I have been waiting for the dust to clear before I could write about this. For those of you who are unaware, on September 23, 2013 Google Adsense disabled ad serving to The D.C. Clothesline and thus cut off over 90% of our income. I am also unsure whether we will be paid what is still owed to us. I hope so but I am worried. For those of you who don’t know, this website is the product of a guy (me) that works from home and has made a lot of good friends in conservative circles. We aren’t a Fortune 500 company.
I was given an option to appeal the decision but it took me a few days to find out exactly why I was being cut off. It is kind of hard to appeal a decision when you are not even sure what policies you have violated.
In the end I found that I had violated an “original content” policy.
Am I in violation? Yes, without a doubt.
The D.C. Clothesline has close partnerships with other blogs and sites which allows me to share stories that are also printed elsewhere. This is fairly normal in the news business. For instance, how many sites carry the same Associated Press and Reuters articles every single day?
This was partially why I did not understand their policy in the first place. Please understand that I do not want to call attention to any website or hurt anyone’s livelihood, but I think you could probably name a few sites yourself that carry syndicated authors, AP articles and Reuters articles. This content is not original to their site, yet they are allowed to run Google Adsense ads. I made this point to a lady named Stephanie from Google Adsense support and she didn’t seem to care that everyone else was doing it and that this may have been the source for my confusion. She sent me an email and told me:
You’ll need to make sure that the articles on your website only appear on your website. If use a cited quote or paraphrase another source in some of your content, that is fine. However, we want to make sure visitors to your site are not seeing content of which the majority is already available elsewhere on the internet. Does that help clarify the issue for you?
Well then, that set up an interesting choice for me.
- I could delete about 900 articles (of roughly 2000 in our archives) that did not originate on The D.C. Clothesline.
- I could “go solo” and start my own blog with only my articles and the articles of the writers who are exclusive to The D.C. Clothesline (we don’t have many).
- I could take a leap of faith and stand on principle while telling Google Adsense “goodbye.”
I chose the latter. Why?
Quite simply people like what we are doing. We have days where we receive 50,000+ visitors now which is not bad for what started as a free wordpress blog less than a year ago. In fact, we have gone over 100,000 daily visitors twice. We are popular all over the world. Not many people probably realize that about 1 out of 6 of our visitors are from outside the USA. Some are likely American service men and women, but not all.
For me to go solo or to delete articles that we printed, WITH PERMISSION, from syndicated authors would destroy everything we have built.
Leaving Adsense is one of the scariest things I have ever done. I need you to understand that this is not a wealth making profession. We are not Fox News. 🙂 On an average day I would receive about $80-$100 from Google Adsense. I have three kids in diapers and I am very wealthy, but not monetarily. 🙂
The “network” income has now dropped to about $30-$40 a day because we had to take the first decent ad network that would accept us. We are going through lijit.com who I would recommend to those with the right set of circumstances. The problem is that they are a reseller/remnant network. Their purpose is to be able to outbid a network for a small percentage of traffic and pass the rest back to the main ad network. When you try to funnel all traffic through them it just doesn’t work. A lot of ads go unfilled and many of the ads that are placed are being sold for literally pennies.
That is where we are at. I am using infolinks.com as well to try to get my family through this trying time. Between the two sources we have between $40-$45 a day in total revenue.
However, the future is bright.
Folks I am a proud man and I can’t let Google silence me. My personal opinion is that they found a reason to get rid of me. I understand that we violated policies but I also understand that the vast majority of news sites do. I could count on one hand the number of actual news sites who do not use syndicated content of some sort.
So why would Google care about The D.C. Clothesline?
It’s not because we are big because we aren’t. My opinion is that someone complained and they used their terms of service as an excuse to dump a conservative site. When I replied to them I showed them examples of sites that have ZERO original content that use their network and it did not seem to matter.
Can I prove my hunch?
No I can’t and I have to move on.
Enter DP Media Pro…
DP Media Pro is a business run by a conservative couple from Texas named Amber and David Prescott. I befriended them some time ago and honestly should have made a move months ago. But with the birth of the twins and everything else that has been going on I did not move quickly enough.
They are taking this site on as a project. It’s not going to cost me a dime. They believe in what we are doing and believe that they will be able to recoup costs on the back-end. They are going to supply a lot of expensive equipment and man hours. I am so blessed. For the long term this is the best thing that could happen to The D.C. Clothesline.
I do not yet have a time frame for completion but I would estimate by the end of 2013 that the site will be much different than it is today. We are moving to a dedicated server and redesigning the site so it will function as a professional news site and no longer look like a generic blog. They have an ad sales person on staff that is going to then get busy obtaining good conservative friendly advertisers who fit with what we are doing.
It is a project that is long overdue.
In the mean time I have to find a way to survive. A couple of days ago I was trying a new ad network and they started serving ads of scantily clad women on The D.C. Clothesline. They were not nude but I still can’t have that. Sex sells. We all know that. But I have to support my family as best I can without totally losing all credibility. So for now I am sticking with lijit and infolinks. And for anyone who saw some of the ads I am talking about, I do apologize. I didn’t understand what kind of ads they would be showing. I thought they would be the normal “Depends undergarments” and “Dove soap” ads like we are showing now. LOL I have seen some stuff that makes me scratch my head.
Going forward the future looks bright but I am going to tell you exactly how I feel. I am scared to death. We have very little savings and it is going to be near impossible to support the family for the next 2-3 months. I’m hurting. Those of you who know me will also know that I would not do this unless I felt it necessary. We used to accept donations and I took the link down when I felt I could support my family without them.
But for now I am going to put the button here and ask that anyone who can, please help.