No More Google Adsense: The future of FFBF?

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I’m gutted!

Why?

Google has withdrawn their Adsense from my Blog due to a violation. They can’t say what violation, but I had the right to appeal. I appealed the decision but they came back saying their hands were tied. I can no longer make money through ads via Google. 

The frustrating part is they can’t tell me how I or the Blog have violated the terms. Therefore, I’m not sure how I can move forward and not repeat the same thing. Anyway, what’s done is done. It doesn’t look like I can do anything about that now. For those of you that are interested, I made just short of £30 a month at the end of last year, and over the last 2 months I had made £15 a month. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s money for seemingly nothing. 


So what next?

I haven’t made up my mind yet, but in my mind I have three main options:
  1. In a Goodfella’s accent ‘Forget about it’. Just carry on and be content with not making money via the Blog. I’m going to be a Kindle Millionaire soon anyways!
  2. Move provider immediately and set up my own domain name, improve the Blog and change things up.
  3. Stay where I am for now and look to move in the not to distant future. 

I’m somewhere between 2 and 3 right now. One of the main reasons I used Blogger was to get some revenue streams from a free platform. Now this is no longer available, I’m likely to be able to make ‘some’ money, albeit small from setting up my own platform. 

The problem I face is this will all take time to do, and I don’t have a lot of spare time floating around right now, hence number 3. 


The future of FFBF

My plan all along has been to set up my own domain name and have more choice/ownership of how my Blog looks and what goes onto it. I’m sure the time will come when I will do this, I just don’t know when. 

If I did, what would I call it? Would I keep FFBF as people know it, or is it a good time to try something new? 

I’m not the most creative type, so I’m not too sure what I’d call it to be honest – Any suggestions?

I was thinking of keeping the photo of me looking out to the sea in Sweden, but turning it into a black and white logo. 

My Ultimate Goal 

Get the message of Frugality, Investing, and Early Retirement out there to more people. I want to make it easy to understand and fun to do. Which in my mind, it is! 


“Who’s with me?!” (cue large cheers)

I was only recently talking about my plans for this Blog and my Ultimate Goal with Lou. Now seems as good as time as any to share that with you.


Podcast/Youtube

I’d like to take my approach out to one of these domains, keeping with the FFBF, (dare I say) brand. I’m a big fan of Podcast’s and Youtube, and I don’t think there’s a lot of presence there right now in this genre. I’m a big fan of ‘Spartan Up’ and ‘Barbell Shrugged’ (podcasts/youtube). They interview successful people in their field, find out what they do, their secrets/tips and share it with all the listeners. I’d like to take a similar approach and interview the successful people in PF/ER as there are plenty of people out there to talk to, and I for one would love to hear what they have to say.
I love the idea of meeting people where they live, spending time with them, learning from them, and being part of the process for getting their ideas ‘out there’.


UK Gatherings

I’d like these gatherings to continue to grow as we do more and more. After we’ve gained a core audience who attend them regularly, I think we can start adding a learning/developing link to it by having guest speakers coming along to help us in a certain area of investing, frugal living, or making Beer! (Weenie/M?!)
I won’t rush this process, as I think we all want to get closer to each other first and use these weekends to ‘catch up’ and exchange ideas. Perhaps more when we’re bored of each other…. 🙂


Book Creation

You might not be aware of this, but I publish Kindle books! Well, I’ve had a very recent revelation that would involve me writing my own books on all of the stuff I cover in this Blog, but in much more detail. For example, how I live on less than £10k a year, how I budget my money, how I invest, how I make kindle books, how I schedule my morning rituals/evening rituals/weekly reviews, meditate, exercise etc etc etc……..

I’m feeling compelled to re-write a chunk of the work I get back from my writers, so I’d like to put my writing to the test and see how I compare against them when I’m writing about a topic I’m passionate about. This process will inevitably take longer to produce, but I have a sneaky feeling that I’ll sell more as a result. I will be continuing to manage writers and release books as that system works (I’ve paid off my first book in 2.5 months!), but I have a strong desire to try my hand at writing now I know how to publish and test the income potential. 


Coaching

I’ve already dabbled in this already and I’d like to continue dabbling for now. I plan on making it an official business eventually, much like my own publishing company above. I could have a separate section on my site or create a new one for that alone. 


What do you think?

The Google Adsense situation could be a blessing in disguise, as it’s brought these thoughts to my mind now, when I might have sat on them for years.  I’m not planning on changing anything just yet but I will in time. 
So what do you think of my ideas above? Do any excite you? Which ones in particular would you like to see happen? I’d love to know your thoughts!


0 Comments

  • ermine

    Reply Reply 6th April 2015

    Just for interest, did you ever look at the ads Adsense gave you? I wet to a blog meet up a couple of years ago, and what I learned from that was to look at what Adsense was giving me. And on a PF blog, I came to the conclusion adsense was at right-angles to my values. I normally use adblock plus so I didn't know what I was associating with. So I iced it.
    I haven't seen any adsense ads on your site (ABP – I aim to bust the will of advertisers trying to pollute my head with their manufactured wants) so I have no idea if you had the same problem, or had found some way to tame the Ad-sense Beast. I have ad-sense on a couple of other web estates and it works well, but adsense on anything to do with finance is the pits IMO.

  • Anonymous

    Reply Reply 6th April 2015

    Huw

    Some things are just meant to be. It seems unfair that Google won't let you know what the violation is so that you can correct it or at least avoid it next time.

    You said above that your plan all along was to set up your own domain and this is the nudge to steer you in that direction.
    It is not something you have to do immediately but at least you can start laying out your plans and the process to get to there.

    Kindle appears to be a lucrative venture and is something I would concentrate your time on for now (after you have sorted a date out for York).

    Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

    Richard

  • Andrew

    Reply Reply 6th April 2015

    Hey Huw, that sucks! I'm hoping to build some adsense income over time and the fact it can be turned off without explanation is scary.

    What could it be? Clicking on your own ads? Did you suggest people click on ads to support the blog? It's crazy they can just shut you off without telling you why!

  • weenie

    Reply Reply 6th April 2015

    Hi Huw

    Sorry to hear this – it stinks that they can't even be bothered to tell you how you have violated their terms. This means the rest of us could end up doing the same thing and not know it…

    I'm with you though regarding what happens next – option 3 as you already have a lot on your plate with your various financial and personal challenges. There's no rush, although it's annoying what's happened.

    That's not to say you can't get the ball rolling however on a new website. I'm sure among your many followers/readers, there will be experts in web/blog design who can point you in the right direction and provide you with advice, or people who have done this exact thing, ie moved from Blogger to another platform. I've found a few things myself which may be of use – I'll drop you a note.

    It would be good if you could keep the name Financially Free By Forty, or FFBF or FFB40? It's kind of like your brand and don't knock the power of branding! Plus that photo is probably part of the whole brand too! 🙂

    From what I've read about people making money from blogs though, most serious money makers move away from Blogger and
    are more likely to use something like WordPress.

    I'm with you re the UK gatherings, I'll be trying to attend as many as I can and would hope this snowballs into a big and regular thing.

    Look forward to hearing more about how you do with your Kindle stuff and the coaching.

  • Tawcan

    Reply Reply 6th April 2015

    Sucks about the Adsense removal, I encountered something similar as well and received the same feedback. Oh well. If you can host your own domain it might be better than continuing with Blogger. Blogger do own all the contents that you write with their platform so that's something to keep in mind.

  • Theres Value

    Reply Reply 6th April 2015

    Oh AdSense, that sucks. It's really annoying they can't tell you what's wrong! One of the reasons I moved to a privately hosted wordpress site was to have complete control over everything, so perhaps that is a good option for you. I also hope that you keep the name, and don't turn the picture into a logo, but rater make a logo out of the acronym FFB40 instead. Totally up for more meetings in future and I'm sure Weenie and I can do a co-presentation on making your own beer!

    Cheers

  • Mr Zombie

    Reply Reply 6th April 2015

    Hi Huw,

    I have heard about similar from a few other bloggers, the lack of explanation being similar.

    You could always set up a domain and link it to the blogger platform for now (that's what I've done for the moment). Off the top of my head I think it's about £5 a month to use a managed WordPress theme/build on top of that (so your advertising income could cover that). Like you say, would be another thing to learn though!

    I think you'd write a great book, especially in a few years time, once FI, Kindle publishing business booming and the coaching flying along!

    Mr Z

  • Cerridwen

    Reply Reply 7th April 2015

    Hi huw, sorry to hear about your adsense woes. I suppose you've checked out all the standard reasons for the block?

    As for moving forward I would just let things mull over in my mind for a while before making any decisions but I do agree with weenie – keep the photo it is definitely part of your "brand".

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 7th April 2015

    Hi Ermine,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this one. It's hard to argue your point too, as I've only been too aware that having gambling websites or retail outlet advertisements aren't really in line with what I'm trying to do here. I blocked one of the pay day load ones i saw last year, but I have to confess to not doing any other blocking since.

    I also have to acknowledge the fact that I like the easy money it generates, and if it were up to me I'd still have it here.

    Thanks for stopping by!
    Huw

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 7th April 2015

    Hi Richard,

    Google take a tough stance, which can be a little frustrating, but I respect their no BS approach. I do wish I knew what it was for but for security reasons they don't want to provide details.

    This has certainly given me a nudge. Especially when I read the comments from people below. I won't rush it, but I'll keep an eye on the situation.

    I'm thinking like you Richard, Kindle is my priority right now and it could be my ticket to freedom very soon, so I'd like to focus on that for the time being. Hopefully the York date can be finailised very soon! I'm as keen as anyone to get that one up and running.

    Thank you!
    Huw

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 7th April 2015

    Hi Andrew,

    Yes I was really gutted and confused when I read the email. I'm not sure what did it. I read the main reasons they catch people out with and I couldn't link my actions to any of them! Not knowingly anyway.

    It's not the end of the world. I like to take the positive in everything, and perhaps it's a sign that it might be worth moving on from Blogger and onto a new platform. All in good time though.

    Cheers
    Huw

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 7th April 2015

    Hi Weenie,

    I think to Google's credit, it's for security reasons and they acknowledge the fact the it's difficult to accept without knowing. It doesn't make it less frustration and confusing though.

    I'm glad you agree. It might be worth going onto my own platform at some point this year. I'm in no immediate rush as my focus is mainly with Kindle right now. Thank you for the note Weenie, it was very useful!

    I'm not too knowledgeable on marketing but Branding is supposed to be hugely important to people, and although I'm probably on the ground floor level (maybe basement), it's clear that from some of the comments, my Blog name and picture resonate with some people. I'd like to keep them aligned.

    I don't know if my Blog will ever make serious cash, and I've mentioned many times that I don't do it for money. To be honest though, once you're taking £15-£20 a month on something and it's then taken away, YOU WANT IT BACK! I went from making £3 a month to £30 in less than 9 months, so who knows what I could do in the next 9 months or 3-5 years even.

    I'm glad you're with me on the UK Gathering front. I hope you, M and I can get more Bloggers to attend the other ones this year.

    Thanks again Weenie!
    Huw

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 7th April 2015

    Hi Mr Z,

    Thank you for the suggestion. It looks like I have a few options to consider, which is encouraging!

    Thanks for the kind words as well. I take you're point that writing about being FI when you're not is arguably not the best way to sell books, but I believe I can offer people advice on things I've already achieved, such as 'how to live on less than £10k a year', which is going to be my first one, as I feel this is the foundation of what I do. Who know's in a few years I might be writing about how to make £5-£10k a month online.

    For now I want to keep my options open and minimise the limitations. The sky's the limit…….

    Cheers
    Huw

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 7th April 2015

    Hi M,

    You're spot on, it does suck!

    How have you found running a Blog on a privately hosted wordpress?

    Thanks for your feedback, it's quite nice to hear that people have become attached to the FFB40 name and picture. Are you suggesting ditching the picture and just using the acronym or keeping the picture, as is, and using the FFB40 with it?

    Bring on the Beer chats!
    Huw

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 7th April 2015

    Thanks Tawcan. It is a little annoying, but there's little I can do now.

    I didn't think about Blogger owning all of the content. That's a good point in itself. I think the move is inevitable, but I'll be sitting on it for a little while yet.

    Cheers
    Huw

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 7th April 2015

    Hi Cerridwen,

    Thank you for that. Yes, I checked out the standard reasons, and I couldn't think of knowingly doing any of them, which is a little worrying.

    I agree too. I'm not going to rush into doing anything now, but I think I will be moving at some stage.

    Cheers
    Huw

  • Theres Value

    Reply Reply 7th April 2015

    Hi again.

    It's really easy to host and run a wordpress site, and you have so much control over everything, it really is a whole lot better. Plus, the whole 'not owning your own content thing' was what pushed me to move away from Blogger in the first place.

    I'm suggesting you keep the photo of you looking outwards, but make a logo out of the acronym FFB40 to go with it. The photo is good because it represents looking outwards towards your FI future, and there is a certain peacefulness and tranquility about it. Plus, it's sort of an identity, but without a crazy or embarrassing mugshot/selfie.

    Cheers

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 7th April 2015

    That's reassuring to hear M. I can only imagine it being better than a restricted platform. Blogger is an awesome place to start Blogging, but I think I'll be joining you at some stage.

    I don't know what it is, but I have a soft spot for the photo too. I'd like to incorporate it moving forward. I wanted it to represent 'becoming free', including me, but like you said without my big mug on it.

    Thanks for sharing your view on it. I really appreciate it!

    Thanks
    Huw

  • weenie

    Reply Reply 8th April 2015

    Hey M, is your website run via WordPress itself or on another site hosting it? Any recommendations? Prices (and service) seem to vary a lot.

  • Anonymous

    Reply Reply 8th April 2015

    Bummer to lose passive (and potentially rising) income without any sort of justification.
    I'm sure you'll create other streams of income via the blog, they just may need more work to accelerate before reaching passive cruise control.

    Reading weenies post I was struck by how ffb40 read and stuck better than ffbf as an acronym. I'd always thought of your blog as ffbf for short but the numeric adds a dimendion to it. I think thars mainly an intangible gut response based on the visual and linguistic ring of it (maybe a legacy of ub40, or is it wd40?!).

    On a less superficial consideration I think the 40 is a front and centre reminder that the whole aim is freedom at a very young age (in my job anyone under the age of 70 is referred to as 'young' therefore escaping less than half way through your adult life qualifies as very young). The 40 is also fixed by you in the spirit of autonomy and your 'mustachian' internal locus of control and seems to contrast prominently with the imposition of the ever-moving goalposts of the state retirement (and linked public sector pension) age, currently hovering around 70years old for my age group.

    If rebranding the blog I'd think long and hard before losing the name, as it really does succinctly capture your central goal. Having finance and freedom in the name nails the early retirement/financial independence genre who must comprise your key audience, and alliteration never hurts a brand surely? anyway that's my take for what its worth, keep up the good work,
    catch up before too long I hope,

    P.s on a beautiful day like today I can justify managing to miss the spring gathering for bifold door installation!

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 9th April 2015

    Hi,

    Thank you for your post! I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I wish I was able to take your name!

    I was thinking the same thing personally. FFB40 just looks better on the eye does't it! Ha ha. I like the comparison to UB40 and WD40, although joking aside they work too. As I initially signed up to doing a Bog, I was unsure about the length of the name, I think it's a little 'wordy'. FFB40 is easier to type and remember.

    You make a great point on the number 40 too. I have to say that I haven't really thought about the significance of the number that way before.

    I have a feeling I know who you are now – The bifold door installation gave it away!….. In any case, thank you once again for sharing your views.

    Let's catch up soon!
    Huw

  • Theres Value

    Reply Reply 9th April 2015

    Well, this conversation got me thinking. Especially after having yet more problems with my former host. So, I am not going to recommend them, but instead I am going to recommend SiteGround* instead. I have been looking into the various webhost available, but was somehow put off by bluehost, who most big bloggers seem to use. Anyway, I found a code through wpbeginner and managed to get 60% SiteGround's basic package. They have been super helpful since I signed up, which is a LOT more than I can say for Zyma, who well and truly sucked to say the least.

    The wordpress hosting is just a free one, wordpress's equivalent of blogger, but with less options. I highly recommend going to a private web host and getting a proper wordpress package if you are thinking of moving server.

  • weenie

    Reply Reply 10th April 2015

    Ooh, interesting – SiteGround were on my list to check out, thanks. Your comment about not owning content with Blogger is starting to bother me a little but perhaps not so much that I need to do anything about it yet.

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 14th April 2015

    Thank you for your input on this M, it's very useful to know all of this.

    If I wasn't so busy with writing my own book and publishing others I would be right on this. I feel a pressure to keep it sorted this year though.

    Cheers
    Huw

  • Dividend Drive

    Reply Reply 15th April 2015

    You hear of this more often than you'd think. They really need to sharpen up their communications over why this is done though.

    I agree with the majority of opinions above. Definitely keep the FFB40 name. It is clear in its point and familiar to your readers!

    Good luck with your decision!

  • theFIREstarter

    Reply Reply 18th April 2015

    Plus one for WordPress via hosting of your own.

    Full disclosure: I haven't even used blogger 🙂

    But I can get the gist having looked at and read many blogger blogs.

    WordPress ones always tend to look a bit nicer and are more varied.

    It's really easy to use as others have mentioned and to get going the learning curve is shallow, then you can delve into it further as you get more advanced with plug ins and stuff like that.

    I have used iPage for hosting and they are dirt cheap. You get what you pay for – my site isn't the most rapid to load – but I've had no issues in nearly 2 years now so cannot complain!

    I was thinking of doing a "top 5 reasons to use WordPress" post soon anyway so I'll try to get it out asap to give you more info… Look out for it! 🙂

    Cheers!

  • theFIREstarter

    Reply Reply 18th April 2015

    £30 /month seems high for the numbers you are getting but I only have my own blog for comparison. Maybe they thought you were abusing the system… Obviously not saying you were but just a thought? If you want to compare numbers drop me a pm and I'll send you mine.

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 20th April 2015

    Thanks TFS for sharing your views on this.

    There seems to be a lot of options out there for hosts. I think I've decided on WordPress for the platform. I just need a bit of time to look into making the change. I have no idea how to go about doing this, so I imagine it will take me some time to work through this. Thanks for your help, it's much appreciated!

    Cheers
    Huw

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 20th April 2015

    Hi DD,

    I haven't heard of it until I came across it, but you're right. When I started searching for it I found it in many places. Thank you for your view on FFB40. That's my twitter handle and I like the look of it too.

    Best wishes
    Huw

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 20th April 2015

    Hi TFS,

    You could very well be right. I have no idea what I should expect to earn during a month so it's hard to tell. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Honestly, if I was abusing it, I would tell everyone on here to prevent others from doing the same thing as me.

    I might take you up on that offer when it comes to transferring the blog onto another platform.

    Cheers!
    Huw

  • unknown

    Reply Reply 25th November 2015

    I totally understand you my friend, i just finished 1 month ban on Adsense for something only them know about. They got some strange ways to check fraud or whatever is what they check.

    PS I am getting ready for my next gathering. Do not forget me!

    Kind regards
    George

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 25th November 2015

    Hi George,

    It is so frustrating isn't it!

    I'm pleased to hear you're up for the next gathering. I plan on putting out a date and a few locations in the next 7-10 days. Exciting stuff!

    Huw

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