It is probably the worst feeling for a publisher… checking your email only to discover a “Google AdSense Account Disabled” email from Google. That is what happened to an AdSense publisher Steve this morning (and presumably to others as well)… and it turns out that it was a fake termination letter done by a company that sells invalid click prevention services. And even worse, the company – uniQlicks – used a Google.com address as the From address, to fool even more publishers into thinking they’ve been terminated. If you haven’t received one, I am sure you can imagine your reaction thinking your account has been terminated, only to discover it is a bait and switch technique designed to sell their service to “protect” your AdSense account.
The company using this sleazy spam scare tactic is uniQlicks, a company that has been popping up recently with a bunch of paid blog posts / “guest blog posts” on a variety of making money online blogs.
Here is the complete letter Steve received this morning, with a subject line of “Google AdSense Account Disabled”:
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
The Google AdSense Team
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Our apologies for scaring you. Your AdSense account is
fine, and we are not affiliated in any way with Google.
But the above email could very well land in your inbox
one day – this time sent not by us, but by Google.
We checked out your cool <keyword> <keyword> resource.
<2 keyword specifics removed as per Steve’s request>
You are using AdSense, but apparently haven’t installed
any script to protect your site from invalid clicks.
This means that your AdSense account is at risk of
termination due to invalid clicks. AdSense bans are for
life, so your income would be wiped out forever.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that we can help
safeguard your site and your AdSense income from
invalid clicks. A basic account is free, why not try
Again, I’m sorry if I shocked you with this email. No
harm was intended. Our job is to help protect
livelihoods – and sometimes extreme measures are needed
to do just that.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.
I look forward to hearing from you!
So not only is uniQlicks sending unsolicited spam, they are doing it by impersonating Google as well. You have to wonder how many publishers don’t even bother reading down past what appears to be the end of the email to actually get the message as well. There have been some phishing click fraud warning emails sent out recently, but nothing to the effect where it was done by a company selling services.
This particular email was not send to the same email address associated with Steve’s AdSense account, so it is clearly not in any way associated with AdSense.
So if you receive an AdSense suspended email, first scroll to the end to make sure it isn’t a uniQlicks spam email. Second, go to login to your AdSense account, but by entering in the address manually – NEVER click the link from an email in case it is a phishing attempt. If your account is suspended, you will NOT be able to login to your account. Or you can check ad serving on any of your sites, if ads are running normally, there isn’t a problem with an account being suspended.
I would also NOT RECOMMEND using uniQlicks, since this is the type of spam scare tactics they are using on publishers. If unsolicited spam sent from “Google” with this kind of message is how they promote their company and service, you have to wonder if their invalid click protection is just as bad.
Update: Daniel Tsieh of UniQlicks has posted a comment claiming the emails aren’t spam since they are sent to a publisher’s site they visit (obviously a different definition of spam than the rest of us have!) and defends the “shock tactic” of sending an email impersonating Google AdSense. You can read my response below it. I would have expected to hear an apology or a “my bad”, instead of accusing publishers for not using their services since many were scared by the email. And not surprisingly, I still will not recommend it.
Update 2: Daniel from uniQlicks responds again, this time insulting bloggers, who make up a good portion of his target customer base.