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Google Adsense Nightmare

Published to Blog on 20 Nov 2006

I’ve had my GMail account for a while now, two years maybe? Since getting that account I pretty much use it for all things Google - like Adsense, Statistics, etc. I figured that since I was using Google’s stuff I might as well use that same Google account for everything. Well, that may have been my undoing, at least it felt like it was the last few days.

Earlier this year a client I was doing some work for, we’ll call them KB Trim, added my GMail address to the list of users allowed to access their Adwords account. I was implementing conversion and revenue tracking for their online store so it made sense to give me access so I could get the documentation, review the reports, etc.

Several months ago, the end of July, I signed up for an Adsense account using my GMail account so I could run ads on this site to offset some of the costs of hosting, etc. It was cool having everything available with just that one login. Everything was working fine until a couple of weeks ago.

Apparently KB Trim removed my login from their account, which is fine since I wasn’t doing any work for them anymore. Soon afterward, though, I was no longer able to login to my Adsense account. I tried all the online procedures for resetting my password, but nothing seemed to work.

Finally early last week I contacted Google Adsense support. Their first email reply went to both me and a person at KB Trim and said that my account was registered under her email address,, and that I should log in with that email address. Of course they were alarmed and thought that someone was trying to access their account, but I soon calmed them down and proceeded to inform Google that they must have made a mistake. A day later I got an email that said they were indeed mistaken and provided me with yet another link to reset my password. When I tried to do that I was presented with an error message that said that my account did not exist. I emailed Google Support back and got yet another email stating that my account belonged to and that I needed to login with that email address - almost the same email that I had gotten the first time.

By now I was a bit frustrated and replied back with a much longer email explaining everything that I explained here. I received an email stating that they were going to escalate my issue to a technician and that he would reply back to me soon. My hopes were not yet squashed. However, I just received an email from the technician who explained that when I signed up for my Adsense account since I was already signed up for an Adwords account, which I really was not - in my opinion I was just added to their access list, my Adsense account was linked to their Adwords account. Because of the way the accounts are organized there is no way to switch the account back to me. Then he politely asked if I would like him to close my account so I could then create a new one.


And since I haven’t yet been paid anything from my original account I still have everything I have earned to this point sitting in it. Nobody has yet told me whether I will lose all that or not. It’s not a ton of money, but it’s more than I’d care to piss away and it would more than pay for a really nice dinner or two for my family of four.

At this point I’m beyond frustrated and I don’t know whether I should just open a new Adsense account or whether I should look for alternatives.

Why would they automatically add my Adsense account under the umbrella of someone else’s Adwords account? I could see doing that if I was the owner of the Adwords account, but I wasn’t. As far as I knew I was just on their list of people who could log in and see the reports, etc. And why can’t they just switch my Adsense account back to me?  I’m sure they can, but it is probably a case of financial incentive - it doesn’t make sense to pay a dba, technician, and a couple of support people a few hours pay to satisfy this one lowly customer’s complaints. But I would hope that they realize that doing so would make me a Google loyalist for life. I think too many businesses don’t realize that.

This should definitely be filed under Seth Godin’s list of things that are broken.

Dan Hounshell
Web geek, nerd, amateur maker. Likes: apis, node, motorcycles, sports, chickens, watches, food, Nashville, Savannah, Cincinnati and family.
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