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New COPPA legislation (7/1/13) and Adsense

 11:25 pm on Jul 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Is there a way to opt out of behavioral targeting with Google Adsense?



 12:42 am on Jul 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Not that I'm aware of. If your site serves children, AdSense might not be a good choice anyway, because you have so little control over it.

(I'm making an assumption because of the COPPA reference)


 1:43 am on Jul 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

I just found in the Adsense interface under "Allow & Block Ads" - an option to block "interest-based ads" and "3rd party ads."

I'll be able to see if all ads tomorrow are only contextual.


 10:06 am on Jul 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

option to block "interest-based ads"


I still get trailed around by Ads for every topic I've either satisfactorily searched for, or recently purchased.

Utterly pointless.


 10:51 am on Jul 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

You can't stop the cookies. There's no way around it.


 5:30 am on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Wow, this is a real struggle for me to digest. I have a debatable website that I would think adults would use and navigate, not children. They would visit for their child, but it's not like a website for kids to navigate.

That said, this COPPA situation is baffling me. I see Google has a tool to list your site/page for which COPPA is needed.

However they also say this:

"not use interest-based advertising (including remarketing) to target: (i) past or current activity by users known by you to be under the age of 13 years old or (ii) past or current activity on sites directed at users under the age of 13 years old."

So that means for my entire account, every website suddenly loses interest based ads? Sounds like that's the kiss of death for earnings.

Wouldn't deactivating interest based ads in my adsense cause a major quake? Months until decent paying ads return etc? Anyone had experience or is currently deactivated interest based ads with any success?

This is quite a situation and it a touch depressing at the same time to be honest. I'm in a gray area and the last thing I want to do is screw up my Adsense account and or have it suspended or cancelled. I appreciate any advice sorting through this.

To add, I find it almost baffling that there is no discussion that I could find while searching this subject. To find the policies on Adsense, it took some doing. What's up with that? Nobody knows about it or simply feels their site isn't applicable to COPPA? Kids use the internet all the time now.


 12:39 pm on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Wouldn't deactivating interest based ads in my adsense cause a major quake? Months until decent paying ads return etc? Anyone had experience or is currently deactivated interest based ads with any success?

You can look in your account and find out how much of your income comes from interest based ads.

You're not going to get a lot of advice on this here; nobody knows your site and this is a relatively new area. You may want to consult an attorney.

Who Must Comply

If you operate a commercial Web site or an online service directed to children under 13 that collects personal information from children or if you operate a general audience Web site and have actual knowledge that you are collecting personal information from children, you must comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

To determine whether a Web site is directed to children, the FTC considers several factors, including the subject matter; visual or audio content; the age of models on the site; language; whether advertising on the Web site is directed to children; information regarding the age of the actual or intended audience; and whether a site uses animated characters or other child-oriented features.

To determine whether an entity is an "operator" with respect to information collected at a site, the FTC will consider who owns and controls the information; who pays for the collection and maintenance of the information; what the pre-existing contractual relationships are in connection with the information; and what role the Web site plays in collecting or maintaining the information.

Personal Information

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and Rule apply to individually identifiable information about a child that is collected online, such as full name, home address, email address, telephone number or any other information that would allow someone to identify or contact the child. The Act and Rule also cover other types of information -- for example, hobbies, interests and information collected through cookies or other types of tracking mechanisms -- when they are tied to individually identifiable information.

To me, this is the salient point. Seems to me the onus is on Google for a general audience site that doesn't include registrations or logins. But of course, IANAL. That was from COPPA.org, I don't know if it's up to date.

Here's another resource you might want to study:



 3:30 pm on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks netmeg. I did research a bit to see about interest based ads vs contextual in my reporting. Breaking down stats and looking at my revenues like that isn't something I've done before. This was a good exercise in that regard.

I would assume that ignoring or pleading ignorance might result in an account being banned?

Safer than sorry might apply to me and my situation. I'm wondering though the "new" aspect of the legislation and if really this type of policy from Adsense has been present the whole time. That's adding to my confusion.


 3:49 pm on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

I haven't heard anything to suggest that Google is enforcing COPPA, or banning accounts that aren't in compliance (so far).

The issue is probably more with the FTC at the moment.


 7:23 pm on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Ah ok. I admit to being a bit baffled by this. I guess I'm ultra paranoid because since July my earning have dried up and I see this COPPA discussion which occurred around the same time. My main earner is this site which is border on this COPPA stuff. I was wondering if the two situations were somehow linked together. Worse ads, less relevant, more restrictive, etc.

BTW, I don't think it's said enough, but netmeg you're the best.


 8:47 pm on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thank you.

But like I said, if you're really that worried, pay a lawyer a couple hundred bucks - but find one that knows something about COPPA (which might take a bit of digging)

Personally, I think if COPPA enforcement on AdSense sites is going to be an issue, I think they're much more likely to go after Google on it, rather than on a gazillion little publishers, one at a time. I'm not going to lose sleep over it, myself.

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