Google AdSense is a mess

Today I received an e-mail telling me about something to do with making money through ads. I used to have an AdSense account for making sweet money on the internet, but I closed it years ago, partly for earning hardly anything, partly for being tired of tracking my few website users for cents.

I tried the Sign in link in the e-mail to see if I could possibly get rid of future mailings about a product I am not using. This took me down a rabbit hole of errors and user-unfriendly help pages…

An unwanted mail from Google

When I clicked Sign in I got to a page saying my account was closed (this I knew), and would I like to reactivate my account?

It looked not unlike this image, which I found somewhere. Now I wish I took a screenshot, but for reasons I will disclose later, I am not able to access the page anymore:

Google telling me my account is closed, but still sending me e-mails about it

Does YouTube hold a solution?

Seeing as the original e-mail mentioned YouTube, I thought I might have a setting somewhere on YouTube I could disable to un-link my YouTube videos from my closed AdSense Account.

After 5 minutes of browsing I concluded that no such option existed.

In which I try to get support

Next I thought if I could just delete my AdSense account instead of merely having it closed, I might just get rid of further mailings.

I looked for a delete option somewhere, but none existed, so I tried Google AdSense Help. I tried more eloquent expressions than “delete adsense account”, but all options only led to something called Community. And DuckDuckGo’ing “delete adsense account” led to many Community requests for deleting accounts, but only answers such as You can’t ‘delete’ an Adsense account. You have to close it properly, following the official instructions. (I really like the quotations around delete in that quote.)

Community does not equal a contact option, Google.

Try the opposite!

Next I had a stupid idea. How about reactivating my account, look for an option to disable mailings and closing it again? Counter-intuitive, I know, but I have succeeded previously with similar tactics.

This happened when I clicked the reactivation link on the account closed page. The error is fully reproducible by clicking the link again, which I tried:

I finally got ENGINEERS on the case, but not in the way I hoped

I’ve got rights

As a citizen of Europe, I have certain rights. One of those is contacting big corporations holding data about me and telling them to delete my data and having them refuse due to something they call legitimate interests which roughly translates to making dollars by knowing my shopping interests.

I went back to AdSense support and slowly typed Fully delete my account under GDPR to let Google know I mean business.

I was happy to see an actual envelope icon in a button saying e-mail. I clicked. This happened:

I finally thought Google took me seriously, and maybe they do, just not seriously enough for a working e-mail contact

I tried again. Many times. Nothing changed.

Seriously, Google. AdSense is a mess.