Two baffling things happened to me last month. Firstly, Google Adsense accused me of clicking my own advertising links, and then Medium accused me of violating their terms of service. Both accusations are bullshit.

With Google Adsense, I disable adverts completely for members of my site, which naturally includes me. I’ve even set up filters on Adsense (or was that Analytics?) to ensure adverts aren’t shown to users on my IP address. The only time I view my site as a non-member is when I’m testing a feature and I want to see how it looks to someone who is not logged in. I don’t interact with my site, beyond opening up developer tools in Safari of Chrome to see if the code I’ve written is actually coming through. The only other place I have adverts is the archive version of my old static site, which I never visit.

As for Medium, the only thing I use that service for is to repost content from my blog, which is permitted according to their terms of service. The content I post there is no different to what’s available here on Scriptorium — reviews, tutorials, articles about writing. Given that much of their ToS relates to violence, hate speech, sexualised content or copyright infringement, you can imagine why I’m scratching my head.

In both cases — Google and Medium — there’s no right of reply, no place I can protest, or even ask what happened. In fact, Google’s documentation explicitly says they won’t tell you to ensure an explanation doesn’t allow people insight into gaming the system.

To say I’m vexed is an understatement. In fact, I’m quite pissed off, and yet it illustrates oh so clearly to me why owning your own platform is so important to an independent creator like myself. I can get booted from Medium, or Google Adsense, or Twitter, or Facebook, but no one can take my website away from me!

It's given me serious pause for thought about my future using those platforms. Medium, in particular, was going to be my preferred platform for publishing technical content. I just don't think I can trust it anymore.

Well, I won't say too much more. I believe the matter is still under review, so I'll have to wait and see what happens.

Own your platform

An unexpected black mark from Google and Medium makes me question my future with them, while reinforcing my belief in owning your own platform.