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|"Made for AdSense" sites|
| 7:57 pm on Jul 29, 2004 (gmt 0)|
In another thread, a member posted the URL (since removed) of what might be termed a classic "Made for AdSense" site. For the benefit of newcomers who haven't seen such sites, let me describe what this one is:
The overall topic is "widget ------ling." The site's home page consists of links to pages optimized for keyphrases such as "widget ------ling in Springfield," "widget ------ling in Shelbyville," "Christian widget ------ling," and so on. The site has several hundred pages in all.
If you go to the page on "widget ------ling in Elbonia," you'll find a block of standard text that has been modified via a script or search-and-replace program to read something like:
"This page is about widget ------ling in Elbonia. If you're interested in widget ------ling in Elbonia, you can read our information on widget ------ling in Elbonia or chat about widget ------ling in Elbonia to learn all about widget ------ling in Elbonia."
The left column consists of AdSense ads disguised as a navigation bar. (Colors have been modified to eliminate ad borders and make the the "Ads by Google" hard to see.)
Clearly, this site violates the Google TOS, which state that an AdSense publisher's pages can't be created "for the purpose of displaying ads" even if the content is on target. (One might also think that the borderless ads disguised as a navigation bar would violate the TOS, but they don't, because Google made the mistake of listening to publishers who insisted that control over ad colors was necessary for "site aesthetics.")
I'd like to think that, when Google discovers sites like this, it takes action. Such sites are bad for users, bad for advertisers, bad for Google Search, and bad for the credibility of Google's "content network" among current and future advertisers. The question is, what can Google to do to discourage the creation of such sites? Here are some ideas for discussion:
1) Require that publishers obtain Google's approval for each site or subdomain where the AdSense code is to be used. Better yet, use technical means to ensure that code isn't displayed on non-approved domains or subdomains.
2) "Sandbox" revenues of new accounts and new sites under existing accounts for a reasonable period--say, 60 to 90 days--or until the AdSense QC team has done a couple of spot-checks to make sure that the site is legitimate.
3) Perform regular spot checks of any account that has revenues above a certain figure.
4) Tighten up the color and layout requirements for AdSense ads: e.g., require that the ads have borders and don't allow them to be used in lieu of navigation bars.
5) Work more closely with the Google Search team, so that any site banned by Google Search is also banned by AdSense and vice versa.
These steps might not eliminate the problem of "Made for AdSense" sites that threaten the viability of contextual advertising and clutter Google's search results, but they'd be be a step in the right direction.
| 7:38 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Well then I guess Google likes giving money to their big customers then? How else can you explain the revenue gap noted in their IPO to the contracts with certain sites displaying ads? Google...most charitable business ever? How about they can't generate the expected revenue from ads in the program? Shortage of ads, resulting in % served less than forecast? Click rates well below targeted averages? Love it when they face the same publishing issues as the est of us. The SE adwords is a sucess I agree, think the verdicts still out on adsense.
| 7:46 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|..How else can you explain the revenue gap noted in their IPO to the contracts with certain sites displaying ads? |
Good point, but the shortage is not a new development. If I had to guess, AOL has never been much of a money maker, but Google would surely hate to see it end up serving Overture.
Also, two years ago when they negotiated this "multi-year" contracts, they might have messed up.
| 2:48 pm on Aug 7, 2004 (gmt 0)|
It just occurred to me that everyone calls them...
Sites with questionable content (or no content)
Do any of you realize that the above sites are actually copying Google's very successful model?
Google is the biggest scraper site of them all! Every keyword search on their site returns scraped content from other websites on the web and NO (ZERO, ZILCH) content, next to which they display adsense ads very prominently, should we report them too?
To be successful online you should build more sites and mind your own internet business, literally. In the end you will not make more money, or sustain your business longer because you complained in a forum or had a handful of sites removed from the SE. For every site you have banned, 2000 more go up before dawn the next day.
The conclusion: Build more websites of your own in various niches, using many different affiliate programs, that is how you stay resilient online and avoid feeling so financially vulnerable when you see these 'spammy sites'.
BTW contextual advertising means adverts that relate to the "context" of the page (as in theme). It does not neccessarily mean advertising next to "content" as some would have it.
Here is a definition lifted from somewhere on the web:
(n.) Advertising on a Web site that is targeted to the specific individual who is visiting the Web site.
| 3:46 pm on Aug 7, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|Google is the biggest scraper site of them all! Every keyword search on their site returns scraped content from other websites on the web and NO (ZERO, ZILCH) content, next to which they display adsense ads very prominently, should we report them too? |
It's intellectually dishonest to equate Google with "scraper" sites. Google is a search engine that adds value to the Web for both users and publishers with its search results. In contrast, "scraper" sites are parasites that feed off the results of legitimate SEs while cluttering SERPs with pages of secondhand search results.
As far as AdSense is concerned, the argument that "scraper" sites are equivalent to Google is irrelevant, because the AdSense program policies explicitly forbid exclude "made for AdSense" sites. Publishers who place the AdSense code on such sites are in breach of contract, and Google would be justified in terminating their accounts even if "scraper" sites were inspired by God, blessed by the Pope, and sanctioned by the Sierra Club.
|BTW contextual advertising means adverts that relate to the "context" of the page (as in theme). It does not neccessarily mean advertising next to "content" as some would have it. |
It does in the case of AdSense, unless you're talking about the new "AdSense for search" spinoff. The main AdSense network is called "AdSense for content," and Google's descriptions and program policies make liberal use of the word "content." Before placing the AdSense code on questionable pages, you may want to review the Google AdSense FAQS, program policies, etc. at:
| 4:58 pm on Aug 7, 2004 (gmt 0)|
This kind of advertisers should be banned....
[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 5:43 pm (utc) on Aug. 8, 2004]
[edit reason] No specifics please. [/edit]
| 5:38 pm on Aug 7, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|This kind of advertisers should be banned.... |
Yes, they should be, according to the AdSense program policies. I suspect that one reason why such sites remain in the network for any length of time is that Google needs to develop a way to identify (and possibly penalize) them algorithmically. That's the way Google prefers to work on the search side: It sometimes leaves known spam sites in the index to see what happens when various algorithmic tweaks and filters are applied.
| 5:44 pm on Aug 7, 2004 (gmt 0)|
They would only need to check each domain in the adsense program once or twice in the year. That's not that much work, takes only 30 seconds per domain and would rise the qualtiy of adsense sites extremely.
But I guess, they want those kind of sites in their programm, so they can make more money.
| 6:45 pm on Aug 7, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|They would only need to check each domain in the adsense program once or twice in the year. That's not that much work, takes only 30 seconds per domain and would rise the qualtiy of adsense sites extremely. |
A single AdSense account can cover any number of domains, and publishers don't need permission to use their AdSense code on new domains. This makes it easier for publishers to crank out new "made for AdSense" sites (at least until they get caught).
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