A Warning For Android Developers That Use AdSense For Content

google-android-phone-thumbnailImagine waking up and finding $25. It has a little note, “Thanks for the hard work, love Google!” That’s a nice feeling right? Imagine the next day, finding $40 from Google. Imagine the following day, finding another $75. Wow, look at all this money! It keeps coming and coming. Now imagine this. A month later, Google comes in the middle of the night, punches you in the head, yells an insult at you and then takes back the money. That’s what my experience was like, being an Android developer.

I grew up on 80’s cartoons, like GI Joe, Transformers and Thundercats. It gave me a tremendous sense of honor and doing the right thing. When I first started with Google AdSense I carefully read the rules. For years, there were no issues. The only real hiccup I ever had with Google was with their Book Search. They wanted me to verify that I actually wrote my book. But other than that, I believed that Google was good. You know, with their “do no evil” motto.

Naturally, I was excited when Android was released. I was looking for an upgrade to my T-Mobile Sidekick and I liked the idea of being an Android developer. In a short time, I released my book on the Android Market. I put it on sale for $2.99 and I got cursed out for it. Not only did it not sell well, someone sent me a nasty email for even thinking about charging money for it. Apparently, I’m supposed to give away my work for free.

How is a developer supposed to get money in such an environment?

I decided to go with the advertising route. A mixture of AdSense with Android seemed like a logical plan. They’re both Google products, why shouldn’t they play together? My app was essentially a mini website, delivered by the WebKit in Android. If these are basically web pages, why shouldn’t I put AdSense on them? For a while, things were going great. I was making a lot of money. Unfortunately, it did not last. Google has been known to play April Fool’s jokes. It felt like they played a big joke on me when I wasn’t paid.

My AdSense account was shut down. The reason given – I wasn’t a value to advertisers. No?! Why not? I tried to appeal the decision, but that was ineffective. It wasn’t clear to me why my account was shut down. What was the problem? It wasn’t until I started ranting on the Android Developers group (really nice people over there) did I get to the problem. AdSense for Content is not intended for mobile apps.

How was I supposed to know that? My AdSense account has been reactivated, but I still haven’t been paid. So, as a warning to other mobile developers out there, don’t mix AdSense For Content with apps. You could try to get into the Google AdSense for Mobile Apps beta, but I don’t have over 100,000+ pageviews a day – not yet anyway. So instead, I’m going to try AdMob.com and see how that works for me.

2 thoughts on “A Warning For Android Developers That Use AdSense For Content”

  1. Sorry to hear that and I do appreciate your warning others.

    Is it possible to hear a bit about your admob experience as well.

    Thanks, from a new android developer.

  2. I thought AdMob was cool. I stopped using it shortly after Google bought the company. Lately I’ve been focusing on iOS development. I like iAds better. I like how the advertisements are integrated into the app. The 60/40 split on a $2 ad is nice. AdMob has nice features though, like house ads and it’s better for a cross-platform app.

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