We have always commented here that when AdSense is down or there is login problems, it often means there is a change in either AdSense or AdWords. And sure enough, we have a brand new Google AdSense Policies [google.com] available.
So, it is updated Google AdSense Policies time - although the new policies are dated October 25, 2005, they didn't go live until about 9pm PST on November 3, 2005. Don't forget that when you agreed to the terms, you agreed to comply to the policies, even when they changed. So make sure you are in compliance!
The following has been added:
A single referral button per product may be placed on a page, in addition to the ad units, search boxes, and link units specified above. Referral buttons are considered to be ‘Google ads’ for purposes of these program policies.
The part in bold has been added to the following:
Any AdSense ad code, search box code, or referral code must be pasted directly into Web pages without modification.
Some of this section has been reworded to include "referral buttons", and the following has been added:
Publishers are also not permitted to use deceptive or unnatural means to draw attention to or incite clicks on referral buttons.
Warning to those using AdSense on pages in unsupported languages. Previously, AdSense would allow ads to be run on unsupported language pages although stating ads would likely be untargeted or heavy on PSAs. However, a change in the new policies now prohibits this by publishers. Added to the language clause:
Ads must not be displayed on any page with content primarily in an unsupported language.
Prohibited clicks and impressions
A very small change was made to this section, detailing activity publishers are not permitted to participate in. Previously, one of the prohibited activities was "automated click- and impression- generating clicking tools" but now reads "automated click and impression generating tools".
When you login, you will notice a small change if you really pay attention. When you login, you will notice the login box switches to a red text "Loading..." message before loading the main control panel page within the account. This is similar to what happens when you login to AdWords accounts.
Now for the question everyone is asking, just what are these referral buttons the new policies refers to? Well, unfortunately, you have to wait ;) But I do promise the full scoop very soon!