Big Brother Is Watching

I don’t think I can even explain the current situation with Google AdSense because I don’t understand it either. We discovered that we are being fined approximately 20% each month because I have talked about closing the ads on the blog. So in my desire to follow the rules and explain what I know, this blog post will result in a big fine.

When readers click and reclick on ads to “help” support this blog, we are being fined. And I know those of you who have done it in the past are only trying to help us. This blog takes many hours to prepare, take photos and answer questions — which is what I love about our group! But at the same time, Google knows exactly what 3rd party is doing it, they know your computer and they are watching me as well.

For those of you who read this blog and continue to ask me how to close an ad, are you serious? You’re online and you keep asking me which results in a fine every time. Surely you’ve closed ads before and know that to either read the ad or close the ad, you must move your cursor to that spot and click on it. Now just this explanation is going to get me in trouble.

So what should you do, you ask? I don’t know – look at ads if you like, close the ones you don’t like, but do not repeatedly refresh and click on the ads. After this explanation I’ll probably receive notice that they are canceling this blog. I don’t think I can win either way. I wish there were a way to put ads on the blog that I want to support – like quilting ads, animal products, gardening, hobby farm life, and houseplants.

I’ve also been fined for closing the ads myself which I have NEVER done unless I’ve been demonstrating to someone using my own IPad which might have been 6-10 clicks total in the past 18 months. When they specifically point to 3rd party activity, I have no idea what to advise you to do. If Google doesn’t cancel the whole blog, I might remove ads altogether.

No, I absolutely will not make this a subscription generated blog because the book work alone will be simply too much work. I will look into other solutions but if you never hear from me on this blog again, you’ll understand what happened. You deserve an explanation – I will be available at

Wish me luck!

51 thoughts on “Big Brother Is Watching

  1. Lois Ann Johnson

    Is anyone else thoroughly confused by all of this? I thought we were doing the right thing by closing all of the ads. It was what we were told to do or there would be consequences. Today, I could not close any of the ads because there were no “X” on the ad to click on. ????

  2. Diane Bauer

    Oh, Mary!!! I’m so sorry!! Anyone else up for a GoFundMe campaign to help keep the blog solvent and help Mary out?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Diane Bauer – please NO! I do not want a Go Fund Me page! Under no circumstance!

  3. Carol at Pin Oak Quilting

    Oh for Oete’s sake, we are so controlled by Big Brother, it’s ridiculous. I keep thinking, get off FaceBook because it seems like they know everything about me, possibly including when I use the bathroom! And no, I don’t bring my phone in there!!!
    Girls just wanna have fun…. quilt ads, bookstore ads, yarn sakes, plants and animals… how is it that google can’t target things more specifically, as does FB?
    I’m sorry this is going on and will be dirtier yet to lose touch. Can FB be used like a blog? We’ll all tune in there if necessary!

  4. Carol at Pin Oak Quilting

    Well if google is watching… why don’t they correct my typos above?!?! I will not be dirtier yet, I will be sorrier yet, for Pete’s sake!

  5. Donna Sproston

    I agree on the gofundme or send some cash to Palm Ave in Garner. Whatever works to keep this ray of sunshine going. The ads we see are based on what sites we visit frequently. I notice that many like Fat Quarter Shop no longer have an x for closing, just an arrow for opening.

  6. Linda from Oconomowoc

    Mary, could you ask your fellow quilters how they do it, privately? I notice that Jo’s and Bonnie Hunter’s blog have a pronounced black circle with an X in it. It shows up as soon as you click on their blog. I am assuming that when I click on it, I am helping them keeping their blog running? As soon as I click on the X, it goes away and some ads show up but not many and I don’t click on them. Go to their blogs and notice what comes up. Of all the blogs I read (all quilting of course)
    Not one ever asks about clicking their ads. I realize they have been doing this for a longer time but I bet you could ask them how they do it?
    Just a thought…..?

  7. BarBQue

    How awful!! Big brother seems to be everywhere! I wish you well in your search for another alternative. We love your regular farm and quilting updates, your friendly chatter and all the pictures. You make for a better day when we hear from you. I hope you can continue in some form or another.

  8. Lynn in Scottsdale

    Mary, if a bunch of us sent you $20, would that cover your expenses for the year?

  9. the other Angie

    Mary!! This is so crazy!! I am in favor of anything that keeps this blog going – paid subscription, voluntary donations – whatever will work and not make your life more complicated. There has to be another way. I just wish we could do something to help. We are with you!

  10. Pat Smith

    Another example of the saying, “No good deed goes unpunished”. Here are a bunch of women from all over the country who enjoy animals, plants and quilts, getting a slice of life in Iowa. If the adds are targeted for me, it’s a joke as they involve diamond rings and sweaters people my daughter’s age might wear. My daughter says we could do this with a Facebook group. I’m not on Facebook, but I would join if this blog could be done that way. Mary, you’ve had so much aggravation over this, perhaps it’s time to find a different avenue if that’s possible. I would be so sad if it ended.

    1. Charlotte S

      The ads on here are totally targeted to me. I looked at American Eagle last night and this morning for jeans for my grandson and their ads are all over this blog. I see ads for businesses that I frequent. Big Brother is definitely watching!

  11. Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts

    Hi Mary, I pay Word Press about $30 a year to keep my blog completely free of ads. Works like a charm. I realise that that costs money and doesn’t generate any, but it would get Big Brother off your back, means nothing inappropriate appears in you posts and it is apparent from the other comments that your loyal readers would be prepared to chip in with cash to keep the blog open. Word press also offer a number of simple ways to accept payment. Go fund me might also be a solution. Maybe it is worth considering?

  12. Beryl in Owatonna

    So sorry to hear this. We are watched everywhere. When we carry our phones…I get a message asking if I liked my visit to what ever store I was in. Use GPS it follows you where you go, tells you how fast you are going, and when you make a wrong turn. I will never get a smart (??) TV…why would you ask a TV to do something for you, it isn’t just a voice in the air. That is like our phones also. There must be another way to keep this going, Google doesn’t need our money, that is for sure. Hope someone has an answer, I don’t understand most of this except it makes me so frustrated.
    Keep us posted, Mary. I would really miss the daily contact, I love what you are doing! Praying for wisdom for you.

  13. Lisa Kogan

    I feel like an Instagram (IG) account makes the most sense. There is no charge and people can comment, you can reply. You can run giveaways, etc. You’re already an “influencer”, which is what some people work to get status in IG world. But I know you don’t really care about that. I follow some great quilting stuff on IG. Jo Morton is one and so, so many others, including Fat Quarter Shop.

    Blogs are phasing out and many shifted to IG.

  14. Margie from Ohio

    oh my gosh! This is so silly. I agree with what has already been posted. Every time I open your email I am so excited to see what is going on with your part of the country and all those quilt projects you show us. Even though we have never met in person, somehow I just feel connected to you. There is so much negativity in the world, your email is the best ray of sunshine there is. I would hate to see your blog close, but it is not worth the stress to your health. Take care and know everyone is praying for you.

  15. Betty Clark

    I have closed ads at times on blogs, including yours, because they are intrusive and make it difficult to read what you are saying. I love your blog but I was not aware that you were fined when I did this. I think this is ridiculous! It only makes me more determined to ignore or not open any ad on the blog. I would not want to do business with any company that would fine you. They should be paying you to have the ads on your blog.

  16. Julie Erickson

    I really believe that social media is not good for anyone except google.
    They are only in it for themselves.
    Your blog is something I look so forward too along with thousands of others.
    Good luck Mary

  17. Becki

    Hi Mary. This makes we unhappy.😩 I so enjoy your blog😊. How can we support you and your blog?

  18. karen

    I’m so sorry, Mary, for all this. I used to blog but gave it up mostly because of time. I do understand a lot of people use their blogs for income, basically as an online business via “affiliate links.” The ads on some blogs cover the entire content or the blog takes soooooo long to load because of ads that I just don’t visit them any more. The ads I see here are “creepy” 😳in that they are places I have visited… online clothing retailers, a particular quilting site that is now by subscription, etc. At least they do not cover your content. Hang in there.

  19. Sandy

    This is crazy Mary,the $ 30 per yearsoundslike the. Best solution,l enjoy your daily blog, a relief from caring for a husband with dementia! I hope you find a happy outcome,best wishes sandy

  20. Paula Ziegler

    So sad to read all of this! You do such a wonderful job on your blogs and I enjoy seeing them so much! Maybe there are other blog sites that would be a better fit for you?

    I hope this all works out for you!

    Paula Ziegler

  21. Jo in Wyoming

    For crying out loud!
    You spend hours keeping us together and this blog company just wants to keep us apart!
    I hope this is not the last we hear from you. You are the good in this world.
    We love this blog and you.
    You have my email, if we get cut off, let me know what I can do to help.
    This just can’t be the end of such a beautiful message to wonderful people.

  22. Sue in Marion, IN

    Oh, Mary, it seems like we can’t win for losing. I’ve been closing ads when I can but I’ve noticed there have been more ads with no “x” to click. What happens if we read the blog and just ignore the ads? Don’t answer if that results in a fine!

  23. Diane from TN

    So sorry that you are experiencing all of this. I, for one, look forward to you blog posts. I can’t believe how much time and energy you put into sharing so much of your life. You enrich our lives.

  24. Lynn H.

    I imagine it is about closing the ads without actually watching them. Maybe if we watch them first and then close out that could solve the problem.

  25. Martha Engstler Gettysburg

    I’m afraid I’m one of the guilty ones going back and closing ads a second time thinking I was doing a really great thing. Well, that was sure wrong and backfired. The most important reason for opening my email is to look to see your blog. I’ll do anything you want to keep it going.

  26. Helen Thomas

    Mary, could you just switch over to Facebook? You could create a FB group. As far as I know, there is no charge and posting pix and stories is pretty easy. Hang in there!

      1. Sandy Kolarik

        Dear Mary, I believe everyone agrees how much we love your posts. You bring humor, joy of quilting and let us see a glimpse of your wonderful life. You have become a friend to many. I for one would like to chip in to continue the blog, but realize how much work this is for you. I also believe that somehow or someway all will work out. God bless you for all you have given to us, your friends and readers.

  27. Holly in Two Harbors

    Gosh, Mary, I’m so sorry this has turned into such a hassle for you! You should be enjoying this and everything seems to be turning into a headache through no fault of your own. I so enjoy your blog and will miss you if you can’t continue, but I sure would understand.

  28. Jan from TN

    I get a lot of quilters’ blogs via WordPress & they seem to run smoothly. So sorry this is happening.
    Sometimes I get your full blog post as an email & sometimes it’s only the first paragraph & then I must “click here to read more”.
    It’s crazy that google can monitor all of us! Glad I don’t have Alexa or any of those monitor devices that can HEAR what’s going on in your own home unless you turn them off when not using! I have a friend who has 3 alexas in her home so her & her husband don’t have to walk back to the moth hen to give her a command! That’s crazy! How invasive is that!
    Hope you can find an equitable solution. I would miss this blog just like I missed the Goat Gazette when you stopped publishing it. 😕

  29. Lisa Boles

    I find the ads are usually for something I researched or from a business I placed an order with. I don’t understand why Google bombards me with ads from a company for the items I ordered already. I suspect us commenting on how many ads we closed doesn’t help you any. The only time I will mention ads in the future is if I find one offensive, and yes, that has happened.

  30. Sandy Kolarik

    Dear Mary, I believe everyone agrees how much we love your posts. You bring humor, joy of quilting and let us see a glimpse of your wonderful life. You have become a friend to many. I for one would like to chip in to continue the blog, but realize how much work this is for you. I also believe that somehow or someway all will work out. God bless you for all you have given to us, your friends and readers.

  31. Kathy Hanson

    So sorry that this is such a mess for you!! We all would be lost without your wonderful blog!! Hang in there = will hope that it gets cleared up soon and that they don’t charge you at all. That might be wishful thinking but I hope not! This is crazy! Thinking of you and all of the trouble this has been lately!!

  32. Rhoda Ebersole

    Jay said this all sounds very sketchy and wonders if someone else is scamming you.

    Ask Bonnie Hunter what she does and copy her method.

    I truly wonder if google is doing this.
    Glad you are healing and doing PT.

    Lots of things going on in the internet business
    That seem more than shady.

    Happy December

  33. Helen Glover

    I wondered the same thing as Rhoda….is this another scam! I don’t see how they could do this! I visit other blogs that don’t have to have ads opened and I don’t believe they pay a lot for their websites. I hope you can get it worked out because we do love to hear what’s happening at Country Threads! Thanks for trying to keep it going. Have a happy holiday season and a very merry Christmas! Wish I could hear you playing your carols!

  34. Susan the Farm Quilter

    I usually get rid of the ads that bug me or take up too much of the page. I click on the ones that interest me…couldn’t do that on your page today. Another blogger told me that when the ads on their blog are closed, they lose the revenue from them!! I hope you can figure out a solution…this sucks!

  35. Sharon Ludwig

    Good Grief! It’s a bit creepy isn’t it!
    Hope they are not stupid enuf to cancel your blog!
    Sharon Ludwig
    Dana Point, Ca

  36. Janet

    It’s so sad that life has to get so complicated just so the big boys can get even more obscenely rich. You are just a little dot on the internet sharing joy, happiness & information the us. Just hoping they will leave you alone to do your thing.

  37. Jenny

    I usually read this blog on my phone where ads are not visible to me. When I do read on the computer I open ads that are if interest to me. I have made purchases from one or two of those sites after opening the ads. I do not click on ads if I am not interested in those products.
    I hope that the issues with the blog are resolved to everyone’s satisfaction because I enjoy reading it. Good Luck!

  38. Katherine Gourley

    Hi Mary, I close adds that are of no interest to me. Unfortunately, I do not think all of us see the same adds. Right now Google Ads thinks that I want to buy a Jeep, luxury cars under 50K, lipstick for older women or shop from an unknown clothing store called Wotoba. I do not want anything from any of Google’s suggestions. I will no longer close any add. One would hope that closing adds would prompt Google to select adds for companies in a user’s browsing history. I know this is all part of e-commerce, but to fine bloggers for what readers do is absurd. I am a faithful Country Threads blog follower and will just read and enjoy.

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