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Forbidden things to do to stay with AdSense

despite TOS still some things are unclear



8:30 pm on Jul 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am developing content sites (not just pesky forums where the main content is chattering) since 1996. I wish to continue doing it: making content web sites. That's why Google's AdSense seem a perfect solution to me: I can concentrate on content and they on displaying ads.

I just want to do things right, I don't want to be thrown away from AdSense. Advice me if I get it right...

However I am not sure what is forbidden. Are following things also forbidden:

- putting a text like this "to support (our website)/(our software)/(our case) click on the banner below" - over the banner of adsense?

- I "include" through PHP including the AdSense banner code also to website-internal search pages and the internal search results. should I not do it?

- most adSense banners of mine are located on content pages, but one of them on a topic-specific sub-page of my personal website (not its main page). should I avoid at all to put adsense on personalwebsite, even if google properly detects "the topic" and displays absolutely proper content sensitive ads!?

- anything else I forgot but that is not obvious?


8:36 pm on Jul 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

But I do not know what would be wrong saying: "If you appreciate our site please visit our sponsors" or simply "Please visit our sponsors".

What's wrong, IMHO, is that you're implictly asking people to click on the links, for that is the only reasonable way to "visit" the sponsors!

(If you say that you are only "really" asking people to determine the target URL without clicking, then visit that site without clicking the ad: Good luck trying to explain that to the AdSense fraud control team!)

You could say: "Please take a look at the offers from our sponsors", to encourage looking at the ads (as opposed to clicking on them), but even that is borderline at best, in my opinion...

Perhaps you could turn it into a attention-getting joke: "By the way, we can read your mind, so don't be surprised if you find some of the ads on our site actually interesting for a change... ;-)"

(I have no intention of drawing extra attention to the ads myself, so feel free to use it, if you think it is "safe"! --Scene from Marathon Man comes to mind...)


8:57 pm on Jul 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Response to Eltiti:

What's wrong, IMHO, is that you're implictly asking people to click on the links, for that is the only reasonable way to "visit" the sponsors!

I understand your point, but isn't the point of an advertisement through AdWords to have someone click on the advertisement and go to your website? Just by having Titles in the advertisement that are blue with underlines and look like links implies that a person must click on it. Maybe Google should remove these. But then we have the issue of a little hand appearing above the banner when someone mouses over the banner which also implies this must be clicked on.

Ok - these may be extreme and ridiculous, but the point is that it is not cut and dry, which is probably why Google is vague about this issue.

So until the issue is clearer maybe people should avoid anything like this.

Which makes me wonder about the following situation:

We sell a certain widget. But, the cost for us to distribute the widget is to costly in our opinion. So instead we kept all the links to the widgets up but linked them to a different source for them through their affiliate program. We also have Google ads on this same page, which also bring up advertisements from other Widget sellers.

Above the ads we wrote:
If you can't find the exact widget you are looking for on this page, please visit these other widget sellers:
<Google Ad>

I never once even questioned that this may not be a legitimate use of Google Ads. We get LOTS of traffic looking for widgets, and I am sure many have come to our site and went on to buy something from Advertisers on the Google Ads.

Is This Wrong? or better yet How Can This Be Wrong?

Well - I am emailing Google and I will let you know what I find out.


9:11 pm on Jul 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member chiyo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

great post hafgen, and thanks for checking with google for us.

In my "karma" way of translating googlespeak i interpret "incentives" to rule out "click on the ads to keep our site free" type stuff, as it has nothing to do with the ads themselves, but the example you give sounds sensible as it attracts attention to the ads for the purpose they were intended.

Anyway, an official note from google beats karma anytime!


9:11 pm on Jul 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

OK - Here is what I sent Google:

On Webmasterworld.com there is a discussion going on about AdSense Terms Of Service.


Of particular interest is the issue of text on a site referring people to the banner ad. When and how is it appropriate or inappropriate?

The webmasters using AdSense on Webmasterworld have a particularly high concern for using AdSense in legitamate ways, but are petrified of accidently doing something wrong and getting AdSense canceled.

Here is my situation, and I would like to know if it is OK.

We used to sell X10 products, but it was too costly for us to distribute. We kept our X10 page up because it is very popular, and have linked to another company selling X10 products. We also have put up a AdSense Ad on this page, and because of how great it works it shows other X10 websites and resellers.

Over top of the ad we wrote:
If you can't find the X10 product you are looking for on this page, please check out the following X10 sponsors:
<Google Ad>

Is this wrong?

Also - what if we wrote something like the following above the AdSense Banner:
If you appreciate our site please visit our sponsors:
<Google Ad>

Would this be wrong?

Thanks for your prompt attention and feedback.


9:20 pm on Jul 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

isn't the point of an advertisement through AdWords to have someone click on the advertisement and go to your website?

Well --yes and no.

I'm not an AdWords advertiser myself, but I suspect most of the advertisers don't just want "someone" to click and visit; they want a "special someone", namely, someone who is interested in the particular widget they offer! ;-)

Asking visitors to "visit the sponsors" is crossing the line between drawing attention to the ads and asking people to click on them, IMO.

My own approach would be (and is!) to put the ads in a location where they will surely be noticed, and do nothing more.

Adding explicit "requests" will likely only artificially increase my own CTR and decrease the conversion/ROI for the advertisers --and I actually want neither of these things to happen... :)

[edited by: Eltiti at 9:55 pm (utc) on July 28, 2003]


9:26 pm on Jul 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


While I enjoy a good theoretical discussion, I'm certainly most interested in the official (=Google's) POV...

Thanks for checking with them, and I look forward to reading the outcome!


9:40 pm on Jul 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

OK - Here is what I sent Google:

yeah man, please post us what Google said!

but sincerely I would prefer Google to put it on their official web pages, otherwise, no offense, but anybody could say "look people, I have got this from google: blah blah blah..".


9:43 pm on Jul 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I don't think I can post exactly what Google says. I think that breaks Webmasterworld Forum rules. But I can paraphrase. And yeah, I could be lieing when I respond. If you are that suspicious it would probably be better for you to email Google yourself. Maybe with enough people questioning they will officially clarify the issue a bit more on their site.


10:10 pm on Jul 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I tend to agree with chiyo's karma. It is hard to make fixed rules in this area - I would have no problem with hafgan's example at all (in fact would be very happy to have my ad promoted in such a way), but on a different type of page a very similar wording would be definately an abuse.

I suppose what I want is for my AdSense ads to be presented in the same way that successful websites promote their affiliate links. This is somewhat unreasonable I realise, given that it is CPC not a percentage of sales, but it is the sort of promotion that you would give an affiliate that I would consider acceptable for AdSense.

Its basically Karma like chiyo said, its easy to tell if a particular method of presenting the ads is abusive. Just imagine you were paying for the clicks and think how you would like it :)


5:42 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi all,

I have heard back from Google. I will paste in the exact message, and also paraphrase in case it gets deleted.

Hello Cliff,

Thank you very much for bringing this issue to our attention, and for
your question regarding inciting to click.

We appreciate you taking the time to offer us this feedback and
encourage you to continue to let us know how we can improve Google
AdSense. Google is always working to optimize our services. Your
feedback is vital to the success of this program.

Unfortunately, both the statement you are currently displaying, as well
as the statement you propose, qualify as "inciting to click," and
therefore violate AdSense policy. In both cases, visitors are being
encouraged to click on the ads.

In response to your more general question about the appropriateness of
"referring" visitors to the ads, the AdSense Policies state that there
must not be "Incentives of any kind for users to click on ads."

You can find AdSense Program Policies at
[google.com...] and Terms & Conditions at
[google.com...] Thank you for your cooperation.


The Google Team

Basically Google considers any kind of encouragement or referral to an ad as an incentive to click, and it therefore is not allowed.

Off to remove some text ...


5:54 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jenstar is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Thank you for sharing - it is good to have clarification due to the confusion over the term "incentives". This makes it pretty clear that publishers cannot do anything that would promote visitors to click any of the AdSense ads.


6:56 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If you were the advertiser, how would you feel about paying a couple of dollars per click

I'm not a religious man but someone said summarised it well about 2000 years ago. It was something along the lines of do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

If you were running an Adsense type program would you like publishers requesting visitors to support the site by clicking the ads? Bear in mind that if lose advertisers as a result it hurts your pocket.

Anyway, Google's cleared up most of what everyone suspected.


8:47 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Thank you very much for sharing that with us! (Pretty much as many of us suspected already, but it is good to get it straight from the official source...)

This 43 message thread spans 2 pages: 43

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