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sexually explicit and Adsense
Sexually explicit and Adsense

 11:20 am on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)


we are a free online language learning websites featuring thousands of lessons in Spanish,English, German... Many high-school in Europe and the US use our lessons. Some of our word lessons contain sexually explicit words, because they are part of any language and need to be studied by students as well. We are a large publisher.

Now Adsense sent us a message about sexually explicit content, warning us that we have 72 hours to remove the ads from pages with sexually explicit content. We can fully understand that and we immediately took action.

BUT, after starting and marking many words we found out that Adsense is not displayed on pages showing words like "nude", "nudist", "sexuality" (these are non vulgar words). We then decided to remove all ads from the word lessons to be on the safe side.

After contacting Adsense asking them for a list of what they regard as sexually explicit they have sent us a list with words that they regard as problematic: it includes "wife", "wet", "girl"... Surprisingly, a more explicit word describing a sexual act was not included. It was exactly this word that triggered the Adsense warning message.

So now we cannot rely on that list and we are creating our own list.

I wrote Adsense again, telling them that I would love to comply with the policy but I am not able to rely on their incomplete list. I asked them "WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF WE MISS ONE OR TWO WORDS" and "WHAT HAPPENS IF WE THINK A WORD IS OK AND THEY DONT"...

Then I got the response that depending on the violation and because I had already got a warning they "might" have to suspend my account.

From your experience are there any people with common sense at Adsense or is it just like with robots? I am not willing to risk the entire account, because I need Adsense in other lessons that do not contain words.




 12:33 pm on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I feel for you because I occasionally experience this but to a lesser degree. I made the mistake of combining the words "Girl" and "Eating" once in a title and soon noticed no ads were displaying. The Google Robot obviously thought there was something inappropriate on the page when there wasn't. This wasn't a big deal and didn't result in a warning because it was only one page out of hundreds. However, as you've discovered when it's multiple pages that trigger the filter and warning it becomes a bigger problem.

I think you're on the right track and should limit where you display the AdSense ads.


 12:34 pm on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

AdSense is what it is. They don't want to have to worry about it (they are only interested in things that scale) so they go after mosquitoes with a cannon and not a fly swatter. That's unfortunately the deal you get. I'd just take them off any questionable pages and leave it at that (personally, I probably wouldn't use it on a lesson site in the first place, but that's me)


 1:12 pm on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I understand how they work and why they do it. But I do not want to make a mistake that would be permanent.

Naturally, I won't display ads on pages that are questionable and we have started to mark even words such as
"procreate", "strangle", "alcohol", "mount" ... But what if I miss 10 words out of 20,000?

Will they just close the entire 8-year old account or send us another warning and try to resolve the problem together?

Let's say I place ads back on the lessons after I carefully filter them and let's say in 3 months they find a word THEY don't like... will I still be able to remove it from the lessons then and leave ads only on the other parts of the site or will they say "sorry, we told you once... now goodbye account" ?


 3:44 pm on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

When I was having a re-read of the programme policies recently, I noticed the wording G use in their content guidelines.
The brief version says what I expected:

"Publishers may not place AdSense code on pages with content that violates any of our content guidelines. Some examples include content that is adult, violent or advocating racial intolerance."

However, the longer version, before giving a list of no no's, says:

"Sites with Google ads may not include or link to:"

Note the use of the word "Sites" instead of "Pages".


 4:01 pm on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

@denisl We agreed and accepted G's policy. This thread is not about their policy but about the ability to implement this policy and G's readiness to help out.


 4:08 pm on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Will they just close the entire 8-year old account or send us another warning and try to resolve the problem together?

Nobody can tell you that but Google (and probably they can't tell you that in advance either). And one person's experience probably isn't going to be helpful in determining what YOUR experience will be. So the remaining question is, how much risk do you want to take?

If it were I, and I had to monetize this site with AdSense, then I'd be trying to figure out a way to classify my pages as to how "safe" they are for ads, and I'd work out a system where I don't show ads on pages that aren't safe (and I'd do it conservatively - anything I even have to THINK about doesn't get an ad) To a lesser degree, that's how I do it on my own sites - I don't have any adult or marginally adult material, but I don't want ads to show up on pages that don't have rich content, so I block stuff like 404 pages, search pages, search results pages, contact pages, policy pages, etc. from showing ads.

Also, if you are running Google Analytics and have it tied to your AdSense account, it might be a good idea to set your dates to cover the last year or so and see which pages are bringing the most revenue. You might be anticipating a lot of work for nothing. If your revenue is mostly coming from pages that don't even have these words, then just take the ads off the iffy pages and don't worry about it.


 9:09 am on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

@netmeg That is exactly what I thought about, as usually 20% of pages make 80% of revenue. In addition, instead of blacklisting words I want to "whitelist" pages... even if it is a few days of work it is worth it.
Blacklisting is too risky because the combination of 2 innocent words may lead to adult meaning.

However, I have one more question: Would you ban also pages that are about violent words? For example the page: "Translation and meaning for 'war' in French" or "The English Verb 'to kill'"...? What would you do about those?


 3:38 pm on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well what kind of contextual ads are they likely to show? Yea, I'd not put ads on those either. Better safe than sorry.

We can all complain about AdSense's policies all we want, but they're not going to change them for us, so if we want to keep it, it's up to us to figure out how to work within them. Or find another way to monetize.


 2:28 pm on Mar 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I personally wouldn't worry about "War" but would be very careful with "Kill". As far as the contextual ads they might show...I can think of a bunch of topics related to War - Veterans, Military, History, Armed Forces, Service, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force...


 2:31 pm on Mar 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well there are limits to what the advertisers are allowed to run as ads too. You just have to think about what the earning potential of those pages really is - it might be you'd get nothing but a bunch of low paying video game ads anyway.


 3:34 pm on Mar 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I personally wouldn't worry about "War" but would be very careful with "Kill".

I think context in the way they are used is important and I also have a suspicion that AdSense is capable of "learning."

A few years ago a spate of widgets came out with names related to death and killing. For about a week or two AdSense didn't show any ads on these pages then started showing perfectly targeted widget-related ads.

But, then again, it always pays to be on the safe side when playing with AdSense.

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