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Does Anyone Actually Make Money From Google Adsense?

This was supposed to be an article about monetizing your life as an amateur musician. It’s become an opinion piece on my experience of Google AdSense.
Google Adsense allows you receive revenue through placing content-specific adverts on your website. The system makes Google around $8 Billion a year.
I signed up for Adsense several years ago. I had a travel blog which was general only for family and friends. If I remember correctly, my travel blog made me about £0.05 across 2 years or so.
Fast forward to 2011 and I am trying to investigate means of being a little more business-like about my hobbies (mostly music). By the end of January I had manned up and started to promote my blogs. I had created several different blogs, which were contributed to by friends and colleagues. I promoted these activities through Facebook and Twitter.

After a few weeks, I was looking at around 2,000 hits a month across all my content sources. I was feeling pretty proud of myself. My Google Adsense balance was approaching £10, and I hoped I could make around £50-100 a year. Google then disabled my account.
When your Adsense account is disabled you receive a standard email which tells you there has been "invalid activity". It directs you to a help URL. The only response you can take is to make an appeal.

Taking the matter particularly seriously, I spent some time writing the appeal which outlined my thoughts on the invalid activity. My guess is that I have violated their "don’t click on your own ads" policy when I’ve been proudly showing off my sites to friends and family. Since my IP address is logged on Blogger etc. and my clicks are less than 1% of the total hits received from countries far and wide, I assumed that they would realise my site was genuine.
Following the appeal I received a standardised email one week later making it clear that my relationship with Adsense was over but thanking me for my continued interest in Adsense. From here there’s nowhere to go really. A quick perusal of the Google Adsense Help forums makes it clear that my mails are very standard and very common. There is no customer-facing service.
I appreciate that my 10 pounds was peanuts to Google, but my plight was genuine. I thought I’d come across an honest way to monetise my music hobbies.
So my question is; does anyone make money from Google Adsense?
This article will result in spam links in the comments about making 4 figures a month, but where are the people that make $5 a month and finally see a cheque? Or is it much harder than it looks?


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