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In the AdSense Program Policies it says:
[...] We do allow affiliate or limited-text links."
What constitutes a 'limited-text link'? Is it a technical term or does Google mean it in a general sense? How limited is 'limited'?
It also says:
"Text-based ads, for this situation, can be loosely defined as ads that mimic AdWords ads or appear to be associated with AdWords ads on your site."
Does that mean that all textual ads which do not mimic AdWords ads and do not appear to be associated with them are allowed?
"To answer your second question; no it would not be acceptable to run AdSense ads along with ads from www.textads.biz. We do not permit AdWords ads to be published on web pages that also contain what could be
considered competing ads. This would include all content-targeted ads as well as text-based ads. Text-based ads, for this situation, can be loosely defined as ads that mimic AdWords ads or appear to be associated with AdWords ads on your site"
I think they're more or less within their rights to have this sort of semi-exclusivity clause... just that it seems inconsistent:
1) They say text-based ads are 'competing' ads.
2)Then, they say, oh, alright then, not all text-based ads, obviously, just the ones that appear to be associated with Adsense or mimic Adsense.
3) Then they say limited text links are okay.
What on earth is a limited text link?
Why are these not 'text based'? Why, apparently, can't such a link mimic AdSense or be made to appear as if it is associated with AdSense (because if it could, surely it wouldn't be okay)?
What constitutes mimickry or association in this instance?
What does limited mean? Less than the number of words in a typical Adsense panel? Or does it mean limited in some sense other than length?
Obviously the reason I'm asking these questions is because I would like to feature promotional links on my webpages other than those provided by AdSense and at the same time I wish to stick to the AdSense guidelines... but the line on competitive ads at the moment seems to be blurry at best.
....and someone scolded me on another topic for suggesting Google was being monopolistic ;-)
There's nothing "monopolistic" about an ad network demanding exclusivity. I'm pretty sure that Burst won't let you display FastClick or Tribal Fusion banners alongside its banners, either.
You have the option of accepting AdSense's terms or of finding another advertising partner. AdSense isn't the only game in town, after all.
But you are right about being able to go elsewhere. I don't think any of the other dozen or so companies doing this particular type of advertising mind if you show ads from multiple sources.
As for allowing big corporate-owned sites to run competing text ads, there's a good reason for that, too: Google is working closely with those advertising partners, and it can afford to invest time in determining (and negotiating) what forms of other advertising are or aren't acceptable. With smaller sites, it simply isn't cost-effective to give that level of one-on-one attention, so a conservative blanket policy has to apply.
Personally, I think it's great that Google is trying to maintain some kind of control (however modest) over the types of sites and pages where AdSense ads can run. I'd like to see Google become more restrictive, not less, to ensure the credibility and long-term success of the AdSense network.
Believe me when I say I absolutely hate sites that are nothing but ads and agree with you 100 percent :-)
But some sites carry more than one advertisement and are done very tactfully. I just can't see why a site cannot have maybe two advertisements and one be from Google and the other from Overture.
I'm not sure I agree with the reasons why big sites can do it and little ones can't. It seems quite a few little sites have been repremanded for violating the TOC which means if they put enough man power behind trying to find violations then they could also allow tasteful multi source advertising since there would be no extra work on their part.
It seems quite a few little sites have been repremanded for violating the TOC which means if they put enough man power behind trying to find violations then they could also allow tasteful multi source advertising since there would be no extra work on their part.
Most of the "reprimands" have involved fraudulent clicks, which can be monitored through software. Even the warnings can be (and probably are) sent automatically.
Google's business model is built around automated processes that can be scaled up almost infinitely. If Google had chosen to go the Overture route of limiting participation to larger sites, human monitoring might be practical--but AdSense is more like the Amazon.com associates program than a traditional ad network, so it has to rely on automated methods--which could very well include bots that look for competing ads.
Again, there are many revenue options available to Web publishers, and publishers who don't like the AdSense TOS can--and should--go elsewhere.