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Pages Mentioning Women and their Ethnicity Trigger Dating Ads
No Use Blocking them. More Keep Coming.
annej




msg:3829878
 9:59 pm on Jan 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

This is pathetic and insulting because of "Hot (race given here) Women ads I am forced to remove a great many ads today.

Totally inappropriate for my subject matter and can't be tolerated.

For some reason on any page where I discuss the accomplishments of women of a certain race I get these ads.

There is no use in just blocking them. More just keep coming.

I can understand that I might not be able to earn as much with AdSense in this down economy but Google seems to be determined to fill the slots with trash. I would MUCH rather they didn't ads at all in these cases!

I don't know if there is anyone left at AdSense who cares anymore and might read this.

We just had a long discussion here on this topic and I thought Google was going to address the problem.

 

wyweb




msg:3831462
 5:34 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

There is obviously a market for an Adsense type product that would give publishers more control of their content (including ads).

Yes, there is. Google dominates it.

wyweb




msg:3831472
 5:41 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Until such a product comes along, there is a way to have absolute control over the ads that run on your site: sell and serve ads in-house instead of outsourcing.

Thank you signor_john. Dead on as always.

annej

as ken_b said.. use weight=ignore. The actual code, which you're probably already aware of...


<!-- google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) --> (SENTENCE TO IGNORE)
<!-- google_ad_section_end --> (END OF SENTENCE TO IGNORE)

I had this exact same problem pop up 2 or 3 weeks ago. Pages that had for years served on target ads suddenly started showing ads related to one particular word found in the text body. My CTR plummeted and earnings went with it. It was a 2-day job and very painstaking weeding out which words were triggering what but it worked. Worked to a certain extent I should say. Something is triggering those ads. Find what it is and comment it out.

It's not too much to ask that AdSense publishers be allowed to specify certain types of ads that they don't want on their sites...

What a novel concept. Thanks meg....

[edited by: tedster at 3:13 pm (utc) on Jan. 23, 2009]

Miamacs




msg:3833090
 2:06 pm on Jan 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Dear Google and fellow competitors of the PPC/online ad market,

Here's what we need.
Publisher Account Setup - "Please show ads that are..."

[x]PG-13/family friendly
[_]mature ( dating, medication, death, santa is not real, politics, whatever )
[_]p0.rn/casino/fraud/scam/etc.

Why is this so hard?
Why? I'll tell you: it's NOT.

Not if you classify ads in these categories ( actually it's just +1 category ) right upon the APPROVAL of the ad over at AdWords. Not that you don't know this.

How are you making the web a better place when kids, moderate people and the public in general can see dating ads on completely off-topic sites, leading to a site where the concept is to get people to get laid? How about the scandals with political ads?

This isn't just for the publishers' good, apparently it gets publishers slightly lower revenue RATE but a more solid reputation ( and thus traffic volume, and thus revenue but in the LONG run... though note: this too is in Google's interest )

but you know the company has its logo all over these *cough* getlaid ads that tells a lot - even for the average user - about whose fault it is that the ad is displayed somewhere when it can even be damaging, offending or just plain disgusting.

...

[edited by: tedster at 3:17 pm (utc) on Jan. 23, 2009]

inactivist




msg:3833403
 7:59 pm on Jan 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm in the process of disentangling myself from Google AdSense on all my current sites (and I intend to avoid AdSense on all my new sites) for this reason (lack of publisher control) which, as several thoughtful posters have pointed out time and again, is a major part of the bargain we enter into with Google in exchange for simplicity.

My main sites have seen precipitous earnings reductions, in line with the economic downturn AND recent appearance of really off-topic (and many offensive) ads from an overwhelming number of advertisers. I'm not sure what is causing the reduction in revenue, but I care not: why cede control to a system that is trending towards lower revenues AND potentially offending my site visitors (thus cheapening my brand)?

Earlier, I had to disable ALL image ads on all of those sites, because so many of them were just obnoxious and would definitely not appeal to my site visitors (based on direct feedback and a modicum of reflection by any sane and rational person.)

Granted: Google has little incentive to give publishers control (at least that's been the case for a long time) but I can assure you that long-term, steady defections from the AdSense program will send a very clear signal to Google: Give publishers more control (and let us help you!) or lose more publishers and ad real estate.

Remember the email some of us got? ("Please stay with us during the rough times ahead"...) Well, I'll stay with you as long as I get something worthwhile in return for ceding control.

Sadly, and ironically, it seems that the best way to help improve AdSense for all publishers in the future is for many publishers to leave AdSense. Staying in the program will probably just encourage the status quo.

The "algorithm uber alles" mentality has significant drawbacks. We (publishers, advertisers) live with those drawbacks all the time. For a long time, the benefits outweighed the drawbacks. For some publishers this is no longer the case...

If Google continue their ways, AdSense may well suffer a "death of a thousand cuts". I say "start whacking!"

edit: added minor clarification and amplifications.

annej




msg:3833596
 12:46 am on Jan 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think it goes beyond being a problem for publishers. If I were using AdWords for a product that fits my topic I would be very alarmed to see that just above or below my ad there could be such an offensive ad. Do the AdWords people realize this is happening? Ads like that cheapen any other products advertised on the same page.

Where is AdSense adviser? Has Google cut that position?

signor_john




msg:3833625
 2:50 am on Jan 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sadly, and ironically, it seems that the best way to help improve AdSense for all publishers in the future is for many publishers to leave AdSense.

Actually, that could make the network stronger, not weaker, and in the end Google could benefit from an exodus of disgruntled publishers. Why? Because the publishers most likely to leave are those whose sites aren't performing well for Google, for advertisers, or for themselves. If the successful publishers stay with AdSense and the unsuccessful publishers are snapped up by Google's competitors, that will just tend to widen the perceived quality gap between AdSense and other search-ad networks.

Also, let's not forget that, for every AdSense publisher who obsesses over stats and wants to micromanage the AdSense network, there are probably 10 or 20 or 100 publishers who are just grateful to have an easy source of revenue from sites that otherwise would cost them money to host and maintain. (My son is a case in point: His urban Web site is a labor of love that has boosted his career and his local reputation; if AdSense can cover his hosting and his investment in Adobe software, he's delighted.)

IMHO, the biggest challenge for Google isn't how to keep publishers happy; it's how to keep advertisers happy while extending the company's reach beyond its traditional base of search ads and contextual text ads. Google may not have serious competition in the text-ad space, but it's just one of many players in the larger advertising world.

coachm




msg:3833632
 3:20 am on Jan 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Actually, that could make the network stronger, not weaker, and in the end Google could benefit from an exodus of disgruntled publishers. Why? Because the publishers most likely to leave are those whose sites aren't performing well for Google, for advertisers, or for themselves. If the successful publishers stay with AdSense and the unsuccessful publishers are snapped up by Google's competitors, that will just tend to widen the perceived quality gap between AdSense and other search-ad networks.

It could be the case, but it won't be. The publishers who leave, particularly because they are concerned for their users, ARE the ones who are good enough, smart enough, to make money in other ways. It's like what happens when a company offers great separation packages to leave voluntarily. It's almost always the best employees who leave because the less able ones aren't as employable or marketable.

All the scuzzy publishers don't have alternatives that come close to adsense income over the last years.

Look. I have a niche site that is one of the best (and few) in the field. In fact I have a number of such sites. If I wasn't concerned about quality, I could have developed junk sites.

Now let's say one of those sites if dedicated to female managers and executives (it isn't but it could be). It's the premier site for this. Great demographics. But wait. I'm getting semi-#*$! ads on the site. I's so outta there so fast because of the quality of the site I can just as easily make money elsewhere without quality issues. I'll go direct to executive services agencies for women....etc.

I'll it clearly. WE are concerned about OUR user experience, and first google or whoever has to pass our test for quality. That's why we don't show display ads from Valueclick, or Casale. Too much trouble weeding out junk that makes us look bad.

Well, I've seen enough useless ads, never mind the offensive ones, to cause me to pull adsense off some of our sites. It simply looks bad when we put ads on that lead to fake directories, or fake anything.

I may not be rich, and I may not be the greatest but I can and will protect how people view my company.

If google doesn't want to keep me happy, they can try to send their ads from their advertisers on say women executives, to the population in Uganda for all I care. And let's see how that effects things.

PS. I'm both advertiser and publisher. I expect quality BOTH sides. I don't want my ad above a suggestive one, and I don't want those ads on my site. Or junk ads either.

(We have made a LOT of money via adsense).

signor_john




msg:3833643
 3:43 am on Jan 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'll it clearly. WE are concerned about OUR user experience, and first google or whoever has to pass our test for quality.

I'm all for quality, too; in fact, I don't use AdSense on my longest-established site precisely because its topic attracts ads that I find unacceptable even though they may not be illegal or in bad taste. However, in my post, I was responding to Inactivist's threat to Google: "Give publishers more control (and let us help you!) or lose more publishers and ad real estate." Quality and publisher control aren't synonymous, and the former doesn't require the latter. What's more, there's no indication that large numbers of publishers are heading for the doors because ads are sometimes inappropriate. (AdSense has been around since 2003, and the program has grown enormously despite imperfections in ad targeting and in spite of people like you and me who are picky about the ads on our sites.)

signor_john




msg:3833844
 5:04 pm on Jan 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Getting back to the original complaint in this thread, can there even be a surefire way to prevent inappropriate or unwanted ads on a given site or page? Targeting algorithms will always be imperfect, and there's no guarantee that (for example) the AdSense box on a Windows support-forum thread about mouse drivers will never, ever show ads for rodents or golf clubs.

I might be perfectly happy if Google simply refused ads for Russian brides or Thai babes or even dating services, just as most people don't mind if their local newspapers refuses ads for NC-17 movies. I wouldn't be affected if Google refused all ads that included the words "hot" or "women" or "[race]." But those solutions aren't likely to be welcomed by publishers or advertisers who feel that, as long as they aren't doing anything illegal, they should be able to run or buy such ads.

What is the solution? Can there be a solution that makes everyone happy? (I doubt if more publisher control will do the trick, because blocking specific keywords won't prevent ads for inappropriate concepts. It's like e-mail spam: block "Viagra," and advertisers will come back with "little blue pills" or "tablets d'amour").

coachm




msg:3833857
 5:56 pm on Jan 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm all for quality, too; in fact, I don't use AdSense on my longest-established site precisely because its topic attracts ads that I find unacceptable even though they may not be illegal or in bad taste.

So what you are saying, basically is you are contradicting what you say later. You're saying that google is leaving money on the table because they are not a) giving you more control over the ads, or b) ensuring acceptable ads are shown on your own site. I don't know how your own words can be any clearer. Yet...

However, in my post, I was responding to Inactivist's threat to Google: "Give publishers more control (and let us help you!) or lose more publishers and ad real estate." Quality and publisher control aren't synonymous, and the former doesn't require the latter. What's more, there's no indication that large numbers of publishers are heading for the doors because ads are sometimes inappropriate.


First, quality and control are not the same, but they provide solutions to the same problem which you yourself talk about. If quality is great, no need to micromanage and control everything. If quality is poor, we need to micromanage and control, OR, remove the ads (like you have, like I have, like many have).

As for "there's no indication" that's a red herring, since there's no indication about much of anything involving google. I figure if YOU don't display ads because of appropriateness,and I don't, and AnneJ doesn't, and others also, then we're losing money and so is google, because of quality issues. So, the bottom line is simple. More pub. control (I don't actually want to micromanagte), or clean up the network. The latter is much better, but it's probably to late to fix the quality issues that have crashed google for us.

(AdSense has been around since 2003, and the program has grown enormously despite imperfections in ad targeting and in spite of people like you and me who are picky about the ads on our sites.)

6 years is a century on the Internet, as you well know from the bubble/crash for display ads. Things change. WE learn. Our visitors learn. If all of us don't evolve ahead of these changes, we (and google) will fail.

[edited by: coachm at 6:32 pm (utc) on Jan. 24, 2009]

signor_john




msg:3833864
 6:20 pm on Jan 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm not contradicting myself at all. Just because some publishers aren't using AdSense on some pages or sites doesn't mean that Google is threatened by a mass exodus of AdSense publishers if you don't get the control that you want.

As for quality and control, quality is in the eye of the beholder, so that leaves control. Exactly what kind of control are you proposing? (Please be specific, because generalities like "I want to control the quality of ads on my site" aren't going to produce solutions.)

annej




msg:3834498
 4:50 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'd just like to be able to select a "child safe" type setting. I use AdSense because for me it's worth a few minor problems to have someone else do it for me. But I should not have to worry about totally inappropriate ads getting through on a site many school children use.

I'm asking this again. Don't we have an AdSense Adviser anymore? At one time Google would have been concerned about something like this occurring.

If AdSense can't offer a child safe ad system I sure wish someone else would. I don't even care if it earns a little less.

BTW I have had Google block targeted ads for me so that wasn't the problem.

zett




msg:3834523
 6:14 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Exactly what kind of control are you proposing? (Please be specific, because generalities like "I want to control the quality of ads on my site" aren't going to produce solutions.)

Ah - this has been discussed ad nauseam in the feature request threads of the past. There was never any meaningful discussion with (official) Google employees who would tell us why they won't give more control to publishers.

It's certainly not the absence of useful discussion here that prevents this.

Maybe it's the technology, and Google would have to admit that they just can't do it? (That'd be quite embarrassing, I agree.) Or is it business-related? (Which is totally understandable, but also an admission that they like powerless, cog-like publishers wihtout real control.) My take? The latter.

wyweb




msg:3834560
 8:44 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

My take would be the latter as well zett. As you've said, all of these things have been discussed repeatedly in this very forum. A forum that google reps monitor. They're aware of these issues.

No, it's not the absence of useful discussion that prevents progress. It never is. I could liken this to any one of a number of similiar incidents in our world's history if I was so inclined. I hesitate to compare google to world powers but I'm afraid it's moving fast in that direction. World powers have been held accountable in the past for their transgressions and google will be no different if and when it's determined that they're at fault.

I won't be able to hold them accountable though. I've tried and I've failed. It'll take someone with much deeper pockets and a much louder voice then me. I'll be there when it happens though. You can bet your last dime on that.

The borg. I'm reminded of Star Trek. The assimilation. Again, I really don't like giving google this much credit but the parallels are certainly there. This is 2009. I shudder to think what 2019 will bring.

martinibuster




msg:3834565
 8:59 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Where can we find agreement?

1. Are dating/marriage ads offensive outside of relevant contexts?

2. Algorithms are imperfect- there are no solutions?

3. Algorithms are imperfect- we should help Google perfect them by discussing them?

4. Algorithms are imperfect- Advertiser campaigns should be scrutinized more closely?

5. Google should tighten up the relevancy filter for dating/marriage ads to avoid offending publishers and site visitors?

Solutions
Do we agree there is no problem here, keep walking, there's nothing to see? Or do we acknowledge something is off and work toward suggesting a solution? If so what solutions do you suggest?

wyweb




msg:3834576
 9:33 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

What solutions do I suggest?

Well, it doesn't really matter what we propose MB. Google will do what google wants to do regardless of what we ask for.

In a perfect world I'd like to see a bit more transparency with regard to my relationship with my employer. That won't happen though and I can give you all the reasons why it won't if you care to listen. What started out as protection of proprietary software has grown into this massive conglomeration of... of.. I don't even know what it is these days. It's the friggin' borg man....

The biggest insult of all is this so-called "feature request" forum. Yes, some requested features have been added but make no mistake about it - they were added because google wanted them added. Not because we requested them.

You know what, I really shouldn't even get involved with these sorts of conversations. Maybe I'm just too jaded or too much of a pessimist. It seems like we've been doing this for quite a long time now and as far as substantial results I haven't seen them. They throw bones to us.. friggin' bones....

wyweb




msg:3834584
 9:49 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

1. Are dating/marriage ads offensive outside of relevant contexts?

Outside of relevant contexts? No. But then guns and ammo isn't offensive outside of relevant context either. Po0rn ads aren't ofensive outside of context. Hitler/Nazi youth isn't offensive either on those types of sites. Those types of sites.

I know what you mean though.

annej doesn't want those ads on her site. That's her right. Should she have to remove adsense completely in order to accomplish this? That's the crux of it, no? Does the fact that she doesn't like these particular ads preclude her from being an adsense participant? And how can adsense safeguard her and her site's visitors from this content in the future?

Algorithms are imperfect - PERIOD. Add a human factor. That's the only way it's gonna work.

piatkow




msg:3834691
 1:28 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Two overlapping issues for me.

1. I run a site for a charity funded by Adsense. I have blocked a few advertisers in the past and don't have a problem in this area at the moment. On the other hand I shouldn't need to keep checking my pages every few days to see what is being displayed but rather generically block certain topics such as dating and gambling.
2. There is the more generic relevance issue which is the "mouse" problem. On a page about computer mice it would be nice to guide the relevance to interpretations that will convert. So ads about computers not about pest control.

signor_john




msg:3834773
 4:03 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Do we agree there is no problem here, keep walking, there's nothing to see? Or do we acknowledge something is off and work toward suggesting a solution? If so what solutions do you suggest?

1) Whether there's a serious problem, a minor annoyance, or no problem at all depends on the publisher. Obviously, we'd all like perfect targeting, but not all of us (a) display a significant number of "inappropriate" AdSense ads or (b) have to worry about being tarred and feathered by users if we do display such ads. Also, what's "inappropriate" is in the eye of the beholder. (I might find ads for "hot [insert race] women" offensive, but I'd be just as offended by right-wing political ads that another publisher might welcome.)

2) It's reasonable to assume that Google wants to improve targeting of contextual as and maximize the number of high-paying ads, because better-targeted, higher-paying ads make more money for Google, not just for the publisher. But an algorithm-based system will always have loopholes that can be exploited by smart advertisers, and closing those loopholes will never be an overnight process.

3) Most important, unhappy publishers need to admit that they're part of the problem if they don't show the courage of their convictions. It's hypocritical to complain that Google has low standards while continuing to let Google display ads for "hot [insert race] women" or other ads that the publisher believes are inappropriate. There's a 100 percent effective solution to the problem of inappropriate ads, and that's removing AdSense code from pages that attract such ads. Taking that step will achieve three things:

- It will make such ads disappear instantly from the publisher's site;

- It will send a message to Google (especially if the publisher notifies AdSense Support of his or her decision);

- It will help to reduce the available pool of impressions for such ads, ultimately driving up costs and reducing ROI for bottom-feeding advertisers.

zett




msg:3834814
 4:33 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

There's a 100 percent effective solution to the problem of inappropriate ads, and that's removing AdSense code from pages that attract such ads.

How can you market an ad program as "set and forget" (as which Google Adsense has been positioned) when in fact it is not? Isn't it strange that the ONLY "solution" for the problems mentioned in this thread seems to be pulling the ads completely? And do you really think that Google agrees to this? Can any publisher take an ad program serious that is unwilling to address such issues and tells you "go away, we don't want you, we don't need you"?

How funny, and how sad.

I'd rather like to have the tools to actively manage the ads and advertisers, which would enable me to monetize all pages while maintaining a high quality for my visitors.

signor_john




msg:3834935
 6:41 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

How can you market an ad program as "set and forget" (as which Google Adsense has been positioned) when in fact it is not?

But it is "set and forget," unless you don't like the way AdSense works on your site.

Isn't it strange that the ONLY "solution" for the problems mentioned in this thread seems to be pulling the ads completely? And do you really think that Google agrees to this?

That isn't the only solution, but it's the only 100 percent effective solution right now. If you want perfection (and especially if you want it immediately), you aren't going to be happy with AdSense.

I'd rather like to have the tools to actively manage the ads and advertisers, which would enable me to monetize all pages while maintaining a high quality for my visitors.

Sounds like you picked the wrong network, then. But it's foolish to criticize Google just because it won't let you micromanage its algorithms. Still, if you want to register a protest, you should remember that actions speak louder than words do.

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