Check amounts - You can now tell the world how much your AdSense checks are :)
New Terms of Service for AdSense
1. Program Participation:
In the middle of this section, (collectively, "Ads"), related Google search queries, has been replaced with (such Google-served advertisements, collectively, "Ads"), related Google queries and/or Ad search box (collectively, "Links"),
2. Implementation and Operation of Ads and Search Results.
There are many changes in this section to reflect the new Ad Links, I won't specify all those changes where links has been added along side search and ad units.
The first line has a slight change (change in bold) You agree to comply with the specifications provided by Google from time to time
They have made it clearer that you cannot pre-populate search boxes you place on your site. Changes in bold:
Except for related Google queries, all search queries (including queries entered into an Ad search box) must originate from individual human end users inputting data directly into a Search Box (or Ad search box, as applicable) on Your Site(s).
Another slight change here (change in bold):
and Google will use commercially reasonable efforts to provide You with corresponding Search Results and/or Ads, as applicable and as available.
Then there is the long confused section regarding the fact that you cannot have an ad unit displaying ads identical to any other ad units. And I think it just got even more confusing. While the clause regarding "no Ad Unit shall contain any advertisement in common with any other Ad Unit." has been dropped, it has been replaced with the following:
In addition, You agree that while You may display more than one (1) Ad Unit on each Site Web page, You shall not display any Ad Unit on a page that contains Ads associated with another Google AdSense customer (e.g., Your Web hosting company), unless authorized to do so by Google or such other AdSense customer, if authorized.
So what does this mean? It means that "revenue sharing" AdSense sites are now against the terms, as would be displaying your own AdSense on a site where the hosting company is already showing their own AdSense (ie. such as a Tripod site). "Revenue sharing" is especially popular on forums, where the originating poster can have his/her AdSense displayed on the thread a certain percentage of the time. Now, you can only do this if you have received specific permission from Google AdSense to do so, otherwise, you will be violating the AdSense terms. I clarified this with Google, as well, as I wanted to make sure I understood this correctly.
The terms also now refers to any page using one of the AdSense services as a "Serviced Page", and the terms clarify you cannot run any non-Google contextual programs on any "Serviced Pages".
3. Communications Solely With Google.
Minor changes to reflect Ad links.
4. Parties' Responsibilities.
Minor changes to reflect Ad links.
5. Prohibited Uses
More minor changes to reflect ad links. They have also clarified what you cannot do to manipulate what a user gets when clicking an ad. Changes in bold:
(iii) frame, minimize, remove or otherwise inhibit the full and complete display of any Web page accessed by an end user
Some publishers have been getting sneakier when it comes to what the user experience is once a surfer clicks an ad, so this tightens up the terms in this regard.
Chat pages have now been added to the types of pages you cannot display ads on.
You shall not.... display any Ad(s) or Link(s) ... on any chat page.
And perhaps the most interesting change, this has been added:
You shall not... (viii) act in any way that violates any Program Policies posted on the Google Web Site, as may be revised from time to time, or any other agreement between You and Google (including without limitation the Google AdWords program terms), or engage in any action or practice that reflects poorly on Google or otherwise disparages or devalues Google’s reputation or goodwill.
So what would "engage" or "practice" cover? Would that include complaining about click fraud or low earnings in a forum? Or would it be reserved for those who publicly disparage Google in less-than-flattering terms to a newspaper? It will be interesting to see how this is interpreted as well as enforced.
They have also removed the bolded section in this clause, and the pursuit of all available civil or criminal remedies relating to fraud and other legal claims.
6. Termination; Cancellation.
More minor changes for ad links. Also, this has been added:
Subject to any third party agreements You may have with other Google customers (e.g., Your Web hosting company),
You may terminate this Agreement with or without cause at any time by sending written notice of your desire to cancel Your participation in the Program to firstname.lastname@example.org. This Agreement will be deemed terminated within ten (10) business days of Google's receipt of Your notice.
Google has loosened the terms of the confidentiality part of your agreement.
"However, You may accurately disclose the amount of Google’s gross payments to You pursuant to the Program.
This means, if I wanted to tell the world how much my AdSense check was last month, I could do it without violating the AdSense terms. So who wants to go first and tell us your check amount ;)
9. No Warranty
Minor changes for ad links.
15. Google Rights
A new section details what can/cannot be done by using AdSense to make a competing product:
You will not ... create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product through use of or access to the Program or proprietary information related thereto.
Also, they have clarified this clause (changes in bold)
You will not remove, obscure, or alter Google's copyright notice, Brand Features, or other proprietary rights notices affixed to or contained within any Google services, software, or documentation (including without limitation the display of Google’s Brand Features with Ads, Links, Search Boxes and/or Search Results, if applicable).
16. Information Rights
Also, slight clarification on sharing information with third parties (change in bold).
Google may share non-personally-identifiable information about You, including Site-specific statistics and similar information collected by Google, with advertisers, business partners, sponsors, and other third parties.
This has been added:
The parties specifically exclude from application to the Agreement the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods and the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act.
I have no idea what this means, so hopefully someone more familiar with this international act will be able to clarify.
That is it for the AdSense Terms changes.
AdSense Program Policies:
This has been added:
A single Ad Links unit may be placed on each Web site page, in addition to the ad units and search boxes specified above. Ad Links units are considered to be 'Google ads' for purposes of these program policies.
This clarifies that if you have multiple ad units on a page, you may only have one ad unit with ad links.
So, what else has changed?
These changes are ones AdSense publishers have been waiting for since the program launched. The payments section has now been moved into the "My Account" tab in your AdSense control panel.
Payments in your Home Country's Currency
They have introduced a program where you can have your AdSense payments converted to your home country's currency, so you will receive a check that you can cash much easier at a bank in your country. With publishers having to pay crazy banking fees to cash a US check, this change is most welcome. 43 countries are supported: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United States.
New Payment Options
Publishers will also find different payment options available in their control panel.