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Is it ok to use image of hand pointing at AdSense?
sallam

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 9:19 am on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Greeings

Is it ok to display a gif inimated image of a hand pointing down to the adsense ads below it? or is that not allowed, just like inviting text is?

sorry for the dumb question.

 

Rodney

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 7:16 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

You TOS wielders want to do something other than try to beat people over the head and scare them out of the program with the TOS? Then write a good article on how to do quality tests on adsense ctr and ecpm rates.

I think Google is the only TOS weilder around here.

However, people do come to the forum to ask other member's *opinions* on what will be within the TOS guidelines.

Some members are of the opinion that what was posted would violate the TOS guidelines based on communications with Google and posts from AdsenseAdvisor about the same topic.

No scare tactics at all. Someone asked for a public opinion and got a few. Naturally, all the opinions aren't going to be the same.

The only real way to get a error proof answer is to not post here at all, but rather just email Google directly with what you're planning to do and they'll tell you yea or nay.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 7:17 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

I guess it is ok to trick users within the tos though. Just put the ads in the middle of content, blend them in without modification and people don't realize they are ads.

Yes, and that's deplorable, but it doesn't change the TOS.

Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 7:24 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

> Yes, and that's deplorable, but it doesn't change the TOS.

Or how about mixing yoru adsense colors from page to page so that people don't realize that is a new ad.

Hits a little to close to home eh? (eg: I just decribed your site as coded EFV)

Any way - back to the original topic - NO, coding a page that put a hand *near* an ad, would not be specifically outside the program detials. It may be interepreted that way though. So do some testing and CYA...

Jenstar

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jenstar us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 7:42 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Or how about mixing yoru adsense colors from page to page so that people don't realize that is a new ad.

Hits a little to close to home eh? (eg: I just decribed your site as coded EFV)

That is called rotating color palettes, and is a tool AdSense provides to all publishers. Nothing sneaky or Terms violating about it whatsoever.

It may be interepreted that way though.

Google will always provide feedback if you want clarification whether what you are doing is a policy violation or not.

Rodney

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 7:45 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Any way - back to the original topic - NO, coding a page that put a hand *near* an ad, would not be specifically outside the program detials.

Actually the original topic was "is it ok to use image of and pointing at Adsense".

That would be against the terms of service as I understand it and as AdsenseAdvisor has explained it in these forums.

Putting a hand near an ad is not necessarily against the terms (unless Google found it to be bringing unecessary attention to the ads).

ken_b

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 7:46 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Too often we talk about the Adsense Terms and Policies as if they are crisply black and white and carved in stone.

They aren't.

They are more like an infinite number of shades of grey written in the sand on a hurricane washed beach.

I've seen the "pointing hand" thing, I don't care for, but that's me.

Does it draw undue attention? Only Google can answer that, and the answer isn't likely to be consistent.

Everything we do draws some attention to the ads, if it didn't, nobody would click and we'd all dump the program as fast as possible.

We often urge people to use the heat map as a guide, surely nobody thinks that location isn't a way of drawing attention to the ads.

One of the heat map hot spots is directly above your main content, right where folks would expect to find the actual content, if the ads weren't there.

Undue attention?

Can there be a much more subjective term?

Blend ads, make them boldly stand out, place them where the user expects to find content or navigation, put images above the ads, beside the ads, etc. etc. etc.

It's all opinion, in my opinion. But in the end, when push comes to shove, the only opinion that matters is Googles.

Rodney

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 8:01 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's all opinion, in my opinion. But in the end, when push comes to shove, the only opinion that matters is Googles.

That pretty much sums up this whole thread :)

activeco

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 8:03 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

But in the end, when push comes to shove, the only opinion that matters is Googles.

Even that doesn't have to be true.
The real Google is fully automatic, while this requires human judgement.
In that case, the "Google's" interpretation could be totally different from case to case.

oddsod

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 8:07 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

That is called rotating color palettes, and is a tool AdSense provides to all publishers

True. And they also allow disguising ads as content to trick viewers into clicking - in fact they recommend it. They have no rules against designing your site for accidental clicks - like making your nav bar look like Google ads and having it on different locations on different pages. Or having screwed up CSS/js that doesn't show your real nav bar in older browsers and gives users only ads to click on. Or, even worse, having the ads as the only static content on the page. (I'm sorry if I'm giving one or two of you ideas here :))

As ken_b points out many parts of the TOS can be interpreted in different ways. Hey, I've argued here that everybody could be said to have violated the Adsense TOS if you take everything in TOS verbatim and by the letter - eg Your site must not contain broken links and must be launched, functioning, and easily navigable. That's me out then, I'm sure at least one of my links must have at some point gone to a site that was down for a few seconds. And - till ASA recently said self impressions would be discounted - viewing your own site was a violation of TOS.

I don't care for the hand gif myself but the subjective nature of whether it violates the drawing attention to your ads ban - or not - is something Google will decide on. But, given time, they may actually even approve gimmicks like that.

longen

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 8:39 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

as well as drawing any undue attention to the ads.

The point is - all the gimmicks allowed in the TOS such as colors, borders, blending in - don't draw undue attention to the ads - otherwise we would all easily have very high CTR.
Anything else, such as a hand pointing, does - so must be disallowed.

AdSenseAdvisor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 9:17 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

sallam -

To confirm, using an image of a hand to point to your Google ads is prohibited by the AdSense ToS. As several people have mentioned, this technique would draw undue attention to the ads in order to encourage clicks, therefore causing inflation to advertiser costs.

Protecting the interests of advertisers benefits publishers as well, as it makes advertising on your sites more valuable to the advertiser.

-ASA

activeco

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 9:30 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Brett?

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 10:02 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

the plot thickens...

Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 10:05 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

> To confirm, using an image of a hand to
> point to your Google ads is prohibited by the AdSense ToS.

Depends on how close they are - there are many ways it could be done. It is almost worth building a set of test pages ;-), but then again...

Visi

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 10:06 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Glad to see you have joined the party adsense advisor. Now for the tougher issues that have beem brought forward in the thread. What defines undue attention?

Placing ads in the middle of text without borders although not drawing attention does just the opposite in "hiding the ads". Think that some comments on this thread seem to indicate that highlighting ads as "ads" is a morally better practice then decieving the visitor?

The definition of undue attention including the rotating color palletes, placing ads in the prominent positions of the heat map etc are designed to draw attention, reducing the typical ad blindness. (apparently just not defined as undue attention:))

Where is the "fine' line here? and does Google ban accounts if that line is stepped over or bent slightly. It is the nature of webmasters to find ways to increase the CTR through a variety of means and having a grey defining line is always an issue.

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 10:18 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

there are many ways it could be done.

Do it like a series of the old Burma Shave signs where the visitor only sees a part of the pleas to "CLICK THE ADS" as they navigate your site

A nice multipage campaign like:

MSG #1: If you like our site, let us know.

MSG #2: Servers cost us lots of dough.

MSG #3: Aim your mouse at the circular in the house.

MSG #4: Burma Shave

[edited by: incrediBILL at 10:18 pm (utc) on Aug. 26, 2005]

activeco

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 10:18 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

As several people have mentioned, this technique would draw undue attention to the ads in order to encourage clicks, therefore causing inflation to advertiser costs.

ASA,

From the Google's standpoint, that is pretty clear.
But, when you think of it, some questions arise.
Aside from (kind of) begging visitors to just click the ads, have you guys ever done an actual research that pure DRAWING ATTENTION to the ads, makes conversions lower?
Those flashing borders, pointing fingers, etc. while obviously against TOS, are they necessarily bad thing?
Do they really damage advertisers?

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 11:00 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Or how about mixing yoru adsense colors from page to page so that people don't realize that is a new ad.

Hits a little to close to home eh? (eg: I just decribed your site as coded EFV)

Brett, you've got it backwards. The rotating color palette shows that the ad on each page is a new ad. In fact, that's the point of it: to reduce "ad blindness" by users who assume the ads on every page are identical.

It makes no sense at all to equate ads that have rotating color backgrounds (which clearly are ads) with blended-in ads (which are more likely to result in inadvertent clicks by users with poor judgment or bad eyesight, thereby wasting the advertiser's money).

You TOS wielders want to do something other than try to beat people over the head and scare them out of the program with the TOS?

Who's trying to scare anyone out of the program? We're trying to help members stay in the program. (Unlike you, who at least once has told members to click on their own ads since "the ads are yours.")

longen

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 11:24 am on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

blended-in ads (which are more likely to result in inadvertent clicks by users with poor judgment or bad eyesight, thereby wasting the advertiser's money).

It isn't always wasted money for the advertiser - the user might like what they find, or they might bookmark the site for later - however the user arrived on the site its up to the advertiser to sell the product.
How often have you come back from the stores with items you hadn't planned in advance to buy:)

ownerrim

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 1:13 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

What if you carry adsense and your site specializes in downloads of "pointing hand animated gifs"? j/k

I would never use a hand gif or any other type of non-adsense-sanctioned technique (rotating color palettes are obviously sanctioned) simply for this reason: In the event that I got one of "those" emails from google, I would want to be on very firm and very defensible ground.

Having said that, though, I see Bretts' point: there is fundamentally little difference between a hand or a rotating color palette. Both have the intent of drawing attention to an ad. The only difference is that one method is sanctioned and one is not. Removing ad borders and trying to make them look like part of a site's content...let's be honest, that's just sneaky.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 2:20 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

The only difference is that one method is sanctioned and one is not.

And that's the answer to the question that started this thread, "Is it ok to use image of hand pointing at AdSense?"

Webwork

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 3:37 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Why work so hard (to get yourself kicked out) when there's a much easier, likely more effective, and apparently acceptable method to draw unnatural attention to your AdSense ads within the TOS?

Who hasn't seen - repeatedly (so it must be withing the TOS) webpages where the only noteworthy "content" - the only text that appears above the fold - is AdSense?

Nice, big, wide, visually interesting AdSense blocks, nicely melded (no border) to the page, typically surrounded by a dull logo, some generic navigation and maybe a H1 page title. If I'm a visitor I'm thinking "There's nothing here but this text and some links. Click. I'm otta here."

Who needs pointing hands to draw attention to AdSense when you can design according to the acceptable standard of NBAAF: Nothing but AdSense Above the Fold?

"Naturally", further down the screen, only after you scroll, do you see the remaining dreck or content or whatever you call it.

Somebody tell me what is natural in this?

AdSense needs a much more serious design school. Maybe a series of "example pages" of acceptable and unacceptable design.

I'd start with a page that has nothing of any significant interest above the fold besides AdSense.

Somtimes, what you can't quite do with words, you can do with pictures or examples. "If your page resembles this page its unacceptable and you will be subject to a warning or death by email."

Maybe it's time for financial penalties or fines for violating the TCU? Heck, I can get a fine for speeding, for keeping a library book out too long, for being late with a debt payment. Why not a series of escalating penalties for violations? 1st a warning if not a serious violation. Second a 5 day suspension. Third . . . but that's all an entirely different - but not entirely unrelated - conversation.

hyperkik

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 6:00 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

there is fundamentally little difference between a hand or a rotating color palette.

I think that the "little difference" argument conflates two separate issues - on-page elements which draw undue attention to the ads, and differences between pages. I think it is much more difficult to raise an "undue attention" argument where you have to look at two separate pages. (Incentives to click, on the other hand....)

You could also argue that Google's service of different ads to different pages draws attention to the ads, just like its serving different color schemes set by a publisher. Personally, I have about the same CTR for each color scheme I use, and the places where I don't rotate the color don't seem to have any drop-offs in clicks so... as with every other aspect of the program, what works in one context may not work in another.

Removing ad borders and trying to make them look like part of a site's content...let's be honest, that's just sneaky.

And there, I wonder what Google is thinking. Or, more accurately, I understand what Google is thinking (it generates more clicks on most sites, as confirmed by many people who have posted here) but wonder if they detract from the long-term credibility of their program. But then, they allow AdSense on 'scraper sites', computer-generated sites which stuff keywords into a generic and rather meaningless block of text, "public domain articles" sites which are unique only in their name and navigation, and on low-content sites where the three ad units completely overwhelm the sentence or two of "unique content" on any given page.

So yes, at a certain point, their "undue attention" and "made for AdSense" rules become judgment calls, and for their own internal reasons they are seemingly more restrictive on "undue attention" than on what constitutes a "made for AdSense" site.

AdSenseAdvisor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 4:35 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

It might be easier to define ‘natural’ attention, which is when an ad is interesting enough on its own merit to attract user attention and generate a click. When a user clicks because something in the ad headline catches the eye and makes him/her want to read more, it is considered 'natural' interest. This user is genuinely interested in the ad content.

However, if a flashing graphic of a hand directs attention to the ads, the clicks that result may not stem from natural interest. Users may simply be following perceived instructions when they click on ads in such circumstances.

Advertisers pay each time someone clicks on an ad, and they want to attract users who are genuinely interested in the topics they advertise. On a micro level, you should keep in mind that if advertising on your site is valuable to an advertiser, it will mostly likely benefit you as well. If you apply this logic on a macro level, you’ll see why protecting the interests of advertisers is important to the AdSense program as a whole.

ASA

ownerrim

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 4:41 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

"However, if a flashing graphic of a hand directs attention to the ads, the clicks that result may not stem from natural interest. Users may simply be following perceived instructions when they click on ads in such circumstances."

Excellent distinction. I guess even when it comes to ads blended with content and the borders removed, the user's motivation to click will still be natural, versus having a hand gif that unnaturally draws the user's attention. The hand image seems to place a directive in the user's mind (Lotorg commands you to click here whitless fools!)

However, I wonder about images placed close to adsense blocks. Seems a little grey there.

activeco

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 7:36 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

ASA:
However, if a flashing graphic of a hand directs attention to the ads, the clicks that result may not stem from natural interest. Users may simply be following perceived instructions when they click on ads in such circumstances.

Reminds me on the media role in shaping of "public opinions".

Anyway, I fully support the policy of protecting advertisers and the integrity of the system as a whole, but I would still like to know if you ever made any research about it.

In the very begin of this thread I was naturally against such subliminal influences and still am for the most part, but more you think about it, you realize there are some boundaries which possibly could be overlapped.
After all, what is wrong with drawing attention to the ads?
Again, I am not talking about "forced click" just for click's sake. No, it is right about making visitor AWARE of the ads, so he could still self decide if he finds it interesting enough for a visit.
Indeed, what is the difference between Google's heat map and a pointing hand if the ads are positioned in the "cold" areas?

Bad design and ugly page? Sure. But if conversions are the same do you think advertisers care about it?
Do you think radio or TV ads should be less aggressive?
One thing for sure: Without serious research, common sense could probably not give the right answers.

jomaxx

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jomaxx us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 7:59 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

The only research that needs to be done is whether advertisers like it or believe that it's causing their money to be wasted. The answer is almost certainly the latter.

activeco

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 8:16 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

The only research that needs to be done is whether advertisers like it or believe that it's causing their money to be wasted. The answer is almost certainly the latter.

No Jomaxx.
Any serious marketer does not do what he like, but what he knows for sure that brings money in, of course staying in legal and ethical boundaries.

jomaxx

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jomaxx us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 8:47 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

But it's not up to Google to do this sort of analysis and then impose its will on its advertisers, allowing this kind of pointing-finger nonsense networkwide, even if advertisers in general feel ripped off by it.

The advertisers are footing the bill and Google has to keep them happy. I'm sure that if there was an upswell of demand from advertisers for this type of clickthrough, then Google would happily allow it.

activeco

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 9:03 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

But it's not up to Google to do this sort of analysis and then impose its will on its advertisers, allowing this kind of pointing-finger nonsense networkwide, even if advertisers in general feel ripped off by it.

Nobody said anything about imposing things.
It is about whether publisher may use some "technique" and if not - why not.
Advertisers have always the choice to remove publishers they don't want to advertise on.

Atomic

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8932 posted 9:08 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've some graphics a bit sneakier than a blinking hand. One site had an image to the right of a large rectangle of a man peaking around a corner at something to the left which happened to be ads. Above the ads was text saying something like: Interested in finding out about widgets?

And that was all that was on the page. I keep wondering how long until I see a page that's nothing but AdSense units and an H1 tag that says "Clicking links makes Jesus happy" and then maybe just enough content below it to qualify as a page with content.

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