YouTuber Banned From Making Money Because Of Overzealous Fan

Like a lot of people on YouTube, Nick Reineke makes videos about games. And like a lot of people on YouTube, he wants to make money off those videos. But he can't. Last month, YouTube banned him from AdSense, the advertising service that most YouTubers use to make money.

It's not clear exactly why he was banned — YouTube hasn't explained — but Reineke thinks he knows what the problem was: an excited fan. A fan who clicked on one of Reineke's ads too many times.

A fan who might have inadvertently ruined Reineke's YouTube career.

Kotaku was first contacted by Reineke, who runs a channel dedicated to showing off indie games, a few weeks ago. He told us that he had received an e-mail from YouTube saying he was banned from AdSense for "invalid activity." And he said he knew why.

"I've come to find out that a fan of mine took it upon himself to "help" my page by clicking

my ad 20 or so times," he said in an e-mail. "I'd never condone this and never would have wanted anyone to do this as I am aware it is a flagrant violation of the AdSense Terms of Service. Unfortunately for me, my YouTube channel is tied to my AdSense account and because of this issue I am now blacklisted from becoming a YouTube partner and monetising my videos in the future."

The fan has admitted to clicking the ad, posting on Reineke's forums to apologize. "I thought, 'Hey, maybe I could give it a few clicks to see if Nick gets any money from it. Couldn't hurt to try, right?'" he wrote. "This was obviously [an] incredibly dumb decision and ended up getting Nick's AdSense blocked completely."

Reineke has reached out to other YouTube networks to try to strike a deal, but they won't partner with someone who can't support AdSense. He can't make a new account without making up a false identity. And when he appealed to YouTube, they denied his request.

Here's the letter they sent him:


Thanks for the additional information provided in your appeal, we appreciate your continued interest in the AdSense program. After thoroughly reviewing your account data and taking your feedback into consideration, our specialists have confirmed that we're unable to reinstate your AdSense account.

If you'd like more details on our invalid activity policies or review process, please visit As a reminder, further participation in the AdSense program by publishers whose accounts have been disabled is not permitted.

Thanks for your understanding,

The Google AdSense Team

After an e-mail like that, Reineke says there isn't much else he can do.

"It is not possible to directly contact Google," he said. "No one will speak with you, and there are no other avenues unless you are friends with someone who works there. Once your appeal is rejected, they will not reply to your emails or speak with you further on the issue (they actually tell you that in the rejection letter). It is essentially a LIFETIME ban for your account. Seems fair, right?"

I reached out to YouTube for clarity, but they wouldn't comment on Reineke's specific situation. A YouTube representative sent me this statement:

If we determine that an AdSense account may pose a risk to our advertisers or the experience of individual users, we may disable that account to protect the health of the network. If a publisher feels that the decision to suspend their AdSense account was made in error, and if they can maintain in good faith that the invalid activity was not due to the actions or negligence of themselves or those for whom they are responsible, they can appeal the disabling of their account. Accounts will be reinstated on a case by case basis.

While it's certainly possible that Reineke was banned for another reason, he told me he has no idea what that might be, and YouTube isn't helping.

"The notification that they had disabled my AdSense account due to 'invalid activity' was sent just a few days after the person had told me they did the spam clicking on my ad," he said. "Since it was the only ad I had up, and it was the only thing tied to my AdSense account... it's really the only thing that could have caused this. I've also considered the possibility of a rogue spammer on my site or something random like that, but I've never seen any evidence of strange behaviour on the site before my account had already been disabled.

One of Nick Reineke's most recent videos, from his channel Indie Impressions.

"My YouTube and website editing and usage (with respect to my account standing) has been very much a repeated pattern of posting new content the same way day after day for months, so I can say in good conscience, other than the fan clicking the ad, there wasn't a deviation of any kind or anything I've done that would be misconstrued as malicious by Google."

So Reineke is frustrated. He's feeling helpless. And he doesn't know what to do next.

"My question is: what is there to stop someone who didn't like me from spamming any ad they know to be powered by AdSense to get it all taken down?" Reineke said. "There are no repercussions for the person doing the clicking, only the people who stand to lose everything. Seeing as how I did not condone this action by the individual who thought they were helping me, it's not really much different.

"So is there really justice here? Someone who has devoted thousands of hours to their site and channel is now barred from potentially ever making money from their work on this service because an over-zealous fan decided on their own to spam click my ad?"


    So what they're saying is, if you want to get rid of a Youtuber you really hate, stop hitting dislike on their videos and try instead loving them way too much to demonetize their account.

      Yep, it's not so much about this one account holder, more about the precedent that this sets.

      Having said that, for all we know hitting AdSense multiple times might not have made any difference.

      Perhaps someone ought to give it a go to find out - run an experiment. Choose 20 accounts by random, hit Adsense multiple times, see what percentage of the accounts get banned / have repercussions.

        FOR SCIENCE!!!

        But why go for random accounts, go for stuff you don't like... if it works they go away, if it fails they are compensated for being subject of the experiment.

          Depends how malicious u want to be I suppose.

            So is the malicious option trying to kill off 20 people you hate or randomly getting 20 innocent bystanders banned?

              The hate part. It was just a flippant comment, I really don't care about youtube bannings. Not my concern. Just a suggestion is all.

      Think of the possibilities... We could take down so many webcomics we hate...

    Well that's awkward.
    Hey, who wants to click RWJ's ads a whole lot?

      I'm up for that.

      Thing is, I reckon with these "big" Youtubers like RWJ, that nothing will happen to them. They're happy to lose the little revenue they earn from a small user with only one revenue shared video, but not one who scores millions of views regularly.

      First thing I thought of.

    That's a bugger, but it kinda sounds like BS to me. It would be easy for youtube to compare IP addresses to see where the clicks were coming from. Sounds to me like they're pretty sure it was him, or someone he was in cahoots with.

    Just guessing though. Bad luck either way.

      I agree. It should not be as simple as someone repetitively clicking an add to cause account ban

      If they don't have some IP-Address recording for add clicks, limiting them, for an advertising company.... Then they are doing it wrong.

      That's what I thought - why doesn't YouTube have scripting in place to ignore excess clicks from the same IP? Obviously they can detect the multiple clicks, but they use that mechanism to instead ban the guy. I call foul.

      Agreed. There is no way this is the reason otherwise it would have come up a lot more often.

    Sounds fake, considering the amount of haters on youtube every single person who is partnered on youtube would be getting adsense revenue blocked from griefers.

    There is something else to this story.

    Last edited 30/11/12 1:22 pm

    Something isn't right. It sounds like YouTube and Google aren't being rational with his request of appeal. For their stance on presentation of themselves in social media and how open their services are, it doesn't add up.

    So what you're saying is that if you really hate someone's youtube channel, we just have to click on their adsense links 20 or so times to get them banned from Adsense.. good deal!


    I also agree there must be something more to this story... otherwise it would be simply too easy to abuse.

    You don't get your account banned for 20 clicks by a stranger. If it's your IP the clicks are coming from, then it's a possibility, but this story doesn't add up. All that happens when there's multiple clicks is that it stops registering them.

    I dunno sounds kind of dodgy to me, if they can track repeat clicks they should ban the user not the advertiser who had nothing to do with it. Sounds more like a way for Adsense to cancel accounts at wim and keep the profits. Im sure their terms of service are locked tight but uno, id probably continue fighting them for my adsense to be reinstated because punishing me for someone elses crime is kinda wrong and just screws over the adsense member aswell as the advertisers while Adsense just throws you out and keeps whats left aye.

      Youtube/Google are horribly paranoid. They can stop paying/ban you the moment they become suspicious of you... even if they have no evidence.

    Sounds like he was getting someone to click multiple times for him. Deserved ban.

    Lets go CLICK ALL THE ADS! Then youtube will be clean once more.
    (20 times+)

    Where can I click "like" for Adsense themselves?
    Or for that matter ANY ad agency?
    If we all click 'em often enough will all the marketing droids go away and die somewhere?

    Sigh.. if only.

    Excuse me while get all click happy on You Tubes own pages.

    (all sounds like a load of old tosh to me too)

    Seems like it got reinstated.

    This was posted at the end of the article on the US site:

    Update: Shortly after the publication of this article, I got an e-mail from Reineke saying that his account had been restored. He wasn't contacted by YouTube or informed in any way; he just suddenly saw that AdSense was back.

    "I uploaded a video last night and I didn't have the row of $s next to my videos," he said. "This morning, as I noticed [this article] show up in my RSS feed, it was back."

    All is well.

    Last edited 30/11/12 5:42 pm

    probably all the clicks came from one of his previous IP Addresses that he logged in from, what im saying is he is his own biggest fan.

    As an AdSense user myself and someone who knows quite a few, I can tell you this is not uncommon. Google do automatically block spam clicks as well as any click originating from an IP that Google has determined the owner of the AdSense account uses.

    Funnily enough, this exact situation happened to my brother-in-law (minus the Youtube part) where a loyal fan of his website decided to spam click. This user lived in Canada and reports he was logged in with his several year old Google account at the time. We live in Australia, but my brother-in-law still got banned. Google could easily identify the user, but it didn't make a difference and the appeal was rejected.

    Sounds like a case of the admin guy in-charge simply being hair-trigger and draconian: Security guard syndrome. You'd be surprised how common this is.
    Or maybe not. :)

    If this is true, someone quick go ban Pewdiepie

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