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Complete analysis of new AdSense Terms, Policies & FAQ
Should spammers be worried about these new changes?
Jenstar




msg:1404174
 3:30 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, Google has definitely brought some major changes with their new terms, policies and FAQ.

The biggest concern? The following statement that is now listed under “site may not include”:

Deceptive or manipulative content or construction to improve your site's search engine ranking, e.g., your site's PageRank

Eyes opened wide? Good, because we start off with the much drier Terms ;)


Introduction & 1. Program Participation

They have removed that sites must adhere to the Program FAQ when you agree to the terms. Instead, they state that the description of the program can be found on the FAQ page.

They also added a clause about multiple accounts, stating they are permitted with explicit written (or email) permission from AdSense.

2. Implementation; Ad Placement.
Slight change made about ad sizes offered from time to time by Google. This could mean that there might be new sizes in the future as well.

4. Program FAQ.

This section has been completely eliminated.

4. Parties' Responsibilities.

Again, reference to the FAQ has been eliminated, but still states that you must be compliant with the Program Policies

5. Prohibited Uses.

Minor references to the FAQ has been eliminated.

Displaying AdSense on search result pages has been removed as being prohibited.

6. Termination; Cancellation.

Again, another reference to the FAQ has been removed.

Reference to section numbers has been changed, since one numbered section has been removed.

The need to remove all AdSense javascript within an hour after account termination has been removed.

7. Confidentiality.

Removal of part of the section regarding disclosing stats for income tax reasons.

10. Limitations of Liability; Force Majeure.

An interesting addition regarding possible breach of intellectual propery rights and proprietary interests with the program.

11. Payment

Again, several removals for FAQ references, including that the timing and delivery of the checks as per the FAQ. But they have added a new reference to the FAQ. They have added a new reference that any past due payment owing on Adwords will come out of AdSense earnings before checks are sent. This was previously mentioned in the FAQ, so it has been added here, since the publishers are no longer agreeing to the FAQ when agreeing to the terms.

14. Your Obligation to Indemnify

New additions, basically stating you can’t sue Google for loss of income, expenses, damages, reasonable legal fees. Anyone who entertains the thought of suing AdSense for whatever reason should be sure to read this section, since it spells out what you agree in regards to legal action when you agree to the terms.

15. Information Rights.

Includes reference that your site information can be shared with a third party, but they cannot be responsible with what a third party may do with that information.

16. Miscellaneous.

States you agree with the new terms by agreeing online, or with continued use of the AdSense program.

Whew! That’s it for the new terms.


Now for the new Policies!

Account Transferability

This is a brand new section. Basically states you can’t sell an AdSense account. If you sell your site, you would have to cancel your account, and the new owner opens a new one. I am wondering if this is to prevent people who have been suspended from purchasing a site with an active account.

Ad Placement

Added that multiple ad units are allowed per page, up from the previous wording of single ad units.
Multiple ad units may be displayed on each Web site page, but no ad unit shall contain any advertisement in common with any other ad unit.

AdSenseAdvisor has already commented on this confusing issue:
The multiple ads language is confusing, I agree. At this point, there's no way to assure that ads won't be double-served if two layouts are on the same page. So multiple ad layouts on a page are still not allowed... I think the language is there so that we have room to introduce new features as we move forward.

The statement that ads are not allowed on search result pages has been removed, which is inline with the terms change.

Incentives

Finally, we have official confirmation on what you can call ads. They now say that while publishers cannot encourage visitors to click the ads, they can be referred to as "sponsored links" or "advertisements."

Language

Dutch, Portuguese and Japanese has been added to the list of languages.

Personal Pages

New changes made to prevent people from applying with a “clean” site and then placing it on a personal blog page. Now, Ads shall not be placed on personal pages or chat sites without Google's prior written consent.

Site policies

Sites may not include:
Deceptive or manipulative content or construction to improve your site's search engine ranking, e.g., your site's PageRank

This is a HUGE change, IMO. This will probably get some of the spammers worried - just what exactly would this cover? Normal SEO? Or just the real black hat stuff? Should publishers be paranoid?

That’s it for the Policies.


Now for the FAQ.

Program Basics Section

1. What is Google AdSense?

Small reference to the Policies removed.

3. . Can I filter which ads are displayed on my site?

This has been added:
Please note that Google does not commit that all ads for the websites that you add to your URL filter list or ads containing objectionable content will be prevented from display on your site.

I wonder if the filter isn’t working as well as it should, and also if more adult content ads are sneaking through. But objectionable content can often be in the eye of the beholder and what one publisher feels is fine could be offensive to another.

7. Can I cancel my Google AdSense account?

Reference to the terms for complete termination information has been added.

They also added that they will not pay out on earnings of less than $1.00.

8. How do you prevent click and page impression spam?

New addition of “These prohibited methods include but are not limited to: This includes encouraging users to click on the ads or to visit the advertisers' sites as well as labeling the ads with text other than "sponsored links" or "advertisements." Which is inline with what was added to the Policies.

9. Can I display ads on search results pages?

It is now permissible for all publishers to include ads on search results (previously it was only for publishers who asked for permission during the testing process).

4. Are non-English websites eligible for Google AdSense?

Added new language support.

5. Can I sign up if I am already a part of an ad network?

Reference to the multiple ads allowed per page as long as the ads are not the same.

6. Can I sign up for more than one account?

Information on contacting AdSense Support for multiple accounts.

Payments Section

1. How much will I earn through this program?

Reference that payments are in accordance to the terms.

4. When do I get paid?

Now states that payments will be mailed “approximately 30 days after the end of each calendar month”, while it previously was “within”.

States full payment terms can be found in the Terms.

Format Section

1. What are the layout options for ads on my web pages?

Reference made that multiple ad formats are available, up from the four that were previously available.

3. Can I display more than one set of AdWords ads on a web page?
Again the change to “Multiple ad units may be displayed on each Web site page, but no ad unit can contain any advertisement in common with any other ad unit.”

My Account Section

9. How do I know the URLs of the ads on my site?

Reference made to the new googleadservices.com URL for AdSense/Adwords, which is used for conversion tracking.

Also includes more detailed instructions on how to get the URLs of the ads.

11. How do I cancel my account?

Added that they do not pay out for earnings under $1.00

13. How do I change my display language?

This section has been added. I think it is self explanatory ;)

Privacy and SecuritySection

2. What does Google do with my personal information?

Again, references to this mysterious third party. “Please note that Google may disclose to third parties personally identifiable information about you for the purpose of approving and enabling your participation in the AdSense Program as described in the Terms and Conditions.” I really wonder who this third party is, or if it is there for future use.


Done!

Now, for a possible conspiracy theory ;)

Sites cannot include: Deceptive or manipulative content or construction to improve your site's search engine ranking, e.g., your site's PageRank. What if the third party they can share publisher's information with is actually the regular Google serp team? Could running AdSense then lead to having a site run-through with a hand edit by the natural serps and possibly be booted out of the Google index?

It is important to note that the FAQ is no longer binding, since it is not a part of the AdSense terms. And it is the FAQ that has always said Participating in Google AdSense does not affect your site's rank in Google search results. Google AdSense will not affect the search results we deliver. Google believes strongly in freedom of expression and therefore offers broad access to content across the web. Our search results are unbiased by our relationships with paying advertisers and publishers. We will continue to show search results according to our PageRank technology.

When agreeing to the terms, you state they can share information with third parties for the purpose of enabling and approving your participation in the Program. Is it a big stretch that AdSense could be discussing a publisher's website engaging in black hat techniques with the natural serp team, under the guise of finding out what could be done to make the site compliant with the "Deceptive or manipulative content" aspect in the policies?

Now, would Google do this? It is probably a longshot, but it did come to mind when wondering who exactly this "third party" is that has been referenced so many times in the changes, and because I was analyzing all three documents, I am probably the only one who would put two and two together. And conspiracy theories always make for interesting threads, especially when they have absolutely nothing to do with checks ;)

I think this has got to be the most comprehensive analysis I have had to do to date, I hope you all enjoy the run-down of the changes without having to hunt them out yourselves.

 

Eltiti




msg:1404175
 3:38 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Jenstar:

Thanks for the brilliant analysis! (As always...)

I'm not too unhappy about the added languages ;-)

In fact, I just spent a few minutes adding some JS to my pages... Can't wait to see how that will work out!

Marcia




msg:1404176
 3:42 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Great rundown, thanks!

Is it a big stretch that AdSense could be discussing a publisher's website engaging in black hat techniques with the natural serp team, under the guise of finding out what could be done to make the site compliant with the "Deceptive or manipulative content" aspect in the policies?

I don't think it's a stretch to think that people in that department might have to ask regular SERP people to define compliancy in some cases.

ken_b




msg:1404177
 3:51 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the summary Jenstar.

Jenstar




msg:1404178
 3:57 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't think it's a stretch to think that people in that department might have to ask regular SERP people to define compliancy in some cases.

It is what the regular SERP people do with the information after the AdSense people leave that is the question, since the terms state they disclaim all responsibility of what a third party might disclose, and essentially, do.

androidtech




msg:1404179
 4:06 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

BIG THANKS, Jenstar!

Missed that part about the anti-SEO stuff.

I think there's going to be a new type of consultant created out of this.

The AdSense arbitration liaison and seal of approval grantor.

Just wait and see.

Hell, give it a year and you'll have to pay a certification fee to get your site reviewed before entering the AdSense program, and that won't even guarantee acceptance. Just like Yahoo's directory.

Maybe I should patent that so that can never do it. :)

Thanks.

dazzlindonna




msg:1404180
 4:07 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Jenstar, you are a gem as always. I had patted myself on the back for reading it all very carefully, but I still didn't catch some of it until I read your analysis. Thank you! I think there will be some interesting comments from the Privacy Protectors out there about the fact that Google can share personally identifiable information with an unknown third party. I agreed to it of course, because I don't want to lose my beloved monthly checks, but I did hesitate before hitting that Accept button.

Addictist




msg:1404181
 4:12 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Did this just change or am I seeing things. Now it says that if you run Google ads through another network you can run adwords in addition to them. It still has the thing about the ads in common with other ad units but I think they are making thinks clearer. Again, how do we make sure we dont get the same ads which the advisior says is not possible. Yay, decent fastclick checks again. Maybe?

europeforvisitors




msg:1404182
 4:15 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Re the third party: That could just be legal boilerplate to avoid liability if somebody unexpected happens in the future. It doesn't necessarily imply that sharing information with third parties is on their to-do list. (And I don't see why they'd need a clause like that to share information with Google's own search team, since AdSense is part of Google and not a separate corporate entitity.)

BTW, I think it would be great if search QC and AdSense QC were linked in some way. I think it's almost a given that a lot of spammers are working both sides of the aisle.

loanuniverse




msg:1404183
 4:22 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the rundown Jenstar!

Regarding the:
Deceptive or manipulative content or construction to improve your site's search engine ranking, e.g., your site's PageRank

I think is mostly another quality control issue. Taking into consideration that the adsense program is one of the only aspects in Google that are not automated, they figure that they might as well use the human audits to penalize blackhat practices. No big conspirancy going on here IMHO.

yoyo8




msg:1404184
 5:18 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Deceptive or manipulative content or construction to improve your site's search engine ranking, e.g., your site's PageRank

I have been complaining about this for a long time now both directly and inderectly to adsense so I think maybe they were responding partially to my feedback on this. The usual example I give is:

Keyword spamming pages composed of multiple keywords created from search engine API results. I have seen this technique used on many adsense pages.

chrisnrae




msg:1404185
 6:56 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks Jen ;). Glad I didn't have to wade through it LOL.

Sites may not include:
Deceptive or manipulative content or construction to improve your site's search engine ranking, e.g., your site's PageRank

This is a HUGE change, IMO. This will probably get some of the spammers worried - just what exactly would this cover? Normal SEO? Or just the real black hat stuff? Should publishers be paranoid?

You really can't prove so called "white hat" SEO. However, there is no denying that you are trying to manipulate your ranks when you have 400 keyphrases on the page and 200 blogs as backlinks ;).

mayor




msg:1404186
 7:21 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Nice work, Jenstar. Thanks.

Jesse_Smith




msg:1404187
 7:45 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google AdSense FAQ > Program Basics > Can I display ads on search results pages?

It says AdWords ads can be placed on search result pages through there 'Online AdSense Program'.

dillonstars




msg:1404188
 8:19 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks again for an excellent sumamry...

austtr




msg:1404189
 9:04 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Since day 1 there has been a statement to the effect that other ads on the page shall not be "text-based or content-targeted advertisement(s)"

To my way of thinking you can interpret that to be almost anything you want. eg this example is obviously mimicking Google's style and format

Worlds Best Widgets
Stockists of the most complete range of widgets, all sizes and colors guaranteed
http://www.widgetsRus.com

Yet if I put a box around it, change colors, add my own header, do any manner of things to change the appearance, it still remains a text based advertisement no matter what the surrounding embroidery may look like.

Now the "content targeted advertisement" really throws me off center... because isn't the whole purpose of an advert to provide "content targeting". If I want the viewer to click through to the page that sells blue widgets, then the advert "content" is sure as hell going to "target" the sale of blue widgets.

Google obviously has some criteria in mind as to what is acceptable, so to coin an old auditing phrase, "don't tell me... show me".

Perhaps some examples of good and bad would help because I am positive there are a lot of folks reading these words and interpreting them differently than I do.... which is the whole point I'm trying to make.

ebizcamp




msg:1404190
 9:01 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Can I display ads on search results pages?
Google AdSense now will allow AdWords ads to be placed on search results pages through our Online AdSense Program

What does the Online Adsense program refer to? AdSense? AdSense's legal title shall be "Google AdSense Online Program". Does this difference matter?

[edited by: Jenstar at 9:15 am (utc) on Feb. 20, 2004]
[edit reason] corrected quote tag [/edit]

Jenstar




msg:1404191
 9:17 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

According to the new FAQ, and TOS references, yes, AdSense on search results is okay to do.

ncw164x




msg:1404192
 9:26 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Excellent work Jenstar.

Yidaki




msg:1404193
 9:32 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

>According to the new FAQ, and TOS references, yes, AdSense on search results is okay to do.

So what about the mediapartnersbot then? My niche search engines disallow all robots from accessing the search url through robots.txt. Do i need to explicitly allow mediapartners bot to crawl the serps in order to deliver relevant ads?

Macro




msg:1404194
 10:38 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well done Jenstar! And thanks for the excellent summary.

Now to go and read the full version to ensure that I am fully compliant....boring job, but it's gotta be done!

PS: Adsense wants me to repost the code. Is the code any different? Or is it just something they require as standard each time they change the TOS. Let's go find out.

Adam_C




msg:1404195
 10:48 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Deceptive or manipulative content or construction to improve your site's search engine ranking, e.g., your site's PageRank

This sounds like it could be something as simple as having a links page, and requesting that people link to you in return for a link back.

Dangerous teritory for many I reckon.

alika




msg:1404196
 11:28 am on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

"text-based or content-targeted advertisement(s)"

In our homepage, we sell text ads that we serve through phpadsnew. In no way does our ads mimic the look and feel of Adsense. This is an important source of revenue for us.

Are we now prohibited to run the text ads? We label our own text ads "Sponsored Links" and they are presented on the side whereas the adsense in its default format are leaderboards

Before, I remember the wording to be more flexible where the main concern was to prevent serving text ads that look like Adsense

Mario




msg:1404197
 12:19 pm on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Saw the new terms but came here to read Jenstars analysis before accepting. Excellent stuff.

adfree




msg:1404198
 1:10 pm on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

You saved me a ton of time jenstar!
Check in whenever you're in Germany for a cask of whatever runs down your tongue best :-)
Jens

barbos




msg:1404199
 1:53 pm on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ads shall not be placed on personal pages or chat sites without Google's prior written consent.

What about forums (bulletin boards)? Are they equal to chat sites?

[edited by: barbos at 2:18 pm (utc) on Feb. 20, 2004]

Mario




msg:1404200
 1:58 pm on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

No they're fine - as are blogs.

My site which has had adsense for over 8 months was re-reviewed by Google the other day. They pulled me up on putting the ads below a breadcrumb but that was all. when I moved them to the bottom of the page they were happy enough.

2oddSox




msg:1404201
 2:00 pm on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your summary (again) Jenstar. I don't have the attention span for the real thing, so your summaries do the trick nicely.

Check in whenever you're in Germany for a cask of whatever runs down your tongue best

I reckon you could do a complete tiki-tour of Europe 'on the house' :)

2odd...

onfire




msg:1404202
 2:53 pm on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks Jenstar for the easy to read and understand version, great stuff.....

Jenstar




msg:1404203
 3:27 pm on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

As for blogs, if they are *personal*, they now require permission from AdSense before placing the code.

This 50 message thread spans 2 pages: 50 ( [1] 2 > >
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