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Major changes made to AdSense Policies

May not run AdSense on prescription drug, tobacco or alcohol sites

     
8:17 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Not much makes me go "wow" when I read changed policies, but today's policies update certainly did. This one is pretty significant, and will require publishers to remove AdSense across entire sites. And remember, when you agree to the terms, you agree to the policies as well, so everyone must ensure they are in compliance.

I will start with the "site may not include" section, since this is the one that will have the biggest impact.

Site may not include...

Incentives (monetary or point-based) to users to click on links or ads while visiting a site containing Ads

This is a new one, and is highlighted by a recently suspended publisher who just did this, by posting on a third party message board, asking people to visit his site as well as the sponsors.

Sales or promotion of certain weapons, such as firearms, ammunition, balisongs, butterfly knives, and brass knuckles

No surprise here, Adwords has strict rules regarding this.

Sales or promotion of beer or hard alcohol

I have heard of publishers being asked to remove AdSense from beer-related sites. It would appear that wine is excluded from this list, though.

Sales or promotion of tobacco or tobacco-related products

Interesting, since I know one publisher who asked about running AdSense specifically on a tobacco site, and was given the go-ahead by the AdSense team.

Sales or promotion of prescription drugs

Ouch. This will probably affect the most publishers with these new changes, since many affiliates monetize additionally through AdSense.

Violence, racial intolerance, or advocate against any individual, group, or organization

This used to include "Hate", but it has been removed.

Ad Placement

Clicks on Google ads must not result in a new browser window being launched.

This has come up recently, as webmasters were having AdSense open in a new browser window (without altering the AdSense script). This has officially been added to the policies as a do not do this.

I must say that these new policy changes will affect the greatest number of publishers than any of the policy updates previously.

8:25 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Awesome! I have a widgets site and it has 1 prescription page I just spend a long a** time writing since I didn't want to get sued for bad information. Big bids on it too, crap.

Now, since this is part of the overall "widgets" category can I keep adsense on this page. Some of the ads are targetted to "widgets" which is fine and some are targetted towards "prescription for widgets". Do I now have to dump adsense from the page that sometimes has prescription ads?

Google should just automatically deliver relevant, yet non prescription ads. What do I do?

8:30 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I was not asked to agree to these new conditions when I logged into my account?

Is it automatic or does it pop up infront of you like they normally do?

8:39 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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That's a good point. I am new to Adsense so how do they normally notify advertisers of changes their TOS?
8:50 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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jenstar, are we talking about sites or pages?
8:50 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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When they make changes to the terms, you are prompted to agree to them before you can have access to your account.

From the terms:

Program Participation. Participation in the Program is subject to Google prior approval and Your continued compliance with the Program Policies ("Program Policies"), located at [google.com...] or such other URL as Google may provide from time to time.

Parties' Responsibilities. You are solely responsible for the Site(s), including all content and materials, maintenance and operation thereof, the proper implementation of Google's specifications, and adherence to the terms of this Agreement, including compliance with the Program Policies.

Prohibited Uses. You shall not...(viii) act in any way that violates any Program Policies posted on the Google Web Site, as may be revised from time to time.

They don't normally give a heads up when they update the policies though. But fortunately, you all have Jenstar to alert you to the updates ;)

9:08 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Clicks on Google ads must not result in a new browser window being launched.

All of with ads on your phpBB2 had better check your ads then. I believe that that is the default.

9:17 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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All of with ads on your phpBB2 had better check your ads then. I believe that that is the default.

I don't believe it is, it opens in the same browser window.

9:30 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Maybe I have an older version then. But all onsite links stay in the same window and all offsite links open a new window (and that was not of my design). So people should check theirs to make sure.
9:37 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Jen...appreciate the heads up:)
9:37 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Incentives (monetary or point-based) to users to click on links or ads while visiting a site containing Ads

This is great! A very bad trend recently: sites indirectly encouraging people to click on ads (without explicitly saying so). These are often "membership" sites where they tell members: the more you use our site, the bigger your chances to win cash prizes. Which results in a disproportionate number of searches on high-value keywords and subsequent clicks on ads.

I've been complaining to Google a lot about this.

9:47 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Any idea if a site talking about barware and bar accessories would be deemed to be "promoting" alcohol?

Given the potential wine exception, would this be different for wine accessories?

MQ

10:03 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Good stuff Jenstar : )
10:04 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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How about a directory site that simply lists other sites that may pertain to alcohol, tobacco or other "bad" things?

Must AdSense be removed from those pages or is it still allowed under the TOS changes?

Oh, and thanks for the heads-up Jenstar... there is still no notification of TOS changes when I log in.

10:11 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Jenstar, you are correct. Links in posts are set to open a new window by default but Google ads in the headers should be OK. I've never clicked on an ad in the forums so I have no idea where they go. But if you click on the 'ads by google' that does open in a new window so I just assumed that the ads would too would. But they don't.
1:44 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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When they make changes to the terms, you are prompted to agree to them before you can have access to your account.

I just logged in to my account and there isn't anywhere asking me to agree or not. That means Iíve already agreed with these terms or conditions as I believe these conditions are nothing new. Now, they just emphasized and made the clearer.

Has anyone here agreed these terms when you logged in today?

1:58 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Incentives (monetary or point-based) to users to click on links or ads while visiting a site containing Ads

What if I ask my visitors: "Buy blue widgets so the red widgets could remain free". Blue widgets would be a direct link to a product, not PPC link. Is this considered as incentive?
1:59 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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didn't see anything when i logged in. no email from adsense either.
2:04 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Sales or promotion of prescription drugs

Wonder if that means we cannot have one page related to a review of a drug, even though the entire site is dedicated to an entirely different topic but to which this drug is commonly known.

2:27 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Visit Thailand: I wondered the same thing. I emailed google and I will post their response.
2:58 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Clicks on Google ads must not result in a new browser window being launched.

Better go test all my ads now then ...

( jokes ). Bit hard to test for compliance on this one.

3:00 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have two pages that discuss prescription medications as a treatment for two separate condtions. I guess I'm lucky by the fact that I already have sponsors for these pages and therefore do not run AdSense on them.

However, I looked at the AdSense ads on my pages that are related. Pages that discuss these conditions but do not talk about prescription solutions.

One of the AdSense ads I saw running on my pages was for a site selling a prescription medication for the treatment of condition that the page discusses. So what gives. We can't discuss prescription meds but AdWords advertisers can sell these meds on our sites?

3:24 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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AdWords advertisers can sell these meds on our sites?

There are several steps that pharmacies must go through in order to advertise through Adwords. Regular affiliates cannot advertise through Adwords.

More info here:
[google.com...]

3:36 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Ouch, I had considered putting some home brewing stuff on my handyman site, and maybe curing instructions for home-grown tobacco. I came across an old book a few weeks ago with woodwork projects for home wine/cider makers (make you own winepress and the like) that I was also considering adapting some ideas from.

I'm also planning a gardening site and would have to watch that. I have tobacco growing in the garden, and have collected recipes for orgainc sprays using it.

I guess I should watch wineries etc on my travel site too, or at least even if they are okay to refrain from straying into breweries and distilleries.

3:49 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Jenstar, would have missed this without you.
No propmt when i logged in also.
5:13 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Just noticed the following in the "new" policy. Don't seem to recall it there before:
Under "Ad Placement"
"Up to three ad units may be displayed on each Web site page, but no ad unit shall contain any advertisement in common with any other ad unit. Serving two or more identical ads on a single page constitutes double-serving, which Google does not support." (nope it WAS there before - just checked my original which I printed out last month)

Okay, are they talking TYPEs of ad UNITS (in which case they should get their act together and use the right terminology that THEY defined)? Like you can't have more than one 120x600 skyscrapers on the same page? Otherwise, how can WE ensure that "no ad unit shall contain any advertisement in common with any other ad unit", when G is the one serving the ads? And I HAVE seen this happen a few times recently where the same ad is running in two different ad units on the same page of my site. Could G be in violation of their own TOS for doing that? ;-)

[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 5:37 am (utc) on Dec. 7, 2004]

5:22 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"Up to three ad units may be displayed on each Web site page, but no ad unit shall contain any advertisement in common with any other ad unit. Serving two or more identical ads on a single page constitutes double-serving, which Google does not support."

It has been there for quite some time. The "same" ads you see is likely affiliates using standard issue (or copied) Adwords text with slightly different URLs to reflect each affiliate's landing page.

3:22 pm on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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never got an email re: these new term changes from google, nor anything on the account login screen. How did they sneak these changes in? And why nothing sent to publishers?
5:38 pm on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Jen, I would have missed this one. No email, no sign in message. Pulled AdSense off a "drinks" page with some alcoholics on it.
9:26 pm on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Just got an email back from AdSense support. My site which gives information about a certain prescription, but doesn't recommend or sell it is okay. Good news for me and others I'm sure.
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