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Cool It with the Naughty Words
Change in AdSense Policy
Sally Stitts

 1:59 am on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

(continued from [webmasterworld.com...]
Ta-da! The Answer --->

"I took a look at the page and the material it covers is too sensitive for our advertisers."

It was followed by the usual admonitions to use certain ad blocks, enable everything, etc.
There you have it. OK until Dec. 3, 2012, and then Kablooie. Too bad. Was a buck a click, $20 a day.
Subject was VD. There were plenty of ads and clicks (treatments, cures, etc.).
However, a more sensitive Google observer had a different opinion, and shut it down.

Let the webmaster beware. How do you discuss VD without mentioning the pxxxx and vxxxxx?
What is the lesson here?
1. An official change of AdSense policy? Maybe. I missed the memo.
2. Luck of the draw (too sensitive a Googler). Maybe.
Which one do you think it was?

This has extremely interesting implications, in either case.
If it is #1, there are a lot of webmasters that will want to know that, and tone it down.
If it is #2, anything can happen, depending upon the observer. Many webmasters will want to know that too.

It is also interesting that I WAS NOT INFORMED at the time, or ever. Many webmasters will want to know that, as well.

So, the next time you think "let's get real", you had better think twice. It is clear that G (AdSense) doesn't want you to be "too real". However, I am still good with the Search folks.

I'm done. Moving on. I am not going to seek clarification, because I don't want to further rankle the religious person involved. From a logical and scientific viewpoint, there IS AND WAS NOTHING untoward on the page - just pure fact.

I wonder if similar demotions are possible in Search ranking? I hope not. I am still #1 for my main keywords, and on Bing, as well. I hope a search prude doesn't knock me out. But who knows. Whim seems to trump scientific knowledge and inquiry, in my AdSense case. Incidentally, the original page came from the University of Michigan (long since deleted), which I CORRECTED, added to and improved.

No naughty bits for you! Get your mind out of the gutter.

[edited by: Sally_Stitts at 2:25 am (utc) on Mar 19, 2013]

[edited by: engine at 5:31 pm (utc) on Mar 19, 2013]
[edit reason] fixed broken link [/edit]



 2:04 am on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yup. Sex = out
Hasn't that always been the case?

Sally Stitts

 2:09 am on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

No. It was fine up until Dec. 3, 2012.
Ads were served for VD treatments and cures, just fine, at a buck a click.
I had the ads on the page for YEARS earlier, but I removed them because they paid so poorly.
I always remove the poor performers, after years of experimentation - G likes excellent OVERALL stats.
You must lose the non-performers.

I added them back on July 26, 2012, to see if anything had changed. They performed much better then, until removed on Dec. 3, 2012.


 3:06 am on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Last updated: December 7, 2012


Sites with Google ads may not include or link to:

P0rnography, adult or mature content
•Violent content
•Content related to racial intolerance or advocacy against any individual, group or organisation
•Excessive profanity
•Hacking/cracking content

I would say that Sally should have adverts. There is a huge difference between p0rnography and an educational discussion about sexual body parts.

Sheesh, have Google employed some puritans ?

I have cracking content on my site, but my definition of cracking is different to theirs.


 3:09 am on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Subject was VD.
I bet when they looked at your site, they shouted "we've a goner 'ere"
Sally Stitts

 3:55 am on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Apparently, I am too mature for Google.
I find that just plain weird.

Or maybe too adult. Also weird, since teenagers probably get the most VD of all. But don't you dare warn them, according to AdSense. Too naughty for discussion.
Sheesh, have Google employed some puritans ?

That's my guess. Perhaps they need more specific guidelines, since the employees obviously don't agree, and puritanical whim can silence knowledge. Not what G is about, IMHO.


 4:30 am on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Adsense runs the show. If we want to monetize with them - I remember when there was no Adsense and few ways to monetize - then we play by their rules. Seems fair.


 8:08 am on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have looked at the site in question, and I am utterly surprised that Google have behaved in the way they did.

It is 100% educational. There isn't a "comments section" on the page, so it wasn't filled with kids writing "rude words" and there are no images.

Sally, if I were you, i'd go over to the offical forum and raise it there. You may be able to get hold of someone who works for Adsense and take a proper look at it.

I also did a check on Google, and I found a number of sites that are doing a similar thing as Sally, and are also running Adsense with no problems.

My memory isn't like it used to be, but wasn't there a similar thing a few years back that hit the headlines? IIRC it was something to do with breasts. I know it was finally cleared by the bods at Adsense, and the site was allowed to show adverts.


 9:35 am on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

The gap between the 2 ethics of Google in their advertising programs is huge.

Publishers aren't even allowed to genuinely talk about illnesses, while advertisers are allowed to offer the cures for said illnesses - even on sites that have nothing to do with said content, without any decent way for the publisher to say no.

The whole mess is far too unbalanced.


 9:52 am on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

"I took a look at the page and the material it covers is too sensitive for our advertisers."
I don't see how that statement can be true. You go to Google's search engine and you'll see plenty of adverts for VD related problems, sex problems etc etc.

How can an advertiser say that it is too sensitive, when it is their field.

Sounds like it is an uneducated Google employee.


 12:47 pm on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

There may be a history of advertisers blocking their ads from showing up on that page, who knows.

The problem is that even though it's probably fine by us and what we would consider educational, Google doesn't really scale for *one page* at a time. I'm not sure they have a whitelist, and if they did, then there's no guarantee you wouldn't put something that's over the edge (not saying you would, but that's probably how they think) And they're not going to come back on a regular basis to do a manual check.

So yea, dumb as it is, I can understand why they do it.


 3:54 pm on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

It was followed by the usual admonitions to use certain ad blocks, enable everything, etc.

I'm not following this part? Was the Google employee referring to the rest of your site?

At least they didn't completely overreact and ban/suspend your account.

Sally Stitts

 4:12 pm on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Was the Google employee referring to the rest of your site?

If you're looking for ways to increase your revenue, I'd recommend updating from the 250x250 to a 300x250 and opting into text and display. The 300x250 is our best performing ad unit because advertisers make the most display inventory for this particular ad size. Opting into text and display also opens up your inventory to more advertisers and because of our 2nd price auction, pushes up bids from even the text advertisers. The higher bids or CPCs for your site, the higher your revenue. You can find more best practices here.

I believe that should read "best practices for Google".
So, I would have to say yes to your question.
Milking every last cent from ads is AdSense's goal. It has never been mine. User experience is FAR more important to me. And apparently, to Google Search, as well.

I LOVE the 250x250 - it is the only format I use. It has the unique advantage of being limited to the 3 best ads. It also works great for mobile. However, G AdSense always wants more and more ads - bigger, more, only certain formats. Why are there even choices, if they want to cram us all into the same basket? Do we have choices, or don't we?

I will not enable image ads for several reasons. I absolutely detest any movement on my screen not caused by me. It ain't a TV show. Since I cannot specify STATIC ads only, I must block all distracting, annoying flashing, jumping, bouncing, wiggling, talking BS. Plus, I believe they are ALL CPM, which pays poorly. When you spend HOURS a day on WebmasterWorld, you learn to read between the lines, and the real truth becomes apparent. Who you gunna believe? The literature from the pharmaceutical company, or 100's of patient anecdotes? It is a no-brainer for me.

•P0rnography, (adult or mature content)

I see this as 2 items. P0rnography is pretty clear. But "adult or mature content" is wildly ambiguous, and is a euphemism for ANYTHING. I looked up both words in dictionary.com, and NEITHER word is associated with salaciousness. I don't believe that Google is able to distinguish between "dirty talk" and medical information. They do NOT define adult or mature ANYWHERE, so those words can conveniently mean anything they want, based upon observer whim. You have heard the old Supreme Court adage - "I know it when I see it". In this case, we don't even have an image! So what is the criteria? One use of a specific medical term? Any description of the manner in which VD is transferred? You cannot say it, without saying it. Is it required to use only euphemisms? Would dingxx and tee-t-- be acceptable? Would member and orifice be OK? I don't think ANY word would be appropriate to some folks. It is simply verboten. Period. Not discussed in polite society, much to the detriment of the individual seeking knowledge.


 5:07 pm on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

(Image ads are not all CPM. I use them as an advertiser all the time, and I pay per click)

I'm pretty sure the ambiguity is a good part of the reason they don't want to mess with it. It would require context, and context requires manual oversight, and Google's not interested in manual anything unless they have to do it. If they add up the costs of doing that next to the revenue they're likely to see, they probably just shrug and say "more trouble than it's worth."


 6:55 pm on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Oh my post is gone :(

Sally, I was just going to add that you can try to turn that around and use it to your advantage. Inject humour into an overwise depressing scenario and it even has the potential to go viral and bring you even more traffic and clicks while taking the sting out of a sensitive subject.

Sally Stitts

 7:38 pm on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think I will just leave it well enough alone.
I don't want to irk the powers that be.
I am doing pretty well with AdSense.
I am not a crusader.
Rocking the boat would be foolish.
It is their game, as was pointed out.
I accept that, and I will be moving on, and abandoning all attempts at making money on dirty medical words. :<)


 1:40 am on Mar 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

That's what she said.


 3:50 pm on Mar 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think these issues are caused by bots that can not determine context at all. They can not tell a p0rn site from a site discussing medical issues, they can not tell a site that sells counterfeit merchandise from a site that educates shoppers about counterfeit merchandise (even if it is an established brand site). They cannot tell a site that is a community for a sub-segment of the population from one that is "anti" or "promotes violence" and the interpretation of various words is uniquely theirs and sometimes does not reflect how those words are used or commonly interpreted.


 3:12 pm on Mar 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

The fact that they said it was too "sensitive for our advertisers" actually makes me think the Google employee understands your site is within G's guidelines, but is being compelled to do this because of what advertisers want.

Sally, did your site mention that one can avoid VDs without avoiding sex, if one takes proper precaution? Because that's not how we've been teaching it in US schools for the past 10 years or so with this abstinence only "sex education" (using quotes because can you imagine abstinence only "math education" - "just don't do any math, kids, and you'll be fine"). It may well be we now have a lot of people who can't tell discussion about prophylactics from #*$!ography.

Or it could also be that Google is doing a poor job of segmenting their ad verticals. Normally, I wouldn't think so based on their long success, but CPM/CPC revenue is doing so badly these days that a lot of companies are biting their nails or shutting down. Under those conditions, I'd say it's possible Google tried to throw a few tangential advertisers into your vertical to make up a shortfall and it instead blew up in their faces.


 5:13 pm on Mar 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

did your site mention that one can avoid VDs without avoiding sex, if one takes proper precaution?

Codswallop. You can catch STI/VD without any sex involved. As for precaution, that may not always work.

Because that's not how we've been teaching it in US schools for the past 10 years.
That will explain why America is 27th in the Education list.
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