homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.234.128.25
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Pubcon Platinum Sponsor 2014
Home / Forums Index / Google / Google AdSense
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: incrediBILL & jatar k & martinibuster

Google AdSense Forum

    
Low quality advertisers
Shouldn't Google refuse to carry their ads?
ThatAdamGuy




msg:1426154
 6:29 am on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have a page that talks about music... online services, best places to get CD's, and so on... and I placed a vertical AdSense banner on it.

I've been displeased to note the presence of several truly scummy advertisers. I wish I could name (and shame) them specifically here, but I guess that's against WW regulations, eh?

Anyway, suffice it to say these charming sites brag about giving people the ability to download ANY movie and ANY music they want... <snip>

How can these sites do this, you ask? Well, that's easy. They prey upon, well, stupid people who don't already know about Kazaa or don't know how to download it (must be terribly tough to know to go to www.kazaa.com, eh?). For just a little cash, these scummy advertisers will happily send you an e-mail with instructions on how to download and use Kazaa and similar programs.

Now mind you, I'm not trying to pass judgement on file sharing or the programs that facilitate it. As crazy as it sounds, I do acknowledge that Kazaa, for instance, has non-infringing uses, and I think that the RIAA is even more scummy than the advertisers I'm lamenting in this note.

Rather, I'm questioning why Google would permit into its AdWords network sites that blatantly not only encourage people to download copyrighted material, but charge money in the process. Would Google similarly enter into relationships with sites that say, <snip>

I think what irks me is that Google is ridiculously strict about the formulation of AdWords text, but doesn't seem to be monitoring the quality of its advertisers' sites at all. One of my ads was disabled because they didn't like the ommission of a comma. Another was disabled because I used the number 2 instead of the word "to."

If Google would spend just a fraction of the time they're now using to micromanage ad text and instead work to improve the quality of sites they're admitting into their AdWords program, I think everyone would be better off.

Oh, and for the record, yes, I know I can simply block these ads at issue from appearing on my site. But it's the principle at stake here.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you also concerned about the quality (or lack thereof) of many AdWords advertiser sites? Or am I making a mountain out of a molehill here?

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 6:32 am (utc) on June 28, 2003]

 

martinibuster




msg:1426155
 6:52 am on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is the kind of stuff you should email Google about- after all, it's a problem between you and Google, and Google would be interested in hearing about your concerns.

When I have an issue with Google about their advertisers I send them a note through their contact form, or email, and they do something about it.

I fully understand your concern and am behind you 100% but posting your grievances here does nothing to solve them. :)

ThatAdamGuy




msg:1426156
 7:06 am on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Martini, I definitely understand where you're coming from, and indeed, I've already written Google a note about the specific 'offenders.'

However, I posted this note here not just to hear myself talk, er, see myself write, but rather to elicit comments about others on a broad variety of related subjects:

For instance...

1) What is Google's appropriate role with regards to pre-screening advertisers?

2) How should Google deal with advertisers brought to its attention post-approval (e.g., should there be a higher standard of 'proof' necessary to discontinue a relationship)?

3) Will the questionable nature of some of the AdWords clients affect AdSense adoption, satisfaction, or overall success?

4) Is there widespread concern amongst AdSense members, or are questionable advertisers a cause for concern only for a minority?

...and so on :)

panicbutton




msg:1426157
 7:07 am on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have a similar prob with a lot of our health pages that carry cancer related articles. Google seems to always insert what seem to be snake oil adverts, you know, "Cure For Cancer", "Miracle Cure" and that sort of quackery.

europeforvisitors




msg:1426158
 4:11 pm on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm not running AdSense ads on my writing site because Google sells AdWords for vanity presses and poetry "contests" that prey on aspiring writers.

As much as I'd like to see Google ban such ads, that may not be practical in an advertising medium (AdWords) that encompasses many thousands of topics. A classified-ad rep for THE WRITER might be expected to look upon poetry contests with a skeptical eye, but how would would an AdWords rep know that most so-called "poetry contests" are scams? In some subject areas, Web publishers simply need to be extremely vigilant (and quick to enter domain names in their AdSense filters) or to resist the temptation to run ads from third-party servers like AdSense.

dmorison




msg:1426159
 4:37 pm on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

These are exactly the problems that I was referring to in my post in a current thread about "what is the Internet".

It doesn't matter that your site is a "quality" and "professional", if you join an advertising network (even one operated by a respectable search company), you will end up associating your site with "Internet Trash".

"Get Rich Quick", "Download Any MP3", "Brides for Sale" - it's a joke.

The real world in developed countries has an established class system that both individuals and companies position themselves within.

The Internet, however, has no class system - the quality has to mix it with the trash with no obvious demarcation.

SlowMove




msg:1426160
 4:46 pm on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I know there's a complaint form on Google for spam Web sites. If there's not one now, shouldn't they put a form up for advertisers? It sounds like this advertiser would get a lot of complaints.

europeforvisitors




msg:1426161
 6:26 pm on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

It doesn't matter that your site is a "quality" and "professional", if you join an advertising network (even one operated by a respectable search company), you will end up associating your site with "Internet Trash".

"Get Rich Quick", "Download Any MP3", "Brides for Sale" - it's a joke.

Nonsense. Every ad network that I've used has allowed me to choose the campaigns that it runs on my site (whether by campaign selection or by blocking). In the case of Google AdSense, the ads are targeted to the content of the page, and if Google can't figure out what your page is about, it will run public-service ads (not random RON ads for mail-order brides or get-rich-quick schemes).

Certain topic areas are inherently prone to scams and questionable forms of advertising--writing is one of them--but that's as true offline as it is online. For example, the #1 writers' magazine publishes ads for vanity publishers and fee-charging "literary agents" who prey on newbie authors. I've seen ads in cinema magazines for businesses that sell illegally photocopied screenplays. For that matter, some of the most respected women's magazines and daily newspapers run ads for questionable weight-loss products, breast-enhancement devices, anti-cellulite creams, and other scams.

I do think that Webmasters who worry about their reputations might want to think twice before running AdSense ads on, say, a writing site or a serious health-related site. But in most topic areas, AdSense ads are likely to be less sleazy (and less annoying) than the ads published by many large corporate-owned Web sites, newspapers, and magazines.

petertdavis




msg:1426162
 6:32 pm on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm a bit confused about how this site is more scummy than millions of other referral sites out there. What's the big difference between someone asking to be given "just a little cash" to refer you to Kazaa and any other affiliate site? The only difference I see is that the site you're talking about gets the referral fee from the customer, and any other affiliate program gets it from the company. I don't see that as a big difference.

SlowMove




msg:1426163
 7:16 pm on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't see that as a big difference.

I wouldn't want that advertising on my site. What if a user downloads some "free" software with a virus? There's plenty of money to be made from other advertisers.

ThatAdamGuy




msg:1426164
 8:36 pm on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Peter wrote:

I'm a bit confused about how this site is more scummy than millions of other referral sites out there. What's the big difference between someone asking to be given "just a little cash" to refer you to Kazaa and any other affiliate site? The only difference I see is that the site you're talking about gets the referral fee from the customer, and any other affiliate program gets it from the company. I don't see that as a big difference.

Because Kazaa is free! It's like saying, "Would you like to run the MOST RESPECTED WEB SERVER AROUND? Just send us $24.95! [and we'll give you a link to download the :cough: open source free Apache software]"

Or, extending this further, "How'd you like to use the WORLD'S BEST WEB SERVER to help establish a site for credit card theft? Just send us $24.95..."

In the cases above, the scam merchant is:
- charging for something that's given away free (and produced by another company!)
- and in the second item, encouraging illegal use of the above item

And EuropeForVisitors, you do raise a good point. In fact, last night, I was thinking about the Psychology Today magazine that I have a free trial of, and just how many scammish ads there are (though primarily in the back pages). Renowned Psychic! Magnets curing heart disease! Prestigious University Degree in 7 Weeks!

Frankly, I find that disgusting, too. Why is it that other reputable magazines can somehow refuse to carry such sewage?

I wish Google would take the high ground. Then again, I realize that it'd be tough, AND a slippery slope.

How about a site that sells vitamins and notes that you can enjoy renewed energy and health? Sounds reasonable.

How about a site that sells vitamins and claims that they can ward off cancer? Hmm... well, anti-oxidants have been known to help stave off some cancers...

How about a site that sells vitamins and claims that a healthy diet and a life rich in vitamins can help prevent diseases like Alzheimers? Well, there's no proof of that at all, and frankly, it would seem like snake oil to me. But could Google realistically spend the time to research this, to make SURE it's not true?

Just like the "get rich quick" scams... most people, applying common sense and common knowledge, KNOW that this stuff is total B.S. But can Google PROVE it? Should Google have the BURDEN of proving it? And if Google even attempted to editorialize more strongly, would it create a liability for them ("Google approved this ad, I bought the medicine, and now I'm paralyzed in my right leg!")

No easy answers, eh?

Oaf357




msg:1426165
 8:39 pm on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

In the case of the Kazaa-like ads, those might fall under Google's DMCA policy (http://www.google.com/dmca.html) and probably shouldn't be advertised at all, IMO.

However, I've been noticing that AdSense ads relevance fluctuates greatly. They're great because they aren't the same ad(s) everytime but sometimes I look at them and think, ****! Most of the time though they are fairly relevant.

dougb




msg:1426166
 3:16 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

As much as I'd like to see Google ban such ads, that may not be practical in an advertising medium (AdWords) that encompasses many thousands of topics. A classified-ad rep for THE WRITER might be expected to look upon poetry contests with a skeptical eye, but how would would an AdWords rep know that most so-called "poetry contests" are scams?

I don't know how they'll pull it off, but in my opnion it's Google's *responsibility* to ban deceptive ads, and the fact that they have a hundred thousand advertisers is hardly an excuse. I think they're going to have to be willing to eat a little into their enormous profit margins to do the right thing, hiring as many subject matter experts as they need to hire (assisted by technology) to reduce the number of scammy ads in each topic area to zero.

europeforvisitors




msg:1426167
 3:32 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think they're going to have to be willing to eat a little into their enormous profit margins to do the right thing, hiring as many subject matter experts as they need to hire (assisted by technology) to reduce the number of scammy ads in each topic area to zero.

So you're holding Google to a higher standard than your local newspaper or cable TV network? Why?

In any case, "scammy" is often in the eye of the beholder. Poetry contests are a good example: They may offer a cash prize to a few winners and publication to the runners-up. In practice, everyone or just about everyone is a runner-up, and the anthology publisher makes a killing by selling copies of the book to the many wannabe poets who entered the contest. To many people in the publishing business, this is a scam, although it may not be illegal. Should Google refuse to accept ads for poetry contests just because professional writers and editors think most such contests are scams? Who's to decide what Google's standards for poetry-contest ads should be? IMHO, on a strictly practical level, it's easier for AdSense publishers to simply block ads they don't want to run than for Google to play referee.

Oaf357




msg:1426168
 3:37 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't like the ad blocking scheme. I would prefer it to be based on genre and not individual sites. The individual site deal is nice but I can't sit here and look at every potential ad my site may display.

loanuniverse




msg:1426169
 4:02 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I thought about this very topic, before selling any type of ads in my site. I finally decided to add this to my disclaimer:

Disclaimer of Endorsement

Reference herein to any products, services, processes, hypertext links to third parties or other information by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, supplier or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation by the creator of this site, but it might. Product and service information are the sole responsibility of each individual vendor with the exception, once again, of Microsoft Corporation since who can tell what they include in their releases that will cause your computer to freeze-up, smoke, melt, explode, produce an entirely new language unknown to mankind or launch itself onto The Microsoft Network which, in itself, provides a new definition for the word 'slow'.

I understand some of the advertisers might not be the best fit for my audience, but I am very libertarian when it comes to people being responsible for their own choices.

danny




msg:1426170
 4:07 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

The individual site deal is nice but I can't sit here and look at every potential ad my site may display.

It's worse that that. It's not even possible for you to see all the ads your site is displaying. I'm getting ads that are clearly targeted at users in Australia, and I'm sure users in other countries are also getting geolocated ads - which I can't see at all.

dougb




msg:1426171
 4:20 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

So you're holding Google to a higher standard than your local newspaper or cable TV network? Why?

In any case, "scammy" is often in the eye of the beholder. Poetry contests are a good example: They may offer a cash prize to a few winners and publication to the runners-up. In practice, everyone or just about everyone is a runner-up, and the anthology publisher makes a killing by selling copies of the book to the many wannabe poets who entered the contest. To many people in the publishing business, this is a scam, although it may not be illegal. Should Google refuse to accept ads for poetry contests just because professional writers and editors think most such contests are scams? Who's to decide what Google's standards for poetry-contest ads should be? IMHO, on a strictly practical level, it's easier for AdSense publishers to simply block ads they don't want to run than for Google to play referee.

Well I think scammy ads are bad in any medium. But yes, I do hold Google to a higher standard. Search is different from browsing a newspaper or passively viewing a television channel. Search results (including the ads) are answers to a request, and every time Google answers a request with a scam, they are essentially telling the user a hurtful lie.

Your poetry contest example might be a tough call, but others aren't. Take the almost any of the AdWord ads that appear when you search for "jobs", an extremely popular query. They are mostly make-money-fast schemes. It makes me mad that they appear at all. They are so clearly scams. You and I know this, and Google knows this, too. And yet they take the money. This is not okay just because they're ads -- or because Google's ad system is automated and has a hundred thousand customers.

Who's to decide what Google's standards for the ads should be? Google, I suppose. I'm just proposing that they should adopt *higher* standards, and that they owe this to their users.

Oaf357




msg:1426172
 4:33 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

loanuniverse,

That was useful and funny all at the same time. I might have to sit down and write out a TOS (I have a copyright and privacy policy but third party ads are something for a TOS, IMO).

chiyo




msg:1426173
 4:45 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

great point danny. I was wondering why so many of the adsense ads on our site were Thailand companies or Thai services.. then after your post i realised why! But as well as geolocation it is also because Adwords advertisers can specify which countries their ads are displayed in.

it makes filtering out sites a lot more difficult for sure.. could using an anonymizer help?

danny




msg:1426174
 6:35 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

chiyo, by geolocation I meant AdWords users selecting particular countries - I don't think Google does country targeting unless the advertiser requests it.

A lot of the poorly targeted ads I'm seeing are clearly the fault of the advertiser rather than of Google - if the advertiser chooses bad keywords or fails to narrow their advertising to relevant countries, there's not much Google can do about it. And I suspect there are more clueless advertisers than there are scammy ones - it's the usual "never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence".

mack




msg:1426175
 6:56 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Only once felt the need to email Google about a misleading advertiser and it was removed within hours.

You just need to make sure you are complaining from a mutual stand-point and not just because it is a competeter.

Mack.

dmorison




msg:1426176
 7:46 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Nonsense. Every ad network that I've used has allowed me to choose the campaigns that it runs on my site (whether by campaign selection or by blocking).

What's nonsense? Google doesn't allow pre-selection of advertisers - that's half the problem.

In the case of Google AdSense, the ads are targeted to the content of the page, and if Google can't figure out what your page is about, it will run public-service ads (not random RON ads for mail-order brides or get-rich-quick schemes).

But Google are serving trashy ads - that's the other half of the problem.

Mozart




msg:1426177
 11:26 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Okay, maybe I don't understand some point here, so let me try to understand this...

AdWords is ads you can book with Google, AdSense is where you as a publisher can allow Google to display those ads. AdWords are displayed on SERPs plus possibly on those AdSense pages. If you look for your pages in the SERPs will you see ads similar to the ones displayed on your AdSense-enabled site? Or are they totally different?

My point being, on a SERP we may not really care what the displayed ads are, as it isn't our content. However, on our pages we have a much higher standard of ad quality, as it dilutes the quality of our content, in our perception.

To further this thought, maybe a site visitor does not care about the ads on your site as much as you do. Maybe this visitor does not see much of a difference in quality of AdWords on Google's SERPs or on your pages.

About the filtering. Google as a business would like a system that works without human intervention as this is the most profitable to Google. AdWords are automatically being cancelled if the click-through rate drops below a certain level. In AdSense you can specify which sites you don't want to display ads on your pages. So it seems to me that there are provisions to stop totally spammy ads via a certain level of self-regulation.

Or could it be that we as humans currently see two different levels of ads coming out of the one system? An ad displayed on SERPs is something we are used to and it is disregarded in quality. It may still be successful to the advertiser, but we don't add any authority to the ad. The same ad being displayed on a content site is much more valuable to the advertiser as it carries the authority of the site. If it is a high quality site we expect the ad to be more trustworthy and high quality.

If my last statement was true, then maybe Google needs to have two different systems with different pricing structures and quality control....

Mozart

PS: All the above is a mere theoretical exercise as I do neither use AdWords nor AdSense at the moment.

SlowMove




msg:1426178
 11:49 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

it's easier for AdSense publishers to simply block ads they don't want to run than for Google to play referee.

I think the problem is the number of advertisers. With CJ, or other big affiliate programs, the numbers are manageable.

It should be a two tier system. There should be a CJ type system for the heavy volume advertisers where publishers have more control of content. If publishers don't care, or don't want to spend the time on it, they should be able to use the system as it is.

europeforvisitors




msg:1426179
 4:00 pm on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

It would be nice if the "advanced options" page let a publisher block entire categories of advertising such as gambling, adult, pharmaceuticals, weight loss, etc.

I don't know how practical this idea is, since Google may not have a way to distinguish AdWords by category (as opposed to specific keywords). Maybe Google could have a "block by category" option with human-created category filters. For example, a "pharmaceuticals" category filter might block ads with the keywords "viagra," "prozac," and so on. The filtering wouldn't be perfect, but I'd guess that a high percentage of unwanted ads would be blocked.

In any case, one way to minimize "trashy" ads is employ the same optimization techniques that work for search: Use descriptive titles, headlines, and subheads, and make it clear to Google (and to the reader) what you're trying to say in your body text. And don't write articles about Viagra, home mortgages, or gambling if you don't want ads for those products on your pages. :-)

loanuniverse




msg:1426180
 4:32 pm on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

That was useful and funny all at the same time. I might have to sit down and write out a TOS (I have a copyright and privacy policy but third party ads are something for a TOS, IMO).

I have a privacy policy, but since I give advice a disclaimer was a must have in my case. In addition, it allowed me to cover this matter.

Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  
 

Home / Forums Index / Google / Google AdSense
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved