One of the top questions we receive from sellers when they list their site is whether they should leave their AdSense ads on the site while it’s up for sale. On one hand, selling your site isn’t against the rules. On the other hand, there are a few stories out there of AdSense accounts being banned after a site is listed on Flippa.
So what’s the deal?
Officially, nothing in the AdSense guidelines prohibits website owners from putting their sites up for sale, either privately or in a marketplace. It’s safe to list AdSense websites for sale on Flippa, and we have never heard otherwise from Google.
You can and should review the rules yourself here.
But What Could Be Happening?
Google pays very, very close attention to potential scams. They monitor every click to spot trends and patterns pointing to fraudulent activity. When a site is listed on Flippa, it often receives a swell in new traffic from interested buyers. This can have some positive effects (we’ve noticed that the Alexa rank of a listed site often goes down in the first few days of the auction), which is great for the seller, but it can also look suspiciously like fraudulent traffic. And fraudulent traffic is, of course, cause for a ban.
What Can I Do to Avoid Getting Banned?
Even though it’s not against the rules to sell your site, the best course of action may be to disable AdSense before listing your site for sale. This would be an especially smart move if your site had been receiving very little traffic, since a sudden surge in traffic would look all the more suspicious. Yes, removing ads for the duration of your listing might cost you a bit of money, but it can also buy you peace of mind.
If your site already receives a lot of traffic, it’s probably safe to list it for sale without disabling AdSense. However, you should still take appropriate precautions just in case the worst happens. First of all, if you’re not already keeping detailed records of your AdSense data in a secure location, start doing so now. You won’t be able to access this data if your site gets banned, and it could be invaluable to you if you do receive that dreaded templated email from Google.
If you’ve saved your data, you’ll have all the information you need to put together a persuasive appeal and hopefully get your account reinstated. Carefully examine your data to try to determine the reason why your account was banned. Look for any sudden or unusual changes. Was there an abrupt surge in traffic? If so, where did it come from?
Once you’ve figured out why you think your account was banned, use this form to send an appeal to Google. Simply explain what happened, keeping it factual and as brief as possible. Finish by assuring Google that you have every intention to follow the rules and provide their advertisers with quality leads.
There’s a chance your account will be reinstated, but there seems to be just as much of a chance that it won’t. So don’t get your hopes up too much, and have a backup plan of alternative monetization strategies just in case your AdSense account is lost for good.
The Bottom Line
If you’re really worried about your AdSense account getting banned, go ahead and disable AdSense while your site is listed on Flippa. But if your site already receives a high volume of traffic, and if your livelihood doesn’t depend on your advertising revenue, you may want to keep your AdSense account active.
Thanks to Rich Anderson for the photo!