A week ago, my friend and I published our first game on Google Play called Messimage. It’s a visual trivia game filled with brain teasers for you to solve (try it for FREE here). So as all noob developers hope to do with their first app/game, we wanted to make money. For all the hard work you put into it, of course you want to get something back. For our first app, we decided to publish a free game with hopes of monetizing through advertisements. Since we were developing the game using Corona SDK, we used ad networks that were available to use for the Starter account on Corona, one of them being AdMob. Here, I’ll share some lessons learnt while integrating AdMob into our mobile game. Specifically, I’ll share my experience in getting my AdMob account suspended and then successfully getting the account reinstated, something that seems to be very hard to do judging from comments in online developer forums.
So first, the most important step to take when you start integrating AdMob into your mobile game/app is READ ADMOB’S PUBLISHER GUIDELINES. Don’t skim over it, really read it because there are some important stuff in there that will help prevent your account from being suspended. This is something that we did not do and as a result, a week after publishing the app, our AdMob account got suspended. So what mistake did we make?
Well, the biggest mistake was that we did not turn our test ads on when we tested our apps for updates. This is a big no no because there is a strict warning on the publisher guidelines that state that publishers cannot click on their own apps or ask someone to click on their ads. Remember this, DO NOT CLICK ON ADS RUN ON YOUR GAME/APP. Don’t do it when your testing your published app and especially don’t do it to increase your income in AdMob (really big no no!). As AdMob points out, this is the most common mistakes developers make. So, when developing or creating an update for your app, don’t forget to turn on those test ads. The option is provided in the AdMob SDK. As for Corona SDK, its available as a parameter input in the ads.show() function.
So what happened next? Well our account got suspended. We received an e-mail with the subject Google AdSense Account Suspended. The content? Well, they say that they cannot go into specifics (it figures as the email looks automated) and that our account was suspended maybe because of one or more of these common violations:
- Clicking the ads on your own site/app
- Generating bot traffic/clicks
- Using a paid 3rd party to gain traffic/clicks
- Manipulating how ads are served
- Encourage users to click on the ads
- Placing ads in a way that generates accidental clicks
Of course our mistake was that first bullet point, clicking the ads on your own site/app. At the time, we were not aware of test ads being available to use, and so, in essence, we were screwed. The saving grace was that there was an appeal form for us to fill if we felt that our account was closed by mistake. Naturally, we filled this form. Now here’s the noob advice for filling the AdMob appeal form.
First of all, be honest. If you knew that clicking the ads were not allowed and you clicked them anyway to increase your income, then I think you have no chance, and apparently you shouldn’t be putting ads on your app, it’s sort of cheating. If you didn’t know about this policy or forgot to turn on the test ads like we did then you might have a chance at getting your account back. For us, we just simply told the truth. First, we told them that we are new developers, this is our first app published to Google’s Play Store, and that we were not aware of test ads or the policy since we skipped reading over the publisher’s guidelines, a rookie mistake. Then we stated that if we were to get our account back, we would not repeat the mistake we made before. We waited for a few days, and fortunately we received another email which said that our AdSense and AdMob account would be reinstated. So, the point is, if you’ve made the same mistake as we’ve done, just be very honest about it. Hopefully, you’ll be as fortunate as we were and get your AdSense account back.