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Google Adsense Site Down Memorial Day Weekend

Google Adsense administration pages apparently down Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend May 27, 2006. When attempting to log in to Adsense user control panel near noon today, Google returned an error page apologizing for any inconvenience caused by the outage.

As seen in the above partial screen shot of the error page. (Larger view here)

Adsense users are a particularly skittish bunch who often log in to check their income statistics in their account reporting admin page. When you do a search for “Adsense Site Down” at Google, you’ll see a long list of forum posts returned, but when you visit each one, none are current of course, due to latency of the Google search index. But a “Google News” search doesn’t turn up anything as of this writing either, meaning this hasn’t hit the geek news sites yet.

I turned up the error page after a lazy morning with the newspaper and Saturday morning coffee, but it is still down over an hour later. Adsense publishers often get warnings of upcoming “System Maintenance” or “Planned Down Time” from the Adsense team by email, but nothing of the sort came ahead of this outage. The error screen also clearly states “temporarily unavailable, please try back later” and not “planned maintenance” so this is clearly an outage and unplanned.

There was a planned change to the appearance of the Google ads because many Adsense publishers routinely remove the blue border of the standard default ad colors, which are adjustable to match site color schemes. The most recent communication from Google was the announcement that they would make this change system-wide. The Google notice:

We’re writing to let you know about a coming change to the appearance of your Google ads. Your ads currently display the default Google color palette, Seaside (formerly known as Mother Earth). In the near future, we plan to update the default palette to Open Air, a new palette containing the same set of colors, but without the blue border. We’ve found that many publishers prefer the cleaner look of this palette and have also seen that a blended color palette performs better for them — attracting user interest while still maintaining the distinction between ads and content with the ‘Ads by Google’ label.

Perhaps this change threw a monkey wrench in the system as they attempted the change-over? Google won’t reveal the total number of Adsense publishers but it has been rumored to be a huge number, and if a system-wide change in code is in the works, I can imagine a ghost in the machine. Here’s hoping they get it under control and back in order. The traffic on my best performing site is substantially higher on this Saturday morning than it is most other weekends and I’d hate to think those visitors who are attracted by the Adsense ads on that site are getting free clicks. 😉

As of 4pm Saturday, the Adsense site appeared to be back up – possibly before that – but that’s the next time I was able to check.

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