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Advice Needed - Offensive Ads
gpdematteo




msg:3293941
 3:36 am on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I publish a popular widgets site for an educational community. Today, I spotted an ad on my homepage with the title, Widget Chat, suggesting this ad was for a forum that discussed widgets. I looked at the domain, and to my horror, it was a site for phone sex. Unfortunately, a number of educators had spotted the ad and had already sent me rather unfriendly emails.

While Adsense supports my widgets site very generously, my personal reputation is very much connected to the website. I don't want to risk losing my regular visitors but I am dependent on the extra income I receive from Adsense. This particular advertiser is obviously a lowlife who included the word, widget, in the ad to deliberately infiltrate a wholesome market. I think Google needs to monitor fraudulent ads better than it does. Certainly, a human reviewer would have known immediately that there was no connection betwen the widget keyword and the product advertised.

Does anyone know if Google is responsive to concerns like this one? What would you do in this situation? My competitive filter is filled to the brim and takes hours to do its job anyway. I ended up just removing the ads from my site today.

Thanks.

 

eljefe3




msg:3293969
 4:24 am on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Fist thing I'd do is add the site to the excluded filter. Next I would contact adsense.

potentialgeek




msg:3293979
 4:37 am on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Report TOS violation immediately and get the scam artist's AdWords account terminated.

p/g

jomaxx




msg:3294001
 5:33 am on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sex ads shown to kids? Google is based in the USA, where there is nothing more abominable than this. There's a schoolteacher in the US about to go to jail simply for having spyware on her computer that popped up adult ads.

Google will do something, you better believe it.

ann




msg:3294262
 12:35 pm on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

When you put it in the filter did you flush your browser cache?

By all means report it to Google--they will act on something like that.

Hobbs




msg:3294294
 1:01 pm on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Side note:
And does not Google have the ability to detect, filter out, auto ban the word "sex" in title of Adwords text?

I have seen many times the words [country name sex] as a tilte for those "chat" services on my site.

{added many minutes later}
And for sure the contextual system can detect if the word is being used in a medical context.

[edited by: Hobbs at 1:22 pm (utc) on Mar. 27, 2007]

gpdematteo




msg:3294342
 1:46 pm on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks to everyone for the advice.

I will report the domain to Google and let you know what happens as soon I as hear from them.

ann




msg:3294545
 5:41 pm on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well, They are probably too busy to help out in that manner...guess we have to fend for ourselves in some situations...in others they do try, I think, a little bit, maybe?

Meanwhile...back to the dance of the filters. :-)

Ann

gpdematteo




msg:3295598
 6:11 pm on Mar 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have an update.

I received a response today that essentially said that the matter is being forwarded to a "team of specialists for further investigation".

I believe they are going to look into the advertisers keyword and how it was linked to "widgets".

There's no assurance, of course, that a similar ad won't appear on any of our sites in the future, but at least it was brought to their attention.

I think I just have to decide if the risk is worth the reward and if the answer is yes, I'll have to be extra vigilant about checking the pages on my site.

Thanks for the replies.

m0thman




msg:3295833
 10:56 pm on Mar 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Stock response that one.. Just an acknowledgement of your report really.

farmboy




msg:3295972
 3:24 am on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sex ads shown to kids?

Is this a site for children or a site for educators?

FarmBoy

[edited by: farmboy at 3:37 am (utc) on Mar. 29, 2007]

farmboy




msg:3295974
 3:31 am on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

While Adsense supports my widgets site very generously, my personal reputation is very much connected to the website.

We all face this to some degree.

Put up a site for the widgets industry and you'll see ads for "Best Widgets Sites" which leads to a page full of links & ads. You'll worry this makes your visitors frustrated.

On a larger scale, a lot of us worry, to some extent, that a lot of this type thing will make people overall reluctant to click on AdSense ads.

Google doesn't seem to share that concern. Maybe they know something we don't.

(P.S. I could throw in something about all the recent news in the US and UK about teacher-student sex incidents and maybe this ad was very well targeted, but people would probably not appreciate the humor)

FarmBoy

gpdematteo




msg:3296382
 2:42 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Farmboy,

The site would primarily be considered a children's site but teachers and parents use it as an instructional aid.

I know Adsense is not well suited for children's sites but it's the only revenue model that's ever worked. I wonder how other publishers handle these incidents since most sites for children are ad supported.

netmeg




msg:3296504
 4:34 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

I just block them if they show up. I have a site that is not specifically child-oriented, but it is family event oriented, and I know there's a lot of kids who come and visit it. I never got any really explicit ads on it, but I did get some ads for themed dating sites that really didn't belong in that environment, so I blocked those.

That's the reason I wish we could block things on a per-site basis - those same ads would be perfectly acceptable for other sites of mine, but I don't want them on the one, so I have to block them for them all.

fredw




msg:3296548
 5:15 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

The problem with blocking something like this is that blocking doesn't take effect right away. I had a similar thing about a year ago, a really offensive ad on a site that lots of kids visit. I blocked it, notified G of the advertiser, but also had to remove ads from that site for about two days until the block took effect and/or G got around to kicking them.

farmboy




msg:3296558
 5:24 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

...but I did get some ads for themed dating sites that really didn't belong in that environment, so I blocked those.

I think what you're saying is you saw some ads that really didn't belong in that environment. None of us really know what ads others are seeing on our sites.

To put it another way, just because we block some ads we don't like and don't see them anymore, that doesn't mean other people aren't seeing ads on our sites we had rather not appear.

FarmBoy

farmboy




msg:3296561
 5:29 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

I know Adsense is not well suited for children's sites but it's the only revenue model that's ever worked. I wonder how other publishers handle these incidents since most sites for children are ad supported.

Other possibilities include:

1. Selling ads direct to acceptable advertisers
2. Selling your own products
3. Promoting appropriate affiliate programs

If non-AdSense revenue models won't work on your site, you're really in one of those "eggs all in one basket" situations. I'd keep working on other revenue models regardless of how AdSense performs.

FarmBoy

creepychris




msg:3296563
 5:30 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

The real problem with this is that you don't even know all of the advertisers on your site, so if your site is really for children, i don't think adsense is an appropriate way to monetize it.

Yes, it is the only thing that works. I also have several education sites but this is precisely the reason that I cater to teachers and not their students.

I'm sorry but as long as you run asdense and your site is primarily for children, you are exposing them to all sorts of potential risks.

Google will serve different ads based on time of day and geolocation. You simply cannot monitor all of the ads.

I have had the same problem as you with an irate e-mail or two and when it happens I do the following;

(1) Thank the e-mailer.
(2) Explain that my site is intended for adult teachers (not students)
(3) And explain how the ad got there in the first place.
(4) Say I will try to filter the ad.
(5) Thank them again for pointing this out.

Reputation is important in this sector and teachers tend to be more moralistic than others.

netmeg




msg:3296579
 5:43 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think what you're saying is you saw some ads that really didn't belong in that environment. None of us really know what ads others are seeing on our sites.

True. If nobody else saw it, then all the better. Still doesn't hurt to filter them out. (Back then it didn't seem to take so long for the filter to kick in - it was an hour or two, instead of a day or two like it is now)

gpdematteo




msg:3296656
 7:05 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm sorry but as long as you run asdense and your site is primarily for children, you are exposing them to all sorts of potential risks. Reputation is important in this sector and teachers tend to be more moralistic than others.

You are absolutely right on both counts. I naively assumed that a site that focused entirely on widgets would get only widget related ads which no one would expect to be offensive. I now know better. And, yes, teachers in general are incredibly moralistic. They don't even want to see ads for things that present a different view of the world than their own - religion, etc.

The real problem, however, is the fact that Google does not sufficiently monitor its AdWords program. An advertiser was permitted to link a sex site to a keyword that everyone knows is connected with education and, most often, children.

People who run sites that attract children should be able to be compensated for their work like anyone else. Affiliate programs only work if your visitors are buying. I do run a few affiliate programs on the site but the income amounts to less than 2% of my Adsense income. Teachers are looking for free content, downloads, and printouts. They are not likely to make purchases. This is not a put down - I am a teacher, myself, and know this group well.

There are a lot of sites created for children and families that cover many different sectors. I think the AdWords program needs to recognize this and perhaps allow those sites to opt in to an advertising network that is more stringent in its policies. I wouldn't be surprised if there are sites that stay away from Adsense because of the lack of control over the type of ads that show up. Websites serving this demographic would be able to get paid for their work and Google would get even more revenue from hundreds of new sites.

inactivist




msg:3296989
 3:06 am on Mar 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

My experience is that Google is very responsive. Give them all the info you have, tell them what happened, they *will* fix the problem, and they won't hold it against you.

I have a family site with pages about my kids' 4h activities (small animals), and a very "mature" product ad (sex toy) showed up on the page, we got visitor complaints, I contacted google after adding the offending site to my competitive filter list - google responded relatively quickly (compared to their usual canned responses), apologized, confirmed that it was indeed not supposed to happen, promised to investigate, and, as far as I can tell, they made sure it never happened again. (this was over a year ago).

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