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Google AdSense Forum

Legal To Put Adsense on A Directory Site?
Wondering about sites I've run across

 12:02 am on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Since joining here, I've become much more cognizant of the types of sites that have adsense on them.

I recently ran across a golf site that is nothing more than a DWOP Live listing. It has adsense. Is this legal?



 2:02 am on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Again, this is the type of question that should be presented to Google, not us, because if you choose to rely on our opinion - and it's wrong - where will that leave you? Defenseless to an account termination.

You could always file a report, but you know that already, don't you?

People's views of the threshold of acceptable content varies. What matters is Google's view.


 2:53 am on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Again, this is the type of answer people don't expect here, whether is a geniune doubt or not.

If you're a moderator and you're just trying to keep the forums clean, then a better aproach (though more rude) would be just to delete the message and email the user privately IF that is (cleanup) the intention.

If education is the intention, well, I'll see you here for a while ;)


 2:59 am on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

jretzer :

From my experience, that would qualify for the so named "scrapper" site, so, the DMOZ links looks much higher quality than SERPS.
So, you may see it there for a while, but you may don't see it within some months, until somebody reports them and get shut down.


 11:19 am on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

It is perfectly legal to use DMOZ data for your own site. -Even Google does it [directory.google.com], and shows adwords on it, so why wouldn it be against the adsense T&C for someone else to do it?

There is a huge difference between using copyright free content from a place like wikipedia or the ODP and using a program to automatically scrape the search engine results pages and vomit back the results in a pseudo directory.


 12:28 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

'Webwork' - this is the second thread today that I have read you telling someone to "Ask Google - Not Us". While I understand your point, I do feel you could word it a bit more friendlier. Maybe you have been on WebmasterWorld for so long you've forgotten why this forum was built!

We all learn something new everyday, and most learn from this board. If I had to email Google every time I had a question then I would have sent them something like 500 emails over the last year. If your saying we should doubt everything that experience webmasters may write on here then what's the point in visiting WW?

Lighten up a bit mate.


 1:21 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thank God for PatrickDeese, and his common sense post.

I run a dmoz directory. It has been up for at least 5 years now. I started it primarily because I wanted to see what it would be like to tackle the task of parsing the data, importing the data, creating the various java classes and python scripts to parse the data, creating various PHP and JSP web applications to display the data, etc etc.

I did it all on my own and I am very proud of my work.

I used to enjoy coming here and reading the various posts, but ever since I've read here that my site is a scum scraper site, I've decided that it is better for me to concentrate on my web sites.

FWIW, Google runs a dmoz clone. Displaying adsense on directory results pages is within the TOS. Furthermore, I can think of no better place to be as an advertiser than on a dmoz category page. You can't get more targeted than that.


 1:57 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

TG - I am being "friendly", if you believe that the habit of "asking us" instead of asking the "AdSense team" about potential violations of the TOS is a potentially fatal exercise of judgment that is easily circumvented by using the actual, authorized process: Asking the AdSense team.

I think it borders on nuttiness, this habit of seeking approval of any doubtful practice, from one's peers, for actions that may result in account terminations - or at least brining your website(s) under closer scrutiny - which could result in a termination for other reasons.

It's misguided to rely on us - WW -versus them - the AdSense team - because 1) there's an actual process in place for getting approval from Google that would certainly innoculate you IF you follow the AdSense team's advice; 2) approval by one's peers is no defense whatsoever to the dreaded "improper clicks" letter; 3) there are people at WW who are obviously willing to push the envelope, as evidenced by the recent slew of "I got the termination email" threads. Do you know, if you adopt the advice given here, if you are following the advice of a conservative WW member or a risk taking WW member?

Do you? No, you don't. You don't even know if the person responding is a competitor. Do you understand that there's reasons why many members don't post their website address?

So, no, I don't see it as unfriendly at all to be blunt on the score of answering questions that could potentially lead to someone's account being terminated. Indeed, I think it's unfriendly to offer assurances to someone who has reason to doubt. I think the only good advice is 1) Read the Google AdSense TOS and other guidelines; and, 2) If you're still not certain then ask the AdSense team.

While I have the greatest respect for PatrickD and consider him a friend, as I friend I will respectfully disagree with him on the point raised in this thread. ;0) I think that pure DMOZ live feed sites, without further modification, will soon face a similar fate as scraper sites because they don't add value. Pure, unimproved DMOZ feeds, without more, can be replicated by simply offering a link to the DMOZ itself. I don't believe/know that AdSense will terminate accounts for running pure, unaltered, unimproved, unaugmenented DMOZ feeds - but I do have reason to believe a policy decision may soon be made to end this practice. Then what?

So, in the interest of ending a habit that I think is wrongheaded I'm going to be the voice that says what I think needs to be said the way I think it needs to be said: When in doubt about whether specific conduct now - or in the near future - may be deemed to violate the AdSense TOS ask AdSense, not us.

Expressed differently: If "we" can't refer you to specific language in the AdSense TOS and supporting documents then we ought to do you the service of advising you like this: "We don't know, but we infer it's okay, but don't rely on us. Ask Google."

We have a word in the practice of law for giving advice that a person relies on to their detriment: Malpractice. There's a remedy for that. There's no remedy for people who rely on other webmasters to interpret the Google AdSense TOS for them.

Ask Google.


 4:55 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

I didn't ask google because I didn't want to be -- even indirectly -- responsible for getting someone kicked off. I don't have Google ads on a directory site. If I asked, and then they went hunting and someone was kicked out I'd feel bad.

Although if its legal, I might consider it :)


 5:45 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

DMOZ sites are fine and I'm not aware of any portion of the TOS that they could conceivably be in breach of. However it's not as if the Internet needs any more of these, and it's not a good way to build traffic because there are so many sites with identical content.

As for being concerned about what changes Google may impose "in the near future", as Webwork suggests, that's unknowable and IMO not worth speculating on.


 9:04 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

What, exactly is a pure DMOZ live feed clone, without material embellishment or improvement? Is it this:

No Google ad may be placed on pages published specifically for the purpose of showing ads, whether or not the page content is relevant.


Since the DMOZ already exists - and all you are doing is mirroring it - what's the purpose? So people can find the DMOZ easier? That's called a link to DMOZ.

How about this:

Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.


Is a pure DMOZ clone, based on a live feed, with nothing added to the domain but AdSense "substantially duplicate content"?

First go the scraper sites or so that appears from another thread here. That said, applying the above standards, how far behind are the pure DMOZ live feed mirror sites?

Not far at all IMHO. Your mileage may vary.

Could you redeem a mirrored DMOZ site? Likely. How?

Do something that adds value to it. Don't just clone it and spit it out unchanged, unimproved, without something of value added to the mix.


 10:12 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

It is perfectly legal to use DMOZ data for your own site. -Even Google does it, and shows adwords on it, so why wouldn it be against the adsense T&C for someone else to do it?

Side comment : google does not show ads on their DMOZ copy.


 10:40 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

> Side comment : google does not show ads on their DMOZ copy.

You are right - they only show them in the search results for the directory, not in the actual directory template itself.

Yahoo is the one that mixed contextual ads in to the directory.


 10:49 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Correct me if I am wrong Webwork but you are aiming on populating your own directory sites from dmoz to get them up and running so all you are doing is mirroring it!

could you please explain why that is different to the first posters comment?


 11:20 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

That "specifically for the purpose of showing ads" clause is way too vague to be useful, but the DMOZ directory has a vast amount of useful info, so I don't see how republishing a portion of it would fall into that category.

IMO Google would be much better off focusing on ridding the program of scraper sites (possibly already underway, but I doubt it) and those ridiculous "dictionary" sites that have a one-sentence definition of a word surrounded by 2 or 3 ad blocks.


 8:11 am on Mar 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Looks like, according to TOS, that the only explicit violation would be if there was an AdSense powered Google search on the same age as a DMOZ directory, or if there was AdSense on the front page.


 2:12 pm on Mar 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

There are some quite large directory sites with adsense (and of course, there's Google's own DMOZ derivative). It seems to be allowed.

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