StumbleUpon can get your Adsense account banned

In January this year, we asked, Does Adsense prohibit the use of StumbleUpon?

At that time, there was no definite reply from SEO experts or Google Adsense themselves. But now, there are more reasons to believe that StumbleUpon can actually lead to a banned Adsense account.

Google Adsense’s Program Policies specifically disallow the use of:

[a]ny method that artificially generates clicks or impressions on your Google ads is strictly prohibited. These prohibited methods include but are not limited to repeated manual clicks or impressions, using robots, automated click and impression generating tools, third-party services that generate clicks or impressions such as paid-to-click, paid-to-surf, autosurf, and click-exchange programs, or any deceptive software.

Adsense reiterated this policy when they issued a “Note on Traffic Exchange Programs” in April 2007:

We understand that our publishers are always looking for ways to attract interested users to their sites. But using third-party tools or services to increase your site traffic may lead to invalid clicks or impressions and result in your account being disabled. For this reason, we’d like to provide you with some guidance about this.


As many of you already know, our program policies strictly prohibit any means of artificially generating ad impressions or clicks, including third-party services such as paid-to-click, paid-to-surf, auto-surf, and click-exchange programs. These programs offer incentives for users to view web pages or click on ads, resulting in activity that is harmful to our advertisers.


We occasionally receive questions from publishers interested in using traffic exchanges to bring traffic to their site. While these services may help advertise your site, we don’t recommend using them, as they may also result in similar invalid activity. We realize that you may have questions about a specific traffic service and whether it could potentially create invalid impressions or clicks. However, please understand that we’re unable to comment on any particular third-party service.


As a parting note, we encourage you to read through our tips and guidelines and Webmaster Guidelines to help keep your account in good standing. These guidelines advise publishers to “Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first,” and we feel this is ultimately the best way to attract more visitors to your site and build a truly loyal audience.

There are two things here that Adsense wants to point out. One, that it dislikes “artificial means” of generating ad impressions or clicks. Two, that it favors “unique and relevant content” over anything else as a means of bringing traffic to a site. Although Adsense does not specifically mention softwares or programs that it considers bringing artificial traffic, StumbleUpon may very well be one of those. has a similar opinion:

Most of the AdSense Publishers know that Stumblers generally don’t click on ads and this somehow generates very low CTR. Depending on the ads generated to your particular page and the number of AD units, you might get stuck in a situation where your CTR goes below the required minimum and therefore you’re unintentionally making impression fraud. In order to protect their publishers (actually to keep their ads active so that they continue to pay) AdSense might send you the “you’re banned” email that can get you in really bad situation.

Better be careful when using StumbleUpon or other programs that can generate artificial traffic to your site.

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12 thoughts on “StumbleUpon can get your Adsense account banned”

  1. Gee…

    I guess the only “artificial” means of generate traffic to your website you can use is Google Adwords! This is becoming ridiculous…

  2. i doubt there would be any banning anytime soon from google for if this news reach stumbleupon, they will surely make some PR to clarify their name and the nature of their site, which is not an auto-surt-type-of website.

  3. Thanks for the informative article. Have you or anyone for that matter heard of people/businesses getting banned from AdSense because they were using StumbleUpon?

  4. If you have a Google Horror Story and want to share it with the world, please feel free to post it at . We are an RSS enabled Article site dedictated to effecting positive change at Google regarding how they treat us small publishers and advertisers. YOU can make a difference by sharing your story with us. The more people that contribute and syndicate our content, the more exposure we will have and the greater the chance we can get the big “G’s” attention. We may be small timers but we number in the thousands and we can make a difference if we all band together!

  5. This is a very interesting and informative post. Although I have heard a lot of Google Publishers being banned using autosurf, I haven’t heard being banned using StumpleUpon. Nevertheless, I still do not use Stumble because it might create artificial traffic that can raise a red flag to my account.

    more power.

  6. Very nice message over impression fraud, I like it, but main thing that i observed during all my campaigning practice is that if number of impressions are coming from only one source then google might think that the publisher is involved in click/impression fraud, if we have more than one source then I think we are not in trouble, I am using SU side by side with both are giving me nice impressions but still I use craigslists more than SU because I thought that there is something wrong with SU and I dont want to take the risk of my adsense account.

  7. Is this serious? This is the first post I heard about Stumbleupon that can lead to your Adsense account being banned by Google. Perhaps, you should not really use Stumbleupon on your own site. I think Stumbleupon does not also allow you to Stumbleupon your own site.

  8. I think if someone on Stumbleupon reports you for spamming to Google it can get you banned since some people feel whatever site which is trying to sell something or has ads can be consider spam.

    It is sad people who wrongly report spam since it does not help fight against true spam, and it is so easy to find out what spam really is by going to Wikipedia and reading the wiki on spm.

    But, banning someone for having a Stumbleupon on their site is dumb since we can’t control who stumble our sites.

    I use Social bookmarks to submit my articles to Ezine, and Squidoo, so It is harder for me to my sites to get banned because of Stumbleupon, digg, reddit users complaining to Google because of Spam since they will most likely report Ezine and Squidoo for spamming to Google and other ad networks since article sites have Google ads. It is unlikely they will go to my resource box on Ezine, squidoo and find out my link to report to google for spamming.


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