They almost got this passed me, because it hadn't been updated when I checked earlier today when the changes first began going live ;) Remember that when you agree to the AdSense terms, you have also agreed to follow the policies, even when they are updated.
Let's get started :)
The policies continue to state that No Google ad may be placed on any non-content-based pages. However, they have removed the sentence that followed that statement that previously said This includes error, login, registration, "thank you" or welcome pages.
An interesting change. Does this mean that they will be allowing AdSense on these types of pages at their own descretion? Were they getting too many spam reports about publishers who ran AdSense on all message board pages, for example, which included the login and registration pages? Or is this to further clarify that these are not the only pages that are considered non-content, and there was confusion previously that the stated pages were the only ones AdSense had a problem with.
This section has been considerably beefed up from its former version.
A site or third party cannot display our ads, search box, or search results as a result of the actions of any software application such as a toolbar. No Google ad or search box code may be pasted into any software application. We may not accept sites that are associated with some types of client-side software or offer these types of client-side software.
Now, the section reads:
A site or third party cannot display our ads, search box, or search results as a result of the actions of any software application such as a toolbar. Web pages displaying our ads, search box, or search results may not be loaded by any software that can trigger pop-ups, redirect users to unwanted websites, modify browser settings, or otherwise interfere with site navigation. It is your responsibility to ensure that no ad network or affiliate uses such methods to direct traffic to pages that contain your AdSense code. Accounts involved in this type of activity may be permanently disabled.
They seem to be making it very clear that this is not acceptable behavior and are emphasizing that this is definitely a situation that could result in an account being suspended. Several publishers have reported being suspended for participating in programs that sent poor quality traffic to pages, so this addition to the policies seems to be in response to that, so it is clearly spelled out that this practice is not acceptable.
Some additions have been made to this section of the policies.
In addition, publishers may not bring unnatural attention to sites displaying ads through unsolicited mass emails or unwanted advertisements on third-party websites. These activities are strictly prohibited in order to avoid potential inflation of advertiser costs.
This seems to be addressing the problem of publishers sending out emails asking visitors to click ads, as well as online advertisements asking people to click ads. I have been coming across these kinds of click incitements more frequently, so it is good to see this clarified to prevent the "I didn't know I couldn't advertise my site on Fark.com and ask them to click my ads". This must be a problem for AdSense as well, because a quality check of the site would show no problems, since the problem resided in an email or on another site completely.
Prohibited Clicks and Impressions
This section has been beefed up as well, to cover the eCPM ads.
Any method that artificially generates clicks or impressions is strictly prohibited. These prohibited methods include but are not limited to: repeated manual clicks or impressions, incentives to click or to generate impressions, using robots, automated click- and impression- generating clicking tools, or other deceptive software. Please note that clicking on your own ads for any reason is prohibited, to avoid potential inflation of advertiser costs.
Site Content... Site may not include
The section on incentives has been given more detail about what is not allowed:
Incentives (monetary or point-based) to users or third-party beneficiaries for online activity including, but not limited to, clicking on ads or links, performing searches, surfing websites, reading emails, or completing surveys.
Overall, nothing earth shattering if you are a terms and policies abiding publisher. However, if you are doing some deceptive promotion of your AdSense sites, you should carefully read over the changes and make sure you get into compliance as soon as possible.
This goes along with today's AdSense update which included new reporting features where you can save your favorite reports and top queries report with AdSense for Search so you can see what the most popular terms that people are searching for when utlizing your AdSense for Search box. AdSense also upped the number of available channels to 200 channels (up from 100) and the section targeting feature was also released today.