My Google AdSense Account: Moved to Where It Belongs

closeThis post was published 7 years 8 months 15 days ago. A number of changes have been made to the site since then, so please contact me if anything is broken or seems wrong.

Google AdSense logoHonestly, I’m no longer sure how it happened, but suffice it to say that a few years ago I did something stupid.

No, no, it was nothing like that. I just applied for Google AdSense a few days before my actual 18th birthday. That, of course, netted me a declined application, because I was obviously still too young to participate in AdSense—but I wasn’t counting on it also killing my ability to reapply later. When I tried again to sign up for AdSense using my main Google Account, after I was old enough, I got nothing but errors.

When I emailed Google AdSense Support about the problem, they said I could just reapply, but would have to use a different email address—meaning a different Google Account—to do so. I eventually did so, after I created an alias or two at Gmail, but I never used the approved account. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to try ads on this site, and I also had a hang-up about the principle of having one service in an account separate from all the others.

I did try to change the login email address associated with my approved AdSense account. The only problem was, my account’s login couldn’t be changed, because it was associated with a Gmail account. I was less than pleased, but figured it was a problem I could solve later.

And so it was: Last week, just in time for February break at college, I discovered that my primary Google Account again had the ability to apply for AdSense. Maybe there’s some kind of expiration on declined applications; I haven’t read enough of Google’s policies to figure that out. (Who has the time, especially as a full-time college student?) So I did it: I reapplied for AdSense on my primary account.

Google’s systems noticed that an active AdSense account already claimed my Payee Name. But instead of telling me I couldn’t complete my application, as I expected, it asked if I wanted to transfer the account. What did I say? Yes!, of course.

I filled out a short form, got a bit of data from my approved AdSense account, agreed to forfeit my $0.00 of unpaid earnings in the old AdSense account,1 submitted, and waited. In less than an hour, I got confirmations addressed to both my old and new email addresses that my account had been transferred. I logged into AdSense using my main Google Account, and it worked.

Technically, what Google did was close my old account and open a new one associated with my primary Gmail address. That’s why unpaid earnings below the payment threshold didn’t transfer. If I had generated ad code using the old account, I would have had to replace it. Not having to deal with that made a simple process even easier.

Thanks, Google. Every so often, you do something that makes me really happy. This was one of those things.

This change affects my website in a small way: I’m testing AdSense ads in the places supported by LightWord, the WordPress theme I use, whose development I have kind of taken over.2 Since enabling the new ads (which only show on single posts) several days ago, I’ve seen exactly zero clicks. It’ll be an interesting experiment to see if that changes.

  1. Earnings below the payment threshold of US$10 are forfeit in transfers. Not that I ever used my old account, so it couldn’t possibly have any earnings. []
  2. It’s not like anyone has really seen my changes. I haven’t gotten around to officially forking the code and releasing my own version under a different name. Doing that sounds like a summer project, maybe, depending on how busy I am, as it will involve updating the theme code to meet all of the current Theme Review guidelines. []


I am an avid technology and software user, in addition to being reasonably well-versed in CSS, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, Python, and (though it still scares me) Perl. Aside from my technological tendencies, I am also a theatre technician, sound designer, violinist, singer, and actor.


  1. Well, if you are not paying for your hosting, maybe it is better to have it ad-free. But anyway, I usually use ad filters when I browse.

    PS: And I found that, if someone knows the email that goes by my name, they can post as me. Or is it because that I saved my password for my Google account?

    • Well, blocking ads is your business, and any ad revenue from this site is my business (including what I use it for). One option is to pass it along to the guy who pays for this server, though we already worked out other things like referral links (which pay far more than ads). Also, every time I offer to pay him something he declines or laughs it off. In the overall scope of his hosting account, my one site uses a tiny amount of resources.

      How did you find that? I posted “as you” a couple times while I was testing something yesterday, to compare some behavior between approved and non-approved anonymous-user emails—but I know your email address from the back-end comment dashboard (hey, it was on top). Your avatar comes from your email address, and the name is just free-form text, so impersonation is pretty easy if you know someone’s address. You, however, authenticated via Blogger’s OpenID (though not for your very first comment ever), so any comment with your blog URL and an OpenID icon next to it means it’s you. Unless someone hacks your Google account…

      Ultimately, commenter identity on a WordPress site is based on trust. You could claim to be Frederick Lawrence, Bill Gates, or Barack Obama, and just use a false email address with a fake avatar in Gravatar. I, or even possibly Akismet (the most common WordPress comment spam plugin) for well-known identities, could detect this impersonation based on the email address, of course. Bill Gates wouldn’t post using an address from Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!, or another free webmail service. But it’s trivial to impersonate a random commenter as long as you have a spare email address you can attach to a copy of their avatar. This is why OpenID-authenticated comments get special treatment: Because they’re much more difficult to spoof. You’d need to hack the other person’s OpenID provider account to truly pose as them, and that ups the classification from “impersonation” to “unauthorized access”.

      PS: You do love editing your comments. Every time you post something, I get an email notifying me that you edited it. Or is that a bug in the plugin?

      • Yeah, passing the revenue to the owner may be a good option. Just saying.

        Just pure contemplation. Because the only things required are name and email without any authentication. But I don’t think anyone will bother posting as me.

        PS: Yes, I do edit my comments a lot. Like adding things I missed, correcting typos, etc.

        • If he’ll take it. Last time I floated that idea I got the usual “laugh it off” reaction.

          No, probably not. But you’re observant. That’s a good thing. 🙂

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