Jun292008

The puzzle image on the home page is a good fit for this puzzling name.

Ok, so I think I found the worst company name ever combined with the worst choice for domain names ever. This one is so bad, it might even make Aaron from good URL bad URL cry. It is so bad that I had to stop and take a picture of it (check out the picture below). My wife and I were driving to a restaurant when I noticed a sign with a company name – ΤranDotCom. I said “Hey, that’s a pretty good domain name, Τran.com.” My wife said, “Yeah, but why did they spell out the dot, instead of just using the symbol?”

Company Sign

I quickly pulled out my iPhone and entered “Τran.com” and sure enough, they do not own it. I said, “you don’t think…” and then entered “ΤranDotCom.com” which not only worked, but made the story even better. ΤranDotCom.com actually redirects to their company site at “www.ΤranDotCom.info.” Yep, that’s right, their company website is officially ΤranDotCom.info. I’m sure they are a great company, but I wonder how much time they waste just explaining their website address to people.

Can you imagine working for that company and talking to a customer on the phone.

Employee: Hello and thank you for calling ΤranDotCom.
Customer: Hi, I visited Tran.com and I could not find out anything about your company.
Employee: What website did you visit?
Customer: Tran.com
Employee: Oh, our website is actually ΤranDotCom.info.
Customer: Well, I just entered Tran.com.info and nothing happened.
Employee: Would you prefer to just send us an email?
Customer: Sure, what is your email addres?
Employee: Our email address is info@ΤranDotCom.info
Customer: Ok, got it. info@tran.com.info

Actually, I think that they probably had a few too many conversations like that because after reviewing their website, it appears that for email they are using tdcemail.com. 🙄

Bonus Picture: Employee of the month parking spot
Employee of the Month Parking
Understandably, the employee in charge of domain name selection has never parked there.

Apr32008

No AdSense for you.  Next!First, a little background. I do not buy trademark names, I do not click on my own ads, I do not encourage anyone else to click on my ads, I do not promote anything illegal or questionable, and I do not do any arbitrage. My sites are mostly informational in nature and generally provide useful information about location specific activities (i.e., geodomains). So I was surprised when I checked my email account and found this:

While going through our records recently, we found that your AdSense account has posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers. Since keeping your account in our publisher network may financially damage our advertisers in the future, we’ve decided to disable your account.

Please understand that we consider this a necessary step to protect the interests of both our advertisers and our other AdSense publishers. We realize the inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

If you have any questions about your account or the actions we’ve taken, please do not reply to this email. You can find more information by visiting https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=57153&hl=en_US.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

What? My account poses “a significant risk” to advertisers? That makes no sense, so I checked my website statistics for all of the sites that contain adsense. Everything looked fine. So, I thought to myself, perhaps some bad traffic is coming my way. The stats showed that there were no traffic spikes and the referrers looked ok. Then I did a search on Google for each of my sites, and I found what I think was the problem.

Someone else was using Google AdWords to advertise my website, using my exact domain name in the advertisement and linking the ad to my site!

Now keep in mind that this is an expired domain that I purchased more than 10 weeks ago, and someone else was paying to advertise my site on Google. Unfortunately, there was no way for me to find out who was doing this. If I clicked on the ad (which I did not do) it would just take me to my site. Was this the former owner who did not realize that they did not own the site anymore, or was this a savvy SEM expert who has figured out that if a competitor uses Google AdSense, you can simply advertise that competitor’s site and they will be banned by Google? That SEM idea is probably a result of overthinking it, but I guess it could happen.

Whatever the reason, I was banned from AdSense, so I decided to do a bit of research. According to their FAQ, because of my account suspension, the check I received yesterday has a stop payment on it and could not be cashed. There were payments from clicks on my other sites on that check as well, but according to Google, when one site is bad, they all are. Another FAQ says, “Can my account be reinstated” and the answer contained a link to an appeal form. I clicked that link and explained my case, then clicked submit, and then I waited. I did another Google search to see if anyone else has had this problem. Almost every case I read involving an account disablement ended in a permanent ban. There seemed to be few if any cases that were reversed. So then I waited some more. Another day passed, and then I received this email:

Hello,

We’re currently in the process of reviewing your account with the additional information that you’ve provided. Please understand, however, that there is no guarantee that your account will be reinstated into AdSense. As a reminder, Google does reserve the right to disable an account at any time, as stated in the AdSense Terms and Conditions (http://www.google.com/adsense/terms ).

Thank you for your patience.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

At this point, I was not optimistic about my chances. I understand that Google must protect the advertisers, and the advertisers provide them with the majority of their revenue. I thought that they would likely err on the side of caution, and that it was not likely that they would reverse their decision. Then, three hours later, I received this email:

As you know, Google treats instances of invalid click activity very seriously. We have reviewed your circumstances and have reinstated your account, effective immediately. However, there will be a delay before ads start running on your website. It may take up to 48 hours before all of our servers are informed of the change.

We appreciate your patience, and apologize for any inconvenience. If you have any questions, please feel free to respond to this email.

Wow, although it was the right decision, I did not know if they would have time to actually look at the facts and I was prepared to move along without AdSense. In fact, I already applied to the Yahoo Publisher Network and am planning to try Yahoo ads on that site. I wonder if I can finally cash my AdSense check now. 😡

***Update by Ryan***

It is now 4 weeks later and I am still unable to cash this check. The check still has a stop payment on it, so even though I can login to my adsense account and Google ads appear on my sites, this check is no good.

***Update by Ryan***

On April 28 I received a new check from Google that includes the total from the old check as well as additional new earnings. The old check still has the stop payment on it, so if this happens to you, do not try to cash any checks that you are in possession of after your account is disabled. If your account is permanently disabled, the checks are worthless. If your account is reinstated, the checks you have not deposited are still worthless, but they will send you a replacement check next month.

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