters’ that rely on the Drupal module developers for support, Drupal is probably the worst choice you could make for a website in 2015. As a matter of fact, I would not wish Drupal on my worst enemy at this point.  I have not even mentioned the usability issues!  Try upgrading a module in Drupal 6 or Drupal 7?  Better have a good FTP client and know how to use it – not a problem for a wirehead, but if you want to appeal to the masses you have to make it user-friendly. Upgrade a plugin in WordPress? No problem, click a button!

No doubt some wire-head will tell you “it’s easy to fix your own problems in Drupal”, but he will obviously be so disconnected from the real-world, that he has no ability to realize that we aren’t all programmers.  Others may also tell you “there is still lots of good support for Drupal” – to those, I would ask them to define “lots” – because unless you are blind, a quick look through the core and module support areas will prove that Drupal support is virtually dead – and it is that lack of support that killed Drupal.  Rest In Peace.