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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)

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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 July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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By and large if you think it is dodgy, then it is dodgy.

If you want to be sure email Google with the URL of your page. Whilst you can get advice here, if its wrong, then its you that carries the can

And my 2 cents worth - I don't think I would do any of those 3 things if I were you :(

8:43 pm on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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> And my 2 cents worth - I don't think I would
> do any of those 3 things if I were you :(

even the 3rd one?

while most of my content websites are:

name-of-the-topic.com

the 3rd one - the one that is under personal website is:

my-personal-name.com/topicname

and it has PageRank of 5 and it is linked from many places. and the adsense banner on this page is very very very on topic of the page. so do you think that still it is forbidden by google? you scare me...

8:53 pm on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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as cornwall says but my 2c is

1 ... don't do it
2 ... ok, when they say no search results i think they mean external search results.
3 ... absolutely not

9:01 pm on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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1) Don't even think of using a "click on the ads to support this site" message. Advertisers have no interest in subsidizing your Web site by paying for supporters' clicks.

2) Don't put AdSense ads on search-results pages. The terms of service are quite clear about his.

3) If I were you, I wouldn't put the ads on a personal page, but that's a judgment call.

9:05 pm on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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1: No. I don't think you're supposed to draw attention to the ads in that way.

2: No! I specifically asked Google about internal search results (i.e. results returned when someone uses my website's search function to search for content on my site) and they said no. The reason for this (they said) was that they cannot spider such dynamically generated pages appropriately.

3: I don't know about the personal website thing. I have a personal page on my site, but I do not have the Google ads on it.

I'm still a little worried based on what I've read here, though. To hear some people talk, Google will yank you out of the program for no detailed reason, and according to the TOS, they can do that with impunity.

It would be nice if someone from Google would comment on what sorts of things throw up a red flag, or even what would cause you to get kicked out immediately.

9:10 pm on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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cornwall said it right on the money when he said "By and large if you think it is dodgy, then it is dodgy."

PolishGuy - you should probably take a close read-through of the AdSense FAQ and terms. They spell out what is and isn't permitted through AdSense, and will provide you with a wealth of info about the ins and outs of the program. And it would answer most of your questions ;)

Here are the terms: [google.com...]
Here is the FAQ: [google.com...]

Search result pages is a definite no.

Doing anything to instruct visitors to click on the links to "support the site" or "keep our site free" is a quick way to get you booted from AdSense. If you were the advertiser, how would you feel about paying a couple of dollars per click because people who had no interest in your product/site were clicking simply to "support the site" they happened to see the ad on?

9:15 pm on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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you people scare me - particularly this part about Google throwing me out without a way to come back.

> simply to "support the site" they
> happened to see the ad on?

yeah, I see your point: the clicks should be out of pure interest in the advertised thing, not just "to support site". anyway most of my sites have rock-solid content, and it would be pity to be thrown away...

I will do some corrections within next days... I hope Google will not kill me in meantime...

9:17 pm on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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3: I don't know about the personal website thing. I have a personal page on my site, but I do not have the Google ads on it.

I forgot to mention this one.

Right from the Google AdSense policy page:

Personal Pages
AdWords ads may not appear on personal pages.

[google.com...]

It would be nice if someone from Google would comment on what sorts of things throw up a red flag, or even what would cause you to get kicked out immediately.

Most seem to be covered in the FAQ, policies, or terms, but it would be nice if they were all covered in a nice "do not do" list, because some are mentioned in the policies, some in the faq, and some in the terms.

I don't think they will likely comment on what will throw up a red flag or what is grounds to get you booted immediately. This would open up the arena to those who would use that information to manipulate AdSense for their own profit without getting caught. The best you will probably find it guesstimates from user's experiences.

9:28 pm on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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> Most seem to be covered in the
> FAQ, policies, or terms, but it
> would be nice if they were all covered
> in a nice "do not do" list

yeah, but please note that this 1st thing I mentioned - putting a text over the banner to encourage clicking on it - is not explicitly forbidden, yet you all advice me that I will be thrown away ... how come?

is somewhere in faq or tos? I haven't noticed it... you?

9:41 pm on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yes, encouraging clicks is forbidden, it is in their large list of what your site cannot include from the AdSense policies page:

Site Content
Site may not include:

Excessive profanity
Hate, violence, racial intolerance, or advocate against any individual, group, or organization
Hacking/cracking content
Drugs and drug paraphernalia
Pornography
Gambling or casino-related content
Incentives of any kind for users to click on ads
Excessive advertising
Other content-targeted and/or text-based ads on the pages displaying AdWords ads
Pop-ups that interfere with site navigation or are for downloads
Ads that mimic AdWords ads or appear to be associated with AdWords ads on your site.

I would read this to include "support our site by visiting advertisers" or "click to keep our site banner free" or however you may word it. The incentive is support of the site by your visitors.

9:47 pm on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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yeah, but please note that this 1st thing I mentioned - putting a text over the banner to encourage clicking on it - is not explicitly forbidden, yet you all advice me that I will be thrown away ... how come?

is somewhere in faq or tos? I haven't noticed it... you?

The AdSense "Terms and Conditions" clearly state:

"You shall not, and shall not authorize or encourage any third party to: (i) generate fraudulent impressions of or fraudulent clicks on any Ad(s)"

Surely you don't think a click to "support your site" is anything but a fraudulent click?

9:50 pm on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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All three are definitely not permitted.

If you mention "click to support this website", google will either toss you out immediately or send you a warning email notifying you that they will boot you if you do not immediately remove it.

No search results may contain the ads. Doesn't matter where the results are from, you can't do it.

9:57 pm on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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europeforvisitors said:
1) Don't even think of using a "click on the ads to support this site" message. Advertisers have no interest in subsidizing your Web site by paying for supporters' clicks.

Jenstar said:

If you were the advertiser, how would you feel about paying a couple of dollars per click because people who had no interest in your product/site were clicking simply to "support the site" they happened to see the ad on?

I say, as an Adwords advertiser:

Is Google's content targeting no good then?

PolishGuy - Micro promotion of your AdSense block is against Terms of Service, so you shouldn't do it; but just to say that the views expressed by those above are their own, and not necessarily those of AdWords advertisers.

I would be all for it. Nobody (read "very few people") actually read our ads on your site as it is; and seeing as they are supposed to be content targeted I don't see a problem with a gentle nudge in the direction of your sponsors.

Note however that I also speak for myself and not Adwords advertisers in general.

10:15 pm on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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dmorrison:

Google's targeting isn't perfect on content pages, just as it isn't perfect on SERPs. Anyway, just because ads are targeted doesn't mean that every reader is a prospect for the advertiser's product or service. For example:

- An 11-year-old child who's looking up "Paris photos" for a school project isn't likely to buy images from a vendor of stock photos.

- The railfan who sees an ad for Eurostar tickets on a train enthusiasts' Eurostar page isn't a prospect for the travel agency that bid on the keyword "eurostar."

Encouraging fraudulent clicks isn't just a violation of the AdSense terms and conditions; it's also a disservice to advertisers. If an advertiser wants to encourage clicking by everyone (not just by serious prospects), the ad's headline should read "Click this ad." :-)

12:19 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Encouraging fraudulent clicks isn't just a violation of the AdSense terms and conditions; it's also a disservice to advertisers. If an advertiser wants to encourage clicking by everyone (not just by serious prospects), the ad's headline should read "Click this ad." :-)

But surfers are banner blind - they do not even read the ads - so whether it says "Click this ad." or "Free money", it doesn't matter - not seen, not clicked.

That is why as an advertiser I do not have a problem with a gentle nudge by a publisher in the direction of our ads.

I absolutely stop short of saying "Please click the ads" - I am with you on that. But take the following text for example:

This website is advertiser supported. Please take time to read our sponsors messages and help support this site.

What is wrong with that? Remember, my argument is based on these two factors:

- The ad is supposed to be reasonably well content targeted (doesn't have to be perfect)

- Banner blindness

I'm not just saying this because I want happy-clicks, I've actually thought about this.

12:34 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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My 2 cents:
1. Encouraging clicks is wrong. The advertiser is certainly not interested in paying you 30 cents or something so that your viewer can express their support.

2. AdSense is not allowed on personal pages. What you described, though, sounds like a website. It is a directory of a personal domain, but it's not a personal page. You should contact Google about this, but it's my feeling that personal pages are things such as blogs and resumes and family trip pictures -- things people would not surf for the keywords that may trigger AdSense. In short, the page should be 'about' a subject, not 'about' you.

Just my 2 cents. (Contacting Google would be worth about a dime, though, so that's your better option ;)

2:43 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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But surfers are banner blind - they do not even read the ads - so whether it says "Click this ad." or "Free money", it doesn't matter - not seen, not clicked.

If Web surfers don't read ads, why am I making so much money from the AdSense ads on my site? :-)

2:54 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If Web surfers don't read ads, why am I making so much money from the AdSense ads on my site? :-)

Of course web surfers read ads; you make money from serving them, and I make money from their traffic.

I just think that we could both be making more money :)

2:59 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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why am I making so much money
from the AdSense ads on my site? :-)

have you ever cashed or banked your check from google?
how much is "much money" for you?

5:32 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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have you ever cashed or banked your check from google?

Yes.

how much is "much money" for you?

I'm pretty sure that revealing that information would violate Google's terms and conditions. I will say that AdSense revenues are running neck and neck with earnings from my top hotel affiliate program.

5:52 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Sorry but I dont think that a "support our site by visiting our advertisers" is a fraudulent click.

That could not be described as being an "incentive" for a user, could it?

An incentive implies that a user will benefit in some tangible way from clicking the link.

Perhaps something like, "click here for a free widget" would be wrong. It encourages a disproportionally large amount of clicks by misleading users.

How about a big flashing sign saying, "do not click on these adverts that Google display on our site and pay us for and in effect keep this site free for you"?

Would that be against TOS? ;)

Scott

6:25 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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of course it's an incentive. It lets teh user believe that to be able to visit your wonderful site in the future he needs to click on the ad. Irrespective if he want's to buy a widget or even cares what it says on the ad.

The ads are for people who want to buy widgets. what has supportign your site to do with buying widgets?

SN

6:58 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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The issue here is intent of the person clicking the advertisement. If they intend to learn more about the advertiser and click on your google ad to go and visit the advertiser site then that seems to me to be legitimate.

All the studies and feedback about online advertising seem to show that people tend not to click on banners, or learn to ignore them. There are some benefits with Google Ads that I can see. They tend to be very targetted to the page you are reading, therefore more likely to be of interest.

I would think that advertisers would want you to encourage legitimate people to visit them - that is the point of advertising, right

I can see how saying "Keep this site free - click here" would not be appropriate. It encourages people to click regardless of a persons interest in the advertiser. 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".

All you are doing is drawing peoples attention to the google ad a bit more. You are not requiring people to click them to see their content, or are not paying people to click them.

As for incentives I think this means something where your visitors get something in return for clicking - whether $ or some other benefit. Example: (this will probably be deleted) [yourfreedvds.com...] (I am not an affiliate with them, but I have used them). They have tons of companies they are affiliates of. For offers you sign up for they give you DVD points (an incentive) which in turn you can use to "purchase" free DVDs which are valued at different amounts of DVD points. If they offered 1 (or whatever) DVD point each time you clicked on a google ad then this would be wrong, in my opinion.

edited to change a word to more accurately convey thought.

7:05 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I can see how saying "Keep this site free - click here" would not be appropriate. It encourages people to click regardless of a persons interest in the advertiser.

This is nonsense! Why? Because:

A. google adsense banners are context sensitive, so they relate to the content of the page

B. readers are interested in this area/topic, which they are actually reading at given page, and the banner is related to this content so by induction they are interested in the content of the banner. therefore advertisers always benefits from such clicks because anyway such users are intersted in this topic! and by clicking they get acquanted with the advertiser - clear profit for the advertiser.

so I wish that Google would say clearly whether texts encouraging to click are allowed or not. All I can see here is a bunch of people who are speculating! GoogleGuy are you somewhere out there?

7:16 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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As an Adwords advertiser I have to say that I do not regard any sort of "support our site" plea as a good thing.

If this becomes common (I check by searchng on "ads by google") I will make that single click that disables AdSense for any of our ads.

At the moment, as far as I can tell, AdSense is working well. It is appearing on quality sites, and generally in such a way as to attract serious callers only. If this changes I doubt I'll be the only one to opt out.

7:21 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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<<Sorry but I dont think that a "support our site by visiting our advertisers" is a fraudulent click.>>

As an Adwords advertiser I do not want any "help" from site owners ... if my ad copy does not connect with the visitor by itself, then that person is not a good prospect for what I'm promoting and you are NOT doing me any favours by encouraging people to click.

Just make sure the ads are well-positioned on your page, and leave it at that.

7:25 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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With all due respect I think there are ways to encourage "quality clicks" (that after all is the issue - advertisers shouldnt pay for random people clicking through to "keep a site free").

Perhaps a page explaining how Google Adsense adverts are related to the content on a specific page would let users know that Google has deemed these advertisers relevant.

Surely that would be a quality click and much more likely to lead to a sale?

BTW, do advertisers get stats on what sites they get leads from? It would be interesting to find out the sales conversion on people click through Adsense ads.

Scott

7:37 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Marketing Guy: I agree, a lot of websites I've looked at have had a "what are these ads by google thingies" section and I have no problem with that at all.

Its probably impossible to put it in black and white, but basically what I want are clicks from people interested in OUR products. Not people who want to help out the webmaster of the content site.

Its the biggest problem that I can see with CPC on content websites, users of those sites tend to be loyal - the better the website the more loyal they are - and most know that clicking on ads helps out the site (I've done it myself to be honest).

This is fine, even a good thing, if its CPM, but CPC simply doesn't work like that. I would much rather pay 1 for a handful of targeted clicks than 100 for a load of people who feel they ought to. Sure its possible that a few might become customers, but IMO it doesn't work out like that.

PS. My Adwords stats are limited, I cannot even tell the difference between AdSense clicks and those from other networks running Adwords on content sites - as far as banning goes its all or nothing.

7:56 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Its probably impossible to put it in black and white, but basically what I want are clicks from people interested in OUR products. Not people who want to help out the webmaster of the content site.

On second thought I agree - I also want my readers/users/visitors to have some benefit from AdSense banners, not just "click to support the site" or "click to save the whales from extinction"... why? because then those users will feel that they got some real benefit from visiting my site, even if it was by clicking the adsense link!

... I am in process of removing texts encouraging to click on adsense banners to support something. Let the banners speak for themselves. And I am satisfied with my CTR that is between 1 % and 2 % - out of this big number of impressions that I have it is not bad.

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