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Google AdSense Forum

This 55 message thread spans 2 pages: 55 ( [1] 2 > >     
AdSense Showing Political Ads

 5:15 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Today on all of my sites I am seeing political ads targeted to my region, regarding a passionately-fought proposition.

I'm torn, because I normally remove ads (like weight-loss, etc.) from my site that aren't about my fan hobby niches, but these ads are for a position I support.

Besides, these ads are obviously region targeted, as I am in Los Angeles and seeing ads for a California proposition. Would filtering it even do any good, as it only makes sense the rest of the country is seeing other ads I do not, and therefore can't filter?

Anyone else seeing these region-targeted political ads on their non-political sites today?



 5:33 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

They're contextual to a demographic instead of contextual to a keyword. I'm getting them too. Political discourse violates my sites terms of use. Because my site attracts people from all walks of life this is going to end up offending someone. Not good.

The Ad Review center is not showing all the political ads being shown on my site. I could only remove one ad. Another ad I saw didn't show up. So I had to disable rich media ads altogether until after the election.


 5:41 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I just saw one political ad and it might have been for California (I'm in Nevada and it sure wasn't one of ours), but the rest are right on target.

I did find several more crappy weight loss ads to filter out.


 5:47 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Demographically targeted? I wonder how they track that. One of my sites is about a 60's rock band, one of my sites is about a recent children's-fiction phenomenom. Both getting the same ads, to what I would think would be completely different demographics.

My political ads are text ads. I also do not see them in the ad review center.

I agree, my sites are not political and these ads are going to piss off one half of my visitors.

My only hope is that most people are in such election overload right now, that they'll totally just ignore the ads that would normally piss them off...


 5:58 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Fred, you can hope. But some people may be offended by an ad pro or against hot button issues that are deeply and personally felt, particularly ads regarding sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and the environment, not just political affiliation. It appears that these ads may be geotargeted, so there may be ads across the country you won't know about. Displaying those ads may be construed as the position your site is taking on those issues.

  • How should webmasters feel if their site visitors believe we approve of and agree with the political ads shown on our sites?

  • Because political issues can be so sensitive, should webmasters be given a way to opt out of them?


 6:58 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Because political issues can be so sensitive, should webmasters be given a way to opt out of them?

Absolutely. Or the ad should at least contain a disclaimer that the site it appears on has no affiliation with it whatsoever and that the site owner may or may not agree with it.

The one I saw was a text ad too. It took up the entire ad unit, a tower.


 7:07 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I placed this advertiser in my competitive ad filter because the position advocated is deeply offensive to the readership on one of my sites. But since AdSense takes "several hours' to pull ads in the filter, today I pulled AdSense from all of my sites. Tonight, I'll check again and if the ad is gone, I will restore AS.


 7:09 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't think this is anything new. My Michigan-oriented site has always gotten a lot of political advertising when there's an election; both for this one and a couple years ago when we had a gubernatorial election.

In general, I'm more concerned about issue ads than candidate ads. I have strong positions on some issues and will knock off opposing ads if I see them on my sites. I've gone as far as to block all visits from particular sites I abhor when I see they've added a link to my site for political reasons, like telling their people to go to my site for a list of events where they can accost people about their point of view.

Heh, I don't think there's any way to tell Google - yea, you can send me ads for this side, but not for that side, so in general, it would probably be a good thing to be able to opt out entirely.

But this also wraps around to another issue that has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time - I have a lot of vastly different sites, and what's appropriate for one isn't appropriate for others. If I had a political blog or some such, I might well WANT political ads. We really need the ability to block on a per site level.


 7:12 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I agree, we should be able to opt out when ads are sensitive and/or not context-targeted.

I'm seriously considering turning off Google for the rest of today and tomorrow. I hate doing it, though...


 7:28 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Update: Because of the political ads, I *have* removed Adsense from my sites through tomorrow. I'd rather lose two days Adsense income than alienate my visitors.


 7:37 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

If I had a political blog or some such, I might well WANT political ads

Does google actually allow you to put adsense on political sites these days? I thought it was against their conditions.


 7:39 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ugh. I'm running AS as remnant sales through AdManager, and forgot that I need to turn that off, too. A heads up for webmasters running that set-up, as well.

Seriously, Google needs to do something about the lag time between a publisher declaring that s/he wants a certain ad off her/his website, and the time it takes Google to do that. Hours is not acceptable.


 9:23 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I was just visiting webmasterworld to suggest adsense should come with a MAJOR WARNING that this exact thing can happen at any time.

One of my sites, about video games, is showing targeted Prop 8 related political ads in EVERY location. My account is set to manually approve targeting of such ads but the ad bypassed that system somehow.

I set this ad to be filtered about 10 hours ago and still 100% Political Ads in ALL slots from the same place. I'm finding it VERY hard to believe this would be a glitch, Google you're stealing MY money to pad your pockets with and I'm not happy about it ! (I don't care if it's a mistake or not, it's happening - fix it)

Gamers don't click on political ads, heck most aren't old enough to vote.


 9:26 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing Prop 8 (ban gay marriage) ads on all my web sites. Certainly not the image I want.


 9:37 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Does anyone know if there is more than one URL for these ads? I've just put the one I found into my filter.


 9:58 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>>Gamers don't click on political ads

Could be paying CPM not by click... my eCPM is significantly higher today. But that's not as important as keeping politics off my site.


 10:10 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Running the ads on your site implies you approve the message, which I don't, it's almost worth giving the lawyers a call...


 10:12 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I doubt it's CPM as ads have taken over all slots on my sites and the stats show no income for them. This implies they are paying big money for clicks, or there is some other way they have over run all the other advertisers.

[edited by: martinibuster at 1:17 am (utc) on Nov. 4, 2008]
[edit reason] See TOS. [/edit]


 10:23 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I browsed around my site a bit just now to see if I could spot any political ads.

Sure enough, on a page where I posted an event notice for a group that supports veterans I saw an ad for a senate candidate.

Text ad, in a block of 4 ads (120x600).

Fortunately this was for a candidate I support, but I still am not sure about the whole idea of running political ads on a non-political site.

I should add that the ad was geo-targeted. I was looking a page for a California event and the political ad was my midwestern state.


 10:32 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

For me, the issue is -- I don't want these ads on my site (for whatever reason). Google has given me a filter to purge from my site ads from domains I don't want on my site. Fine.

However, *five hours* after I put < this domain > into my filter, that ad continues to show on the one test file I have buried on my site, indicating that Google takes more than 5 hours to purge ads from domains in my filter.

That is not an acceptable performance. It should be more like five minutes. *This* needs to move to the top of the wish list the next time AdSenseAdvisor, or someone else from Google, asks us for one.

(FWIW, I'm probably going to end losing $50-100 today because I switched all my AS ads to Yahoo/MSN. But I'll eat that rather than offend hundreds, and possibly thousands, of my readers.)

[edited by: tedster at 10:49 pm (utc) on Nov. 3, 2008]

[edited by: martinibuster at 1:20 am (utc) on Nov. 4, 2008]
[edit reason] no specific domains, thanks [/edit]

travelin cat

 10:35 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I just had to turn off AdSense on my entire site because of this. Fortunately my cms made this easy enough.

I can't have visitors on my site thinking I endorse a particular view on some of these politically charged propositions.

How could Google do this? Just unbelievable.


 10:47 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Earn money from relevant ads on your website

Google AdSense matches ads to your site's content, and you earn money whenever your visitors click on them.

Ok, Google. Just how are these Prop 8 ads relevant to my site?


 10:47 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

One other point:

These ads are not targeted to our sites' content. Wasn't that the whole point of Google's ads? One of the reasons that many of us got off other ad networks was that we were sick of seeing run-of-network ads that had nothing to do with the topics of our sites.

Please listen to your publishers, Google. We do not want run-of-network ad sales on our sites. So, please, stop selling them. Let's go back to the content-driven ad selection model under which many of us were doing quite well financially, thank you. :-)


 11:13 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

14 hours and counting since I filtered these ads and that site but no change yet.

These ads are wrong in every way.

- no targeting (Thanks Google)
- filtering doesn't work (Thanks Google)
- not paying cpm
- essentially hate speach wich is against adsense tos
- the ads bypassed manual approval (Thanks Google)

Basicaly this type of sitewide irrelevant hijacking isn't supposed to be possible. I've put up with a lot including crappy payouts from adsense because of how easy their code is so this angers me a great deal.

travelin cat

 11:55 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Apparently the advertisers for this particular campaign were paying a bundle to have their ads run across my site. Before I turned it off, my AdSense income was more then triple were it would be normally at this time of day.


 12:04 am on Nov 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

But, again, I should get to make the definitions within my own website. That's what freedom of the press is all about. Now, I'm willing to subcontract part of that publishing authority to Google (for ads) in exchange for both financial compensation and the promise that I can "veto" Google's decision on certain ads.

The fact that Google, apparently, has changed the terms of the deal and decided not to allow us to filter this particular ad has me, and I can see, many other publishers steamed.

[edited by: martinibuster at 1:26 am (utc) on Nov. 4, 2008]
[edit reason] Removed political comments. [/edit]


 12:15 am on Nov 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yes. As I stated in my original post, the political ads on my site were not incompatible with my personal beliefs. However, the fact that we, as publishers, agree with or disagree with the content of the political ads should have nothing to do with this. We, who are complaining, have non-political web sites. Political ads are not compatible with our audiences, and we should have the ability to say no to them.

Problem is, Google won't ever give us the "opt-out" ability for political ads, because who would ever stay opted in? What sites are these ads right for? Even for political sites, chances are the ad will take a position that's contrary to your audience.

I hope that the big G sees that many of us "voted with our feet" by taking Adsense off our sites for today and tomorrow, and gets the message that these ads were a really bad idea.


 12:55 am on Nov 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Not everyone is getting that particular Yes on 8 ad, and to counter it would just be compounding the problem for non-political sites.

BTW, my ads did have "Ads by Google" in the ad box, it just doesn't look like their regular graphic, it was in text.


 12:55 am on Nov 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Being from the UK I have learnt a lot about the US political process that I did not know about previously - the fact that candidates have been buying advertising on tv and the internet etc. is completely alien to me.

I am very uncomfortable with advertisements that have a political or religious basis - using ppc is even more uncomfortable for some reason.

I would not have expected to see these type of ads before so it is an eye-opener that you would get politically charged ads through adsense - that surely needs an opt-out.


 1:08 am on Nov 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

This idea could be the salvation of newspaper Web sites as it enables enormous expansion of Google's advertising business.

Great newspaper can produce great stories for a worldwide audience but with advertising local to the reader. Not a bad trick.

This 55 message thread spans 2 pages: 55 ( [1] 2 > >
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