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Google AdSense Forum

This 43 message thread spans 2 pages: 43 ( [1] 2 > >     
adsense that looks like site link (confuse users)
adsense that perhaps violate google TOS

 2:28 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)
hi, sometimes, i encounter site that put google adsense like their site link, thus confusing, i even accidentally click on the ads which i thought that is site link.

wonder if this type of "technique" allowed or not? should we report to google or not this type of web (which sort of like stealing google money and cheating users to click on it)

ps: pm me if u wanna get a feel how the site i mentioned.


Alternative Future

 2:43 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is this not called AdSense Optimization, here is a quote from their tips page:

You may find that colors that stand out without overshadowing your content are better for your site than colors that blend in so well, the ads are practically invisible. However, you may find that colors that blend in completely perform better. However you choose your color palettes, make sure that it complements the color scheme of the page...



 2:54 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am all for blending the ads but there are some sites which just have lists of links that look like google links with the same style

Google Links
Site Links
Google Links
Site Links


which sounds like the original poster is describing. Those are annoying.


 2:56 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

amazing how people just wana report and snitch on people..like you guys get commssion for it.just worry about your own site..i see some people get a hardon when they find something to report to google. like if you do it enough you'll be on there good list and they will give you free money or something..it just amazes me i thought people here would be helping one another and when they see something wrong on there site would let them know and give them advice..but all i hear is i reported him and shush secret this..were all supposed to be on the same side here..


 2:58 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I guess the idea of the OP is that there may be a thin line between "blending in" and "tricking visitors". If you feel it is the latter, you could certainly report it to G. (If nothing happens, they probably think that it is within the TOS.)


 2:59 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Client Software

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. 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.

do i understand that wrongly?


 3:11 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't think Google minds this.

Advertisers are likely to be less charitable, since the practice of making AdSense ads look like navigation links steals money from their pockets.


 3:11 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

G would have an interesting time enforcing this, presuming that the G code was not modified and is not being published against other parts of the agreement -

Web pages displaying our ads, search box, or search results may not [...] redirect users to unwanted websites, [...].

The ads are sent by Google. There are no controls for the publisher to validate links (yes there are some broad controls) that may redirect users to "unwanted" web sites. The word "unwanted" is so subjective it would be impossible not just for the publisher, but Google to define.

This reminds me of what is SPAM today. Any e-mail I don't like can be declared SPAM. I might like the e-mail today, but tomorrow if you upset me, I will call your ISP and say you are spamming me - and potentially terminate your contract.

So if an advertisement that was selected by Google for the publisher to display takes the visitor to an "unwanted" web site, the publisher is liable for that?

There is a bit of truth in what lightning2004 saying...


 3:21 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't see any problem, especially with link units.

1) The link choices are very topic specific. A person doesn't click unless it is what they are looking for.

2) Clicking a link unit topic gives you a selection of on topic ads to choose from. No blending those ads in. They are clearly ads and any user knows they are being taken off site if they click.

3) Clicking a link costs advertisers nothing, the link is not an ad. It just gives them some ads to choose from.

(Yes I often blend my ads and link units in, and in some cases they are immediately above or below navigation links.)



 3:33 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

hi lightning2004
i don't mean to report people, but if that is something "not correct", maybe i would inform the web administrator first.

i put a sample of their tricks in png,

http://img411.imageshack.us/img411/5715/image26ro.th.png [img411.imageshack.us]

[edited by: masterkongfu at 3:39 pm (utc) on Oct. 14, 2005]


 3:38 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Before you're tempted to try this approach, give some thought to what you're trying to accomplish with your site and your AdSense account.

- Are you trying to make a quick buck while you can, instead of building a site that will generate income month after month, year after year?

- If your site ever gets a manual review by Google for any reason (such as a "clickbot attack" or other invalid clicks), will the disguised ads make the reviewer more skeptical about your site?

- Will other Webmasters, directory editors, etc. be less likely to link to your site when they see AdSense ads disguised as navigation links?

- Will advertisers be less likely to buy site-targeted CPM ads on your site if they see ads disguised as navigation links?

- Are you willing to sacrifice repeat visits by users who feel they've been tricked (or that you're trying to trick them) with deceptive ads?

- Are you willing to risk the possibility that your EPC, eCPM, and total revenues will drop when Google's smart pricing catches up with you (since your clicks will be converting at a low rate)?

If the answer to these questions is "yes," then maybe it makes sense (at least from a cynical, shortsighted point of view) to do whatever you can get away with for as long as you can. But if you aren't in the business of creating disposable sites, you may want to exercise self-restraint and think about providing an online experience that doesn't annoy users and cheat advertisers.


 3:47 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

well, i personally think this is bad and must be avoid practice.

take a look on this pic

the black color words, "Ads by Google" would make u think like that is highlighed words on current page. so u would think Blog Searcher, Blog Service, Blog Directory and Online Blog is site links.

i was tricked and click on the ads.. lol. how bout u?


 3:48 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not true.

I was surfing a java scripts site yesterday and the content was arranged down the page with lines separating each topic. Basically making big blocks. On the left side but inside the block was the terms and conditions of using the scripts. They said "these scripts" and on the right, in the block, was a small 4 ad box of Google advertising Js scripts. I glanced at it and clicked. when Google opened up I back clicked back to the site and yep, it was an adsense block.

That was highly deceptive and wasted a click as I did not pick a site from google's list. I don't like deceptive practices but No, I did not report it.

I would have felt bad about it since I went there looking for a free script.

Looking over the site it appeared squeaky clean other than that so I passed it on by.



 5:08 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here we go again...

You-all (EFV too) sound like we are cheating the visitor or something.

As I've said before, If I bring visitors to my site for a specific topic and visitors see links on a page, whether mine or G's, then the advertiser should be happy if a visitor clicks on the ad when the ad is on topic. Afterall, my visitors are looking for gold plated widgets and if you were selling gold plated widgets then wouldn't you want the visitor to click on your ad whether they thought it was an ad link or not?

It is the advertisers problem if the user is disappointed when they get to the landing page - not my problem.

Blending G ads with site links is perfectly acceptable - I've asked and have been told so by G. Also have had a site review for optimization with no comments about blending.

And, don't send me a friendly email - I won't be friendly back.


 5:14 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Maybe it's just me but masterkongfu's example does not seem particularly deceptive. If G$ felt it was deceptive to color match the box and background they wouldn't offer the option.

It does appear to be a "Made for Adsense" site however which would probably get it banned eventually for an entirely different reason.



 5:17 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I thought that the primary purpose of horizontal ad links, as shown in the .gif file linked above, was to create links that looked like site navigation. With adlinks, the initial click costs the advertiser nothing, and ideally the visitor won't click an ad unless they like what they see.

I can't imagine that a site which cared about user experience would try to inspire confusion between navigation links and ad links; but you don't have to look very hard to find AdSense ads where the user experience is the last thing on the webmaster's mind.


 5:24 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Deceptive is subjective.

I don't see a problem with either practice -

If the "Ads by Google" isn't enough of a clue that they're about to click on something other than site navigation then let the fool and his money soon be parted.

Blending in ads is encouraged by Google themselves!

The harder it is to determine ads from content the more likely some schmuck is to read it and perhaps click on it. They even practice a similar approach in the newspaper called "edvertorial" - an ad that looks like editorial content.

Blend and be happy, make lot's of money, have a beer.


 5:31 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am with Sailor and Bill and apparently so is Google..In there blog on the link belwo they state:

4. Use horizontal link units
Link units offer a wider range of relevant topics for users to browse. A horizontal unit can be placed near the top of your forum just below the header.



 5:40 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

It is the advertisers problem if the user is disappointed when they get to the landing page - not my problem.

Just the other day you complained about being hit hard by smart pricing. You don't see a connection between these 2 issues?


 5:48 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hard hit?

Ya, I get hard hit every other week. Then it comes back. But I love the smart pricing on Adwords side. Can't beat 6,000 visitors for 3.8 cents each.

And, I've been getting hard hit by smart pricing since it started and I'm crying all the way to the bank - it will be in Florida this winter.


 5:51 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

You-all (EFV too) sound like we are cheating the visitor or something.

You're merely annoying the visitor. It's the advertisers who are being cheated.

if you were selling gold plated widgets then wouldn't you want the visitor to click on your ad whether they thought it was an ad link or not?

Why don't you ask that question on the AdWords forum and see what the general opinion is?


 6:03 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Adwords forum?

I don't need to ask there. I spend $600 a day on adwords and don't need to ask anybody for permission/opinions for anything (except big G).

And, that wasn't a question it was a rethorical statement

[edited by: sailorjwd at 6:05 pm (utc) on Oct. 14, 2005]


 6:04 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

You're merely annoying the visitor. It's the advertisers who are being cheated.

As far as ADLINKS your comment is WAY off base as there is no cost to the advertiser clicking the first navigational link. When they land on Google's page full of ads all bets are off at that point.

Also, you only annoy the visitor if the visitor is too stupid to miss "ads by google" which is really hard to miss unless you have cataracts or tunnel vision.

I've never mistaken ads for content but I have been tricked into READING the ads, which didn't upset me at all. Besides, when I'm looking for something, if the ad claims they have what I'm looking for then it's fair game if I click on the link. If the advertiser didn't want me to click on the link he wouldn't claim to have what I'm looking for in the first place!

It's all fair game when played fairly, and blending is a fair game IMO that just gets visitors to read the ads. What visitors do with that information after reading it is between them and the advertiser.


 6:08 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

As an Adwords advertiser, I prefer a 6% conversion rate on 10,000 visitors every day over a 12% conversion rate on only 1,000 visitors per day.

Especially when the cost of the 10,000 visitors is only 10% of the revenue generated by the 6%. It all depends on ROI. Which is ultimately the repsonsibility of the vendor and not the vendee.


 6:24 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Or deeply interested in the subject matter and said subject matter deliberately leads said reader to expect it to be a list of the free scripts available and hurriedly clicks one (suppers on the stove, goota hurry) type of click.

No in that case the advertiser was not cheated but I have that in my do not visit again list.

Annoyed? you bet. I know I am only one person but there are plenty others who would get ticked at the time wasting.

I know I was looking for something free but I have done that before, used it for awhile then purchased the full feature version.

Just one most disgusted visitor....Yawn...



 6:39 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Free scripts...

You may find this strange coming from me but I don't use the word 'free' in any of my adwords ads and specifically use that as a negative keyword. Even though all the detailed coding example on my site are 'free'. More incredible - I think it is inappropriate to drag visitors in with the word 'free'.

I must have a split personality.


 7:10 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree with Sailor on the use of "free"

Anyone chasing that word is less likely to buy IMO.


 7:14 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Message 11 is pretty much on the money -- in more ways than one.

Dont build crap. This is the key. Build sites where the advertiser is going to get a return on investment. Google will benefit, the advertiser will benefit and so will you.

Work your a$$ off and you will always be rewarded. Build sites that you are proud of and I swear you will have more cash than you would ever dreamed of.

Cheats will never prosper on the internet and also in life. I am under 30 but have realised this for a long time.

There is no need to trick anyone ;)


 7:40 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

OK, this thread is drifting off in all sorts of directions.

The topic was about BLENDING ADS CONFUSING USERS, not about what types of web sites to build.

Doesn't matter if the site is crap, evergreen or the encyclopedia online, the issue was whether blended ads confuse the users and I'm on the side that blending just bypasses ad blindness and gives the ad a chance to be read.

If the visitor is still confused, then they have much bigger problems than blended ads and should seek help.


 7:47 pm on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

More specifically, if you're talking about the Google Adlinks, then the two examples that were shown are just about exactly what Google suggests you do with the adlinks for better performance.

The adlinks are clearly labeled "ads by google", and by blending them as google suggested (and as was shown in the screenshots), it gives them the chance to be viewed.

If a user views and clicks on the adlinks, they haven't cost the advertisers one cent yet. The user still has to make a conscious choice to click again once they get to the actual page with ads.

It seems like this would be an ideal situation for an advertiser when you have a user interested in your product or service, that has already been filtered once by seeing their link in an adblock and then after the user has read their ad copy, they specifically selected their link to visit over 4 or 5 other ads and descriptions. Seems like the visitor is already pre-sold at that point.

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