Open source software download portal FossHub has been forced to remove all Google ads from its pages hosting file sharing and BitTorrent client software, after Google banned the site on an "unauthorized file sharing" charge.
Google originally banned ads from being served on just one page in early June, for the software qBittorrent for the same "unauthorized file sharing" issue. As qBittorrent is just your standard, run of the mill BitTorrent client that does nothing unauthorized, FossHub originally tried to appeal the ruling by Google.
Unfortunately, and this is an experience shared by many websites including this one, it is often very difficult to get a real response from Google's AdSense team. FossHub received what they believed to be canned responses from Google in regards to the potential "false positive", and failed to get the ban lifted.
However, FossHub's willingness to let the matter go did not match up to Google's plan, and disaster struck when the entire FossHub site was banned from serving Google ads later that month, for seven days. This left the site without any income at all, and FossHub was forced to take the drastic action of removing all Google ads from file sharing software listings, even though the site does not believe any of these software violates any known laws and they will continue to be supported by the site in the future, despite the loss of income.
"qBitorrent and other similar apps are legit software. You are responsible for what you choose to download and share," a representative from FossHub wrote in a Reddit post on the matter.
"Many free projects and sites publish their files via .torrent files. Just an excellent example of how qBitorrent and other similar clients can help you download files and allow GIMP project to save bandwidth: https://www.gimp.org/downloads/."
The developers of qBittorrent also backed FossHub in the dispute.
"In any case, I am writing this to inform our user base about Google's shenanigans. And if any of you works at AdSense, then please help FossHub talk to a real person or treat all sites fair by allowing or not allowing BitTorrent clients," posted 'sledgehammer999', a developer of qBittorrent.
We at Digital Digest can also share our own problems when it comes to dealing with Google, on almost the exact same issue. Our AutoGK download page was also flagged as an "unauthorized file sharing" page by Google AdSense, despite AutoGK being a video conversion software and not featuring any file sharing functionality at all. Repeated attempts to appeal the decision by requesting a review has failed to get the ban lifted, with the same canned, possibly machine generated, response.
Unless the media attention FossHub receives from this issue forces a real person at Google to act, it's unlikely FossHub will ever be allowed to display Google ads on their file sharing software pages again.