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Google AdSense Guidelines: Now Dislikes Blending Ads Like Your Content
lots of sites are going to get warnings....
nippi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 4:43 am on Mar 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

1. Ads shouldn't be placed under a title or section heading in a way that implies that the ads are not ads.

2. Ads should be easily distinguishable from surrounding content.

[adsense.blogspot.com...]

[edited by: engine at 4:23 pm (utc) on Mar. 28, 2008]
[edit reason] added quote and permalink [/edit]

 

Juan_G

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 4:10 pm on Mar 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google's latest stand is that G links should not be the same color as regular links on a site.

Not at all. We should read Support's complete sentences [adsense.blogspot.com] -not just one or two words- and also we should look at the accompanying images. They write there about a specific situation where Google ads look almost exactly like a group of site links mixed with the ads.

You know, most of the time we as web surfers do not read, we just scan pages in very few seconds. Let those without sin cast the first stone. ;)

Again, look at Google's search result pages: Ads and search results have the same link color, but they are distinguishable by a border or a different background color, because otherwise they look very similar.

Of course, since that's only a specific case, it seems that borders and different colors are still unnecessary in other cases where the site content -articles, etc.- is clearly different from ads.

[edited by: Juan_G at 4:15 pm (utc) on Mar. 30, 2008]

purplecape

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 4:46 pm on Mar 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

rickhz and others--I second Juan_G's comment. You aren't reading carefully.

One last time, because I'm getting tired of trying to explain this to people who aren't reading:

Blending is using your site's color scheme (or close to it) in your AdSense blocks.

Doing MORE than that, to the extent that the ads can be confused with content--such as by slipping them into the navigation links, choosing a font type and size for your pages that matches what the ads use--is not blending and is deceptive.

Google has not changed their guidelines. They have clarified them. If you have now realized that you interpreted Google's policies wishfully rather than realistically, then you need to get to work.

zeus

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



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 8:57 pm on Mar 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

europeforvisitors - Im not sure I explained it right, in the book or what you will call it which I got from Google it says its a good Idea to have same color as background and upper left bla bla, Im not 100%, I have trashed the book, I got last year.

drall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 11:24 pm on Mar 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

I smell a very big spring cleaning soon for those crossing the line which is probably 70% of the sites that I see adsense on.

kamikaze Optimizer

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 12:08 am on Mar 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

I smell a very big spring cleaning soon for those crossing the line which is probably 70% of the sites that I see adsense on.

I am not sure that number is 70% for me, but I can see a spring cleaning coming also, and hopefully soon which should make for more inventory for true publishers.

As I said on page two, it seems that most of the sites crossing the lines here are also the sites that scrap RSS feeds and do not have any original content; certainly no content of any value.

Scurramunga

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 12:22 am on Mar 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hip hip Hooray

vero

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 5:10 pm on Mar 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

True, there may be adsense webmasters who blend too much.

But...

if Google really is REALLY serious about stopping deception, it should stop its domain parking program. If any of us created a site with nothing but ads, using regular adsense code, Google would likely terminate the account. But do it through their domain parking program, and it's OK.

Scurramunga

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 9:02 pm on Mar 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

if Google really is REALLY serious about stopping deception, it should stop its domain parking program.

And...

the Adwords team would stop dodgy advertisers from pretending to advertise giveaways just to trick visitors into landing on their stupid MFA pages.

MikeNoLastName

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 1:23 am on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I for one, do NOT think this is a NON-issue. First off I wish G would stop making constant CHANGES in what they want, it's very time consuming to make constant changes. Like someone else inferred, if G wants things different, let THEM make the changes. Previous nitpicking has already greatly influenced us to shift to other monetizing methods such as affiliations (which are making us 10 times prior Adsense rates) to the point that we now send half as much traffic to Adsense as we did 18 months ago. Second, non-premium publishers have NO CHOICE other than to emmulate other publishers (premium or not) in order to keep on a par with earnings. Until G consistently polices the MFA Adwords advertisers and Arbitragers competing with us for clicks from our own Adsense ads, we HAVE to be able to use similar tactics to compete. Just as contextual advertising replaced banners because visitors started ignoring them, if a publisher is not allowed to follow the lead of others on a LEVEL playing field with the SAME rules, then one might as well look elsewhere for Adsense alternatives like we sucessfully did. We should start a new forum of "Adsense Defectors Success Stories - Life BEYOND Adsense."

purplecape

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 1:37 am on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Mike, that would be a very interesting thread. Why don't you start it? I am still very dependent on AdSense and it would be great to hear how others have moved on.

Romeo

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 11:56 am on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

hmm, there is lot of discussion here if this detail or that tweak may formally adhere to a subsection of some GOO guidelines or not.

Don't you have any own guidelines, like a quality guideline which perhaps may even be influenced by an old and oldfashioned journalistic publishing guideline, that content and ads should be strictly separated?

it is DECEPTIVE and I lose 99% of the respect when sites try to trick me into clicking an ad ...

Yes, it is, definitely.

But hey, there are two types of webmasters out there on the net, those who provide quality content, and those who make the MFAs. Oh well ...

makpie

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 12:39 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I thing you should all read carefully the adsense blog once again and read also what farmboy #:3614235 posted. There is a lot of misunderstanding here. Where is the word blending here?
"Similarly, you should not place an ad unit by a group of links that has identical colors and line spacing. Doing so may cause users to think the ad unit is content created by you. In this situation, we recommend using a different color for the ad titles or indenting the ad unit to help distinguish the ads from your own content. This screenshot shows an implementation that does not follow this guideline:"

It is as clear as that, also the first warning can be easily change by just moving your adsense blocks who are under your title.I understand that Google must give some time because webmasters that use html that might take some time until they do the job, for the ones that use PHP its a matter of a few minutes.

Finally a question, what about if you use image instead of text?

farmboy

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



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 2:19 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I for one, do NOT think this is a NON-issue. First off I wish G would stop making constant CHANGES in what they want,...

In the OP of this thread an AdSense blog post is linked and it references two very specific examples/reminders of what publishers shouldn't do.

Which of the two is a change?

FarmBoy

farmboy

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



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 2:31 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Finally a question, what about if you use image instead of text?

I think the point is not to use a title, whether image or text, that may lead visitors to believe the title refers to the AdSense ads below, beside, etc.

I understand that Google must give some time because webmasters that use html that might take some time until they do the job...

In the Fall of 2003, just a few months after AdSense started, they sent me an email because I had the word "Resources" above a column that contained some links and an AdSense unit. They included a link to their policy that if a title was used above AdSense ads it had to read "Sponsored Links" or whatever the terminology they require. I simply removed the title completely and haven't put any titles above AdSense units since - allowed titles or otherwise.

My point is this isn't a change and anyone with a title other than what Google allows is in violation of longstanding policy. If I were in that position, I wouldn't expect Google to give me time, I'd be working night and day to make the changes, assuming I wanted to stay with AdSense.

FarmBoy

ann

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



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 2:41 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I really don't see any of this as a change in policy but rather a clarification.

Things such as putting images so close to ads as to mislead visitors and create invalid clicks has been discussed in here and elsewhere to no end. The situation created by those who would push the envelope just to make a few extra cents only to get warned or banned...that's just one but there are many others so I feel it is to clear up these issues and not to create new policy.

just my 2 pennies worth,

Ann

ken_b

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



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 2:51 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Which of the two is a change?

I'd say things have changed.

The last advice I got from the Optimzation team, (and which I DID NOT implement) was in Dec 2007. That advice was to structure my layout like this on a major section of my site ....

My Page Section Title
Fully blended adblock - 250x250
Another Fully blended adblock - 300x250
My content.

This was above the fold, immediately under the site nav bar, and would have pushed all but a couple lines, at best, of any real content down below the fold on most screens.

Anyone think that's still a good idea?

As I said before, I hope they pass the message along to the optimization team.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 3:17 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Anyone think that's still a good idea?

I never thought that was a good idea.

As a publisher, you're ultimately responsible for the quality of your site. If you let greed get in the way of good judgment, blaming the consequences on bad advice is a waste of breath.

"But [Insert name here] told me to do it!" reminds me of an old expression: "That's a reason, not an excuse."

ken_b

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



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 3:46 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

"But [Insert name here] told me to do it!" ..

Yeah, fine.

Except that I'm not talking about getting advice from some guy on a webmaster forum.

I'm talking about advice coming directly from Google.

There is a significant difference.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 4:44 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Doesn't matter. You're ultimately responsible for your own site, and if you let greed or ineptitude send you down the wrong path, that's your problem--not Google's.

Moral: Don't let greed get in the way of good judgment.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 4:48 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

What about strongly blended link units?

They are not deceptive in the way that blended ad units are, and they are all clearly labelled ("Ads by Google" at the top for the taller formats, at the left for the one line high formats).

They also do not lead straight to an advertisers site so the advertiser does not pay for traffic tricked to their site, and visitors know what is going on.

Any thoughts (on both Google policy and impact on visitors).

purplecape

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 5:06 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Whether or not "Ads by Google" appears isn't relevant--you see it on adblocks too, but it's still possible to set them up deceptively.

What do you mean by "strongly blended"? Hiding them among your navigation links is clearly not OK. Putting them by themselves in a location where they might be mistaken for navigation links, in the same color etc as your actual nav. links--I'd say that's borderline.....

I wouldn't rely on the extra click needed with adlinks as a safeguard--once someone DOES click on the link, there will be some people who will click on what they see on the next page, even if it's not what they expected. Google is going to expect the same approach with adlinks as with adblocks, IMO.

ArtistMike



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 5:20 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

As long as Google is in the game for the short haul, in it for the short-sighted money, in it for the quick money to prop up their stock, they will keep the money making MFA websites. As soon as the word comes down from the top that they want to get rid of the quick-money and want to stay in this business for the long-haul, the word will come down to the worker-bees at Google and the MFA sites will be gone. As you can see, that has not happened. So what do you think is the word from the top?

Chuckle.

Mike

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 5:34 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

What do you mean by "strongly blended"?

In my case: same colour background and links and in the navigation links, but different font, more indented (Google's suggestion in the blog post that started this discussion) and separated from the navigation below by a small heading.

Once someone DOES click on the link, there will be some people who will click on what they see on the next page, even if it's not what they expected

Now that is an interesting point. I had assumed that people would click the back button (as I would), but I think you are right.

purplecape

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 5:37 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

ArtistMike, frankly, I'd rather be taking a conservative approach than getting my design approach from MFA sites. But to each his own.

graeme_p, that sounds OK to ME, but the only way to know for sure if it's OK with Google is to ask.

ken_b

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



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 6:22 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

posted by ken_b
I'm talking about advice coming directly from Google.

posted by europeforvisitors
Doesn't matter. You're ultimately responsible for your own site, and if you let greed or ineptitude send you down the wrong path, that's your problem--not Google's.

I totally agree we should not let Googles greed and/or ineptitude lead us down the wrong path. Which is why I chose not to follow the advice Google gave me in Dec 2007, as I mentioned earlier.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 6:23 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

purplecape,

just to let you know I on the basis of:

1) your argument,
2) a comment from a regular user of my site (who recommended it to users of the far bigger site he is editor of) describing it as "borderline",
3) thinking about the long term effects of changes like this in the past.

I have decided to change the colour of the link unit to make it clearer that it is not part of the navigation.

ArtistMike



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 9:51 pm on Apr 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'd rather be taking a conservative approach than getting my design approach from MFA sites.
==================================

I have always made my ads stand out. I have never tried to blend them. I want people to click on the ad because they know it is an ad and want to see what the ad leads to. They convert better if they are not tricked.

":^)

Mike

rajivatre

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 7:57 am on Apr 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi Everyboby,
I have been following the forum for quite a long time but never posted on this. So in a way I am new to this forum.
Now about the guidelines issued by google. I feel that if we look carefully at the examples we can easily understand that google is talking about MFAs. Becuase the examples contains sites which do not have any other SUBSTANTIAL contents. So I think if you have legitimate content with few adsense ads you should not worry.
Finally I can say one thing here is that many times we take google far more lightly than they are. Consider this they are managing more than half a million advertisers and more than million publishers. ( My figures may be wrong please correct me.) But what i mean to say is that they know very clearly who is doing what. And they know very clearly whom they want to get rid of. So if you are a publisher with your own content valuable to your site users then i dont think you should worry.
By the way i am from India and I can show many examples of sites who are premium publishers of google where they blend (and I really mean that word) adsense ads in the content so much that even a regular adsense publisher also cannot make out which is content and which is adsense ad.
So may be they have different set of rules for premium publishers.

AdSenseAdvisor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 9:43 am on Apr 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I know some publishers are concerned about the use of the word blending here, i.e. using the background colour of your page as the background and border colour of your ads, and the ad text and links in the same or similar colours as your text. As several publishers have mentioned, blending is permitted. However, as stated in our programme policies, publishers should not rely on deceptive implementation methods to obtain clicks, as in the second scenario on the blogpost [adsense.blogspot.com], where a group of links has identical colours and line spacing to that of the ad unit placed in the middle of them. The key is to never confuse the user into thinking ads are content.

rajivatre

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 10:03 am on Apr 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ok My Point was only that are there different rules for Premium Publishers and normal Publishers for the way ads can be displayed?
Because URLs I mentioned were of surely premium publishers by looking at their ad units.
Will google force "non deceptive ads" (In ASA wording) rule for all?

ArtistMike



 
Msg#: 3612961 posted 10:03 pm on Apr 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

No, Google will not make premium publishers have "non deceptive ads". That is one of the perks of being a premium publisher. Duh.

Mike

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