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This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >     
"Encouraging clicks"
So what *can* I say here?

 12:21 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I just received an email from Google that some text on my is encouraging users to click on AdWords ads (no ifs ands or buts in their wording). The small text in question states "Help support ****, click on our sponsors!" and is currently running directly beneath 468x60 banner ads, which are positioned at the top of the page. It has been there for 2 or 3 years. We sell 90% of that inventory direct to very small companies (CPM based, not CPC), the remaining 10% goes to a generic ad company.

Between one and three screens lower on the page (no Google ads is visible on the same screen as that text) is a 120x600 Google ad, with no text surrounding it (except the standard "Ads by Google" text on top).

Now, I can't exactly see how my text would encourage users to click on anything not immediatly visible (readers have a short memory that way), but I'm not about to screw around arguing with Google about it. I agree that the text is probably a bit dated with the whole "click" thing (back in the days when I was on crummy CPC networks where you'd be lucky to earn $15 a month), so I want to improve it, but aren't sure what's allowed.

I still want to say something at the top concerning our small companies - to the effect that "support these small companies, as doing so will make them advertise another month, thereby possibly keeping this site going for another month".

So, what do you think I'd be allowed to day?
"Support our sponsors"
"Help support xxx - support our sponsors"
"Help support xxx, buy from our sponsors"

Or are all of those kinds of things going to be rejected by Google?


Denis at eVR

 12:26 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't think that Google would accept any of these, based on their TOS. They specifically exclude this sort of encouragement. Even if you said ' click on our sponsors above, but don't have anything to do with the Ads by Google further down the page' you wouldn't get away with it!


 12:33 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I believe "Sponsored Links" was the term they allow to be used with AdSense ads.


 12:34 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just don't say anything. I think most people ignore the "help our sponsors" type messages. They will click if they are interested and not click if they are not interested.

Advertisers are not interested in clicks from people who just want to help pay for your site but would not otherwise click.


 12:40 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I once saw a message on a bulletin board encouraging members to click the ads at least once a day. Some members replied that they had clicked the ads dozens of times and was that good enough?

I was gob-smacked and decided to stay well out of it.

[edited by: Mario at 1:05 am (utc) on Dec. 14, 2003]


 1:04 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Heh, I have never even MENTIONED Google ads (they just magically appeared one day), nor done anything for other ads beyond the aforementioned text.

One thing I see on other sites is a short text message beneath the ad, related to the specific ad. I'm sure that'll be allowed.


 2:18 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

The idea that people clicking as a show up support as being somehow useful for you or anyone else as a publsher seems ridiculous to me.

The whole idea of contextual ads is to deliver quality clicks.. that ensures that advertisers get ROI (then bids go up).


 2:33 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

If 90% of the inventory that your message applies to is CPM based, then why do you need any enticement to click on those ads? I would remove it completely.

Do you have any CPC inventory other than AdSense on your site? Enticing clicks for any CPC deal, regardless of AdSense, shouldn't be done.

I don't see anything wrong with simply saying "Help Support our Sponsors" in the current location if it's not in any way associated with your AdSense ads, but I personally feel that you're not adding anything to your site by even saying that.


 2:47 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you can write something relevant to each individual ad you run, I would think that would be accepted (and frankly it would be far more effective). But keep away from any "support our sponsors" type of incitement. AdWords advertisers don't want to pay for that kind of junk traffic and they shouldn't have to.


 3:18 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Using "support" or "sponsored" "sponsor" will all be rejected by Adsense if on the site, let alone the page. If, however, you were to feature a specific sponsor, XYZ Company, and mention in text a request to "Support XYZ Company, our featured merchant" that would be ok IMO.


 3:23 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

seeber01, see Jenstar's post above. I also recall the post she is referring to which was the response given by Google.


 3:39 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here is the thread [webmasterworld.com] I was referring to, where Google has said that "Sponsored Links" is permitted.

<edit>Ooops, I had it as Links earlier</edit>

[edited by: Jenstar at 4:02 am (utc) on Dec. 14, 2003]


 3:46 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Actually, it says "Sponsored Links."


 3:50 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

The silly part of all this is that I can guarantee that this has 0% impact on Google clicks. Heck, it probably does 0% for the banners as well, but it filled in some white space.

Remember, this has been there for many years now. Since I started running banners back with the now defunct Flycast 5 years ago (my 2-3 years was a bit inaccurate), when text like this was commonplace on the Internet. Since my last site re-design some years ago I've been satisfied with its look and haven't bothered to change it, instead concentrating on new content. So things like that become "familiar" and part of the design.

I was well aware of Google's restriction on "encouraging" clicks, but did not feel that that would apply to completely separate ad spaces that could not be displayed at the same time as the Google space.

Although if this is Google's only complaint about my site or its performance, then I guess I'm in good shape.

All pages DO have the word "Sponsor" above a small button to a single company that actually IS our official sponsor, but that wasn't mentioned - and better not be, as that *really* has no impact on Google!


 3:57 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Actually, it says "Sponsored Links."

And that is specifically referring to text that may be placed adjacent to Google advertisements, which I would expect to be strict.


 3:58 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I tried to stay smart with this. I did want to inform users about the advertising, but I proactively emailed Google with the text I intended to use.

They were reasonably quick to respond, and their advice was to remove one particular portion of the text which could have been construed as an incitement to click. I was able to do so without affecting the intended meaning, and I felt it was actually an improvement.

I felt that it was best to have this text on an "About Us" page, rather than associating it directly with the ads. I leave the ads "as is", placing them in a prominent position "above the fold", and doing very little afterward. So far, so good.


 4:11 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have seen many, many variations of "support our site" and other statements that Google could consider to be inciting clicks - but the standard does seem to be "Sponsored Links". Perhaps this is something they should add to their form letter they send out to those in violation of this ;)

When ASA said they have a team checking for TOS violations, I am guessing this must be one of the things they are checking for when a site review is done.


 4:30 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have seen many, many variations of "support our site" and other statements that Google could consider to be inciting clicks - but the standard does seem to be "Sponsored Links". Perhaps this is something they should add to their form letter they send out to those in violation of this ;)

However, once again that would indicate that Google is the only ad on the page and/or this text is near the AdWords space - thus the use of the word "links".

If the text in question is for a single advertisement and is not related to the Google ad or location in any way, then the phrase "Sponsored Links" doesn't make any sense.


 4:35 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I wonder if in your case they would approve a " "Help support ****, click the above sponsor!" for your non-AdSense banner.


 4:50 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

The ads aren't there to support your site. They are to generate ROI for advertisers who pay Google.. Google then supports your site by giving you a cut.

Telling people to click in every case will ultimately decrease the value of those clicks. If you need to tell people to click then I'd suggest getting into a different subject because advertisers will stop bidding on those terms if they aren't producing.


 4:56 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

anxvariety, I was referring to what he had below his banners on his site that were NOT AdSense. I was not saying he should have that below his AdSense banners, or to encourage visitors to click his AdSense ads in any way.


 4:56 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Once again I feel compelled to clarify: I am not encouraging anyone to click on Google ads! The text in question is adjacent to a completely different adspace than the one Google is in, an adspace populated mainly by banners we sell ourselves. Furthermore, it is absolutely impossible to see this space and the Google one at the same time.

But at any rate, I've already changed everything... now it displays alternative text. Should actually be more useful to the advertisers, as it effectively gives them more space and the option to say something else.

It's just that my situation really isn't covered anywhere in the "Terms and Conditions", where it mentions "encouraging any third party to generate fraudulent clicks on any Ad(s)", where "Ad(s)" is earlier defined as "Google provided advertisements".

Further, the "Program Policies" page states "Web pages may not include incentives of any kind for users to click on ads. This includes labeling the ads as sponsors as well as asking users to click on the ads or to please visit the sites." However, once again the language used in this paragraph, specifically "the ads" and "the sites", refers only to "Google provided advertisements".

Since the TAC is specific to only "Google" advertisements, there is no definition for what is acceptable behavior with "other" advertisements or sponsors.

Since I've already changed, this is more of a caution for anyone who does their own ad sales.


 5:13 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I heard the words AdSense/Incite Clicks and got all fired up! :)

[edited by: anxvariety at 5:29 am (utc) on Dec. 14, 2003]


 5:27 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

The banner he wanted the "support our sponsors" statement on was not a CPC basis, but on a CPM. There is a big difference, and on a CPM basis many advertisers want attention drawn to the ads, with encouragement to click.

I can't see a PPC network, or an advertiser on a CPC basis, want their ads to be clicked on simply to support a site. I can see why Google is enforcing this - because they want to keep the advertisers, who are funding AdSense, as happy as possible.

<added>anxvariety, just noticed you misunderstood the thread and changed your post ;) My post was in response to your previous one</added>


 6:06 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

You also don't want to get google involved in drawing lines.

This isn't new to ad networks - another well known ad network also prohibited this at least two years ago.

Google doesn't want into the position of approving it for one webmaster while rejecting it for another.


 7:11 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Glad you've changed the text to complement the individual ads. I'm sure that will be a big improvement.

But you sound incredibly unrepentant even though you had "click on our sponsors" right at the top of the page. Come on, the meaning of that is crystal clear and it's no wonder Google asked you to change it.


 7:19 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

But you sound incredibly unrepentant even though you had "click on our sponsors" right at the top of the page. Come on, the meaning of that is crystal clear and it's no wonder Google asked you to change it.

Notwithstanding my earlier post, frankly I see no reason for sunflux not to be "unrepetent." After all, that text pre-dated his participation in the AdSense program and Google did approve his site with that language there.

I'm not saying he shouldn't comply with Google's request, because he should, but I can certainly understand how he feels.


 7:39 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

But you sound incredibly unrepentant even though you had "click on our sponsors" right at the top of the page. Come on, the meaning of that is crystal clear and it's no wonder Google asked you to change it.

I would only be "repentant" if at least one of the following conditions applied to my situation:

1) If the text was new since signing on to Google.
2) If the text was near Google's ad and was obviously targeting it OR I actually served Google ads in that adspace on a limited basis.
3) If the text was far from Google's ad but there was obviously nothing else it could apply to.
4) If the ad space was ONLY served by CPC or CPA agencies (this ad space is sold to MY advertisers on a CPM basis who WANT clickthroughs).

Since none of those are true, I'm treating this as a completely unexpected but understandable request from Google.


 8:04 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

"Click on our sponsors!"


 8:17 am on Dec 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I do not believe that it is a case of being "repentant" or "unrepentant"

The nub of the matter is that Google have asked for a change in the web site copy.

At that point, no matter how "just" or "unjust" their request is, you only really have two choices - you either conform to their request or you leave AdSense (the only other option is that you can get them to change their mind, is "unlikely" to happen )

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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