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Adsense and custom toolbar
KevinD




msg:3624086
 11:08 pm on Apr 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

We have a built a custom IE toolbar to augment our software that
includes a search box linked to our custom Google search engine, such
that it works similar to the search box on Google's toolbar. Is there
any policy reason why we can't use an adsense account in conjunction
with this toolbar?

 

MyNewPC




msg:3624091
 11:12 pm on Apr 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's not allowed. Refer to the Program Policies.

KevinD




msg:3624207
 2:51 am on Apr 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have and I haven't seen anything that would suggest it is not allowed. All it really says is that you can't use software to deceptively create clicks. This would not do that, it would return a results page with ads on it, just like google's toolbar does, and clicks would be generated by actual user clicks, just like the google toolbar. It does state that it cannot be integrated into software, but this is a very gray area, especially since this is adsense for search. I've done a lot of research on this and there doesn't seem to be a clear cut answer. Heck, I even know of one company that offers a revenue sharing program from their toolbar for shareware authors that install it with their programs

MyNewPC




msg:3624213
 3:04 am on Apr 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

A site or third party cannot display our ads, search box, search results, or referral buttons as a result of the actions of any software application such as a toolbar.

To me, that's not gray at all. Since it appears to be to you, email adsense-support@google.com and ask them.

KevinD




msg:3624231
 3:19 am on Apr 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yes, I've seen that and have read a lot of discussion around it. For example, does "their" search results include custom search engines, or does it apply to only google.com search results? Perhaps, perhaps not.

I have sent an email to Google, but as expected they are extremely slow in responding. I've also read responses that other people have received for the same question, all of which were less the useful and basically leaving it up to us to interpret the policy as it's worded. It appears so far that a simple "yes" or "no" is beyond adsense support's ability or desire to provide

Marcia




msg:3624237
 3:43 am on Apr 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>A site or third party cannot display our ads, search box, search results, or referral buttons as a result of the actions of any software application such as a toolbar.

That couldn't be any clearer except by saying "actions of or in conjunction with the use of any software application such as a toolbar." It's actually very clear by implication, but a few extra words would dispel any possible misinterpretations or ambiguity.

>>includes a search box = no way possible, on two fronts: toolbar app and search.

[edited by: Marcia at 3:46 am (utc) on April 11, 2008]

KevinD




msg:3624249
 4:07 am on Apr 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

It just all begs the question that if it is so clear cut why have all responses from Google been so non-committal? I'm anxiously waiting to see their response, if I even get one.

Marcia




msg:3624258
 4:25 am on Apr 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

It just all begs the question that if it is so clear cut why have all responses from Google been so non-committal?

Oh, it is clear cut. But it's kind of understandable why they'd be non-commital and leave things up to the publishers' interpretation for anything that would be too specifically disclosing and authoritative over TOS fine points. Besides, things like this would have to be escalated further up the ladder than first level support.

I've also read responses that other people have received for the same question, all of which were less the useful and basically leaving it up to us to interpret the policy as it's worded.

That takes the responsibility (and risk) out of the support person's hands, and places the responsibility (and risk) on the publisher.

Even if there were any question, which in this case their definitely isn't because the TOS applies specifically enough (toolbar and search can't be clearer), I can't see any CSR taking the risk upon themselves of giving their own interpretation as final and authoritative policy.

It appears so far that a simple "yes" or "no" is beyond adsense support's ability or desire to provide

They're just CSRs, they're not Google's legal counsel.

[edited by: Marcia at 4:38 am (utc) on April 11, 2008]

KevinD




msg:3624701
 4:32 pm on Apr 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well, I finally got a reply, if you can call it that:

"Due to our high email volumes, we're unable to respond personally to this particular message. For this reason, rather than reply to this message, we kindly ask that you read below for more information about invalid clicks."

Real helpful, especially since my question had absolutely nothing to do with invalid clicks... thanks Google, once again you've lived up to my high expectations for customer service. Pathetic.

Marcia




msg:3624726
 5:06 pm on Apr 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

A site or third party cannot display our ads, search box, search results, or referral buttons as a result of the actions of any software application such as a toolbar.

So are clicks generated by clicking on search results as a result of the actions of a toolbar that includes a search box as part that third-party toolbar - aka not on a page - valid clicks or invalid clicks?

dibbern2




msg:3624742
 5:22 pm on Apr 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

I never understand the thinking behind threads where the OP asks a question, gets an answer --in several repetitions-- and then rejects the obvious answers because it doesn't agree with what they want, or wish things would be.

KevinD




msg:3624772
 5:51 pm on Apr 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

"So are clicks generated by clicking on search results as a result of the actions of a toolbar that includes a search box as part that third-party toolbar - aka not on a page - valid clicks or invalid clicks? '

All clicks will be generated by the user. The tool bar only serves to return the search results, nothing more, the same way the Google tool bar works. This has nothing to do with invalid clicks or bots designed to create clicks.

I find it ridiculous that there is no mechanism to ask Google a specific question about a totally legit situation and get a real answer back. This isn't the first time I've had this problem, to the point that in the past I've had to resort to just going ahead and hoping it's ok because the only way to find out for sure is to see if your account is disabled.

MyNewPC




msg:3624803
 6:23 pm on Apr 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have recently had the same experience with AdSense Support as I documented at [webmasterworld.com...]

Regardless, you are simply wasting their time. I fully agree with dibbern2. Further, AdSenseAdvisor, a Google AdSense employee, has undoubtedly read this since he posted on another thread less than an hour ago. His silence on this is for a reason. He's not interested in arguing with you.

You have two options...do it and risk account termination or accept that those who have commented have no problem with accepting the clarity of the Program Policies and give up on your wishes. Enough is enough.

BigDave




msg:3624853
 7:12 pm on Apr 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sure, you can do it, but only if you get special permission from Google as a business partner, not as a regular publisher.

What you are doing right now is looking for loopholes in what is fairly plain language, just because you really want there to be loopholes. But here's the deal, even if there is a loophole in their language, you will lose, because Google is the sole arbiter of whether you get to keep your account or not.

This board is full of posts by people that play it close to the line, looking for loopholes. They are usually folloed up a couple months (weeks, days) later with a post about how the evil google banned their account for no reason.

Google has a less than stellar record with replying to small publisher queries, but I can't blame them for not wasting their time with responses that the TOS are very specific about.

KevinD




msg:3624988
 10:41 pm on Apr 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Contrary to what some on here may believe I'm not looking for loopholes or to cheat the system in any way. All I want is a definitive yes or no, from Google, since this is not 100% clear in their TOS. The answer is less important then getting one. Otherwise it’s a choice of potentially missing revenue (the toolbar is a go ahead, with or without adsense) or proceed with linking it to adsense and hope for the best

As mentioned, this is not the first time I've had problems with Google over adsense. I’ve previously contacted them while with another company to inquire about a site / software combination to see if it was a problem, but never received an answer. In this case we had created a custom kid safe Internet browser that was designed to exclusively use our custom Google search engine that used the Safe Search options to filter content. The software in no way manipulated results or falsified clicks, but only used this page as the homepage. Without any response from Google we went ahead and applied for an adsense account and were approved. Two months later it was disabled with the standard form letter and no response to our inquiries. My personal bet is that it was disabled because the searches, and hence clicks, would have been limited to the users of our software, which at the time would have been a relatively small number of repeat users. I can’t see any other reason since Google could not be aware that visitors were using our browser. It seems like extreme overkill since they basically disabled the account because a number of unrelated visitors repeatedly came back, performed searches, and clicked ads (also, this was adsense for search). The search volume (about 100 per day) and click through rate (about 4%) should have been enough to know this wasn’t fraudulent, unless they really think we planned to get rich on about 40 cents a day

I also love this line on their disabled FAQ page:

“We're always willing to work with you to resolve any issues you may have. If you feel that this decision was made in error, and if you can maintain in good faith that the invalid activity was not due to the actions or negligence of you or those for whom you are responsible, you may appeal the disabling of your account.”

How can you be “always willing to work with someone” if you won’t even respond to their inquiry? Has anyone actually managed to get a response to an appeal besides another form letter (we didn’t even get that much)

touchring




msg:3629766
 4:16 am on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

How about if i differentiate between toolbar and direct site visit? For the toolbar, i omit adsense, for direct site, i include adsense code?

MyNewPC




msg:3629770
 4:25 am on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's not clear what you are asking. Toolbars themselves are not against the rules. Have you read the Program Policies? No sense in re-hashing what has been posted repeatedly on this thread when it's likely a thorough read of the one page Program Policies will answer your question.

Marcia




msg:3629771
 4:30 am on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

If an account using a toolbar was disabled and not reinstated, what basis is there for believing, or even HOPING, that another account using a toolbar won't meet the same fate?

vincevincevince




msg:3629773
 4:34 am on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'll summarise for you: You may have a toolbar, but don't use it to drive traffic to pages monetised by Google.

Marcia




msg:3629781
 5:04 am on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Kevin, your initial question:

Is there any policy reason why we can't use an adsense account in conjunction with this toolbar?

Was answered correctly in the first response you received:

It's not allowed. Refer to the Program Policies.

That may not be what you *want* to hear; but there has not been one single, solitary post in this thread that doesn't concur with that opinion.

Google is unmoveable on TOS, and truly: it does no good to try to stir up the unwashed masses to an outcry of revolt when those masses don't agree with your "cause."

There comes a time when it's best to stop being an injustice collector and face up to the reality that life is not always agreeable to our personal wants, desires and opinions. That's how it is with the reality of life and love on this planet we live on, and we all have to learn to live with the facts of that reality.

MyNewPC




msg:3629782
 5:07 am on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Marcia, your response about a half hour ago didn't make sense to me. Now I realize why. I think you assumed that you were responding to the OP since your last post refers to the OP by name. Note that "touchring" is not the OP.

MyNewPC




msg:3629784
 5:10 am on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

You may have a toolbar, but don't use it to drive traffic to pages monetised by Google.
On what basis are you making that statement?
Marcia




msg:3629785
 5:14 am on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hmmm... so then, why would the "third party" post quoted (which is being confusing) be referring to "how about if I..." in a thread discussing the issue of another person?

Is it a generic issue?

ibagur




msg:3642680
 10:34 am on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi,

Google policies are interpreted in the most arbitrary mode by the Adsense reviewers, so I advice you to play safe and not use the toolbar. Recently we got our account suspended just because of that, an Adsense reviewer told us the use of a toolbar was not allowed. No further explanations.

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