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AdSense Program Policies Updated

January 17, 2007

     
3:09 am on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



The AdSsense Program Policies [google.com] have been updated.
3:32 am on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I wish I knew what the old one looked like.

From reading it I see that I'm breaking at least 4 of the rules as are most websites with adsense.

'You may not contruct your website to get better search rankings' - ok, everyone stop using adsense.

3:47 am on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I believe the exact wording is:

"Sites displaying Google ads may not include:
Deceptive or manipulative content or construction to improve your site's search engine ranking, e.g., your site's PageRank"

5:14 am on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



No Google ad may be placed on pages published specifically for the purpose of showing ads, whether or not the page content is relevant.]

I assume that for the purpose of showing ads includes having no content other than PPC ads and links.
8:44 am on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



Here's something new:

Up to two referral units from each referral product or offering may be displayed on a page

Was previously One referral product per page.

1:08 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The updated terms of service include a number of changes, but one large item that I'm absolutely outraged by.

First, the smaller items, summarized from a blog focused on contextual advertising.

Referral Products
You could have four products before, with one button or call to action for each. With the changes yesterday, you can now have buttons each, and there's no longer a limit to four.

Also, Google is no longer allowing publishers to require referrals to be used as a requirement for anything that your site offers. (Ex: Download Picasa through us to receive 10 free stock images from our archives.)

More on Images and AdSense
As a result of the last changes, they've also clarified on some of the gray areas like the use of images next to ads. You cannot use anything to force viewer's eyeballs towards the ads like arrows or graphics indicating motion.

An example of this is something I've already had to change for a client. They run a pet supplies site and had AdSense displayed in a colored table with a background graphic to match. While it had borders, etc. to separate it from the page, it had an image of a young puppy glancing up towards the ad unit. It worked great... but is no longer allowed.

AdSense for Search: SERPS
You can now have one and only one ad unit on your AdSense for search result pages. Previously, you could not use any.

There were a few others, like not using AdSense on sites that have student papers available, etc. -- but those are all pretty clear now.

The most disturbing change though is again, one that has me all worked up. It's regarding the competitive ads and services, and has a number of issues associated with it.

First, we're not allowed to have AdSense units designed in such a way that it mimics anything else on our site.

Second, we're no longer allowed to use other programs (like YPN) on the same domains as AdSense. Let me make that clear -- they're not saying we can't use them on the same page... They're saying that we cannot use them on the same SITE. It's rediculous -- and kills any oportunity that we as publishers have for testing our content for maximum monetization.

Finally, Google is really just expecting publishers to accept this and move on -- and I think it's ludicrious. The simple fact that they're no longer allowing any part of our sites (table colors, sizes, etc.) match any Google ad units is horrible.

I understand that the immediate counter to this is -- hey, they're still paying you -- you should do what they want to keep the check coming in. I get that part, but as site owners we should be able to design our sites and monetize our content as we would like to. We own our domains, Google doesn't.

1:19 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Rather than spilling hair by imposing new restrictions in the TOS just yet, why don't they enforce the old restrictions by policing MFAs? Theirs' (the MFAs) is a blatent breach of the TOS

[edited by: Scurramunga at 1:23 pm (utc) on Jan. 18, 2007]

1:36 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I think the one part is not the best phrasing, but they mean it to be: "Deceptive or manipulative content or deceptive or manipulative construction to improve your site's search engine ranking..."
1:59 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Eric_Lander:

First, we're not allowed to have AdSense units designed in such a way that it mimics anything else on our site.

Finally, Google is really just expecting publishers to accept this and move on -- and I think it's ludicrious. The simple fact that they're no longer allowing any part of our sites (table colors, sizes, etc.) match any Google ad units is horrible.

Could you pull up the exact wording for this, please? I would be very interested to discuss this here in the forum.

I can understand why they would like to see such behaviour, but in practice it may be a bit difficult to follow this rule.

3:01 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Could you pull up the exact wording for this, please? I would be very interested to discuss this here in the forum.

I can understand why they would like to see such behaviour, but in practice it may be a bit difficult to follow this rule.

Here's the new text...

Competitive Ads and Services
In order to prevent user confusion, we do not permit Google ads or search boxes to be published on websites that also contain other ads or services formatted to use the same layout and colors as the Google ads or search boxes on that site. Although you may sell ads directly on your site, it is your responsibility to ensure these ads cannot be confused with Google ads.

Please note, my assumption on running ads on the same domains is based on others' coverage of the policy. If it's off-base, I'll have a lot of back-peddling to do... quickly.

3:19 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)



Please note, my assumption on running ads on the same domains is based on others' coverage of the policy. If it's off-base, I'll have a lot of back-peddling to do... quickly.

I think you need to back-peddle, but we'll have to await clarification. The issue is whether those ads can be confused with adsense. For example, yahoo ads are clearly marked, and formated differently, so it's hard to imagine google would be concerned about confusion.

One thing I'm wondering. I took a quick look at the new TOS, and I might have missed something, but I didn't see anything that would even forbid competing ads on the same page, which was the case before. Where's the clause(s) about other contextual ads?

Like I said, I only had a quick look.

3:35 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Great post rbacal. I've begun asking around to get some further clarification on this because I took someone else's word (not Google's) while basing my opinion on it.

I guess it'll take some time before we know for sure what's going on -- but it would be nice to find out definitively.

3:36 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Eric_Lander, do your back-peddling now. The text is very clear and there is no blanket YPN ban for Adsense sites. What you should be even more worried about is something they've always had there

AdSense publishers are required to adhere to the webmaster quality guidelines posted at [google.com...]

Especially as many of those webmaster guidelines are a bit silly. And, Google can change those guidelines without even informing Adsense webmasters that they've changed.

3:38 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member play_bach is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



> Let me make that clear -- they're not saying we can't use them on the same page...
> They're saying that we cannot use them on the same SITE.

Where do they say this?

3:38 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Well, if G forces me now for the site to just look stupid (as their ads fit the color scheme nicely yet are clearly marked ads) I'll work with someone else.

Rather going through the hazzle of redesigning the site, I'll just replace G with anyone in a competitive advantageous situation to this new and stronger rule.

It's the market, it's competition. I will the hell chose what works best and Google is allowed to make mistakes in this competitive world. Even ones that will cost them publishers to jump ship.

Beautiful business that is, it's like democracy again!

3:46 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I've confirmed with Jensense (Jenstar here on WebmasterWorld) that this is a site wide issue, so I'm sticking to my guns on this. Still, it would be nice to get some specifics or a response directly from Google.

[edited by: Eric_Lander at 4:09 pm (utc) on Jan. 18, 2007]

4:04 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I like the clause in there about copywrited pages. Scrapers have long been an issue from MFA sites.....
4:12 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



What about image ads? Not that I use them, but others do along with other networks/programs.
4:13 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member play_bach is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



> this is a site wide issue

What is? I read Jen's article and she says that you now need to differentiate AdSense ads from other ads like YPN. She does not say you can't run YPN on a site that also has AdSense. Again, where does Google say this?

4:22 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I hope the spam/scrapers rubbish will get kicked out, everything else looks fine for me I guess.
4:37 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Competitive Ads and Services
In order to prevent user confusion, we do not permit Google ads or search boxes to be published on websites that also contain other ads or services formatted to use the same layout and colors as the Google ads or search boxes on that site. Although you may sell ads directly on your site, it is your responsibility to ensure these ads cannot be confused with Google ads.

This does not mean that you cannot run other ad services (YPN, CJ, Linkshare, AdBrite, etc.) on your website. It simply means that those other ads cannot mimic or look like Adsense ads.

For example, many affiliate advertisers create banners (i.e. 468x60, 120x240, etc.) that look like contextual ads. These wouldn't be allowed on the same page as Google ads.

Also, placing Adbrite or YPN contextual ads on the same page as Google Adsense ads, is against the Adsense TOS.

5:44 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



These policies are very ambiguous....

For example: They state that you cannot display Adsense adverts on pages with "mature content". What is mature content? Content aimed at mature adults?

Does this mean holidays for the over 50's are a no-no? (Sorry Saga).

Or how about Charles Dickens. His books are (generally) not suitable for children, and could be classed as having mature content, would they be considered inappropriate?

Loose definitions worry me, they provide a mechanism whereby an agency, if it so wished, could withhold payment due on the grounds that the publisher had "broken the terms of the agreement".

Matt

6:04 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



Note the phrase "formatted to use the same layout and colors as the Google ads or search boxes on that site".

To me this says that you can actually run YPN and AdSense on the same page now, as long as they are formatted distinctly. If not, I cannot find where it says that.

6:13 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)



Note the phrase "formatted to use the same layout and colors as the Google ads or search boxes on that site".

To me this says that you can actually run YPN and AdSense on the same page now, as long as they are formatted distinctly. If not, I cannot find where it says that.

That was my take on it also. If that's the case, it would be a HUGE change in policy, and one that would probably be welcomed by virtually all adsense publishers.

It's weird. The non-compete part has been there for years. It's hard to believe they would remove it and replace it with "same layout and colors" without a little more fanfare and more explicit announcement from google.

Then again, their market dominance is so good, and their competition so ineffective that I have wondered if they would relax the non-compete stuff.

Right now it's a wait and see, and hope for official public comment from G.

6:19 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Can anyone honestly say they where not a bit worried and that they do not at all feel pushed around?

Yep. I don't see anything unusual or heinous in the TOS; if anything there are positive changes. I'm not worried in the least, and hope to make even more money on referrals, which have always done pretty well for me.

6:47 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



Actually my interpretation is wrong, as there is still a line in the Terms & Conditions about it.

General.
If You have elected to receive content or Site-based Ads, You further agree not to display on any Serviced Page any non-Google content-targeted advertisement(s).
6:53 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)




Actually my interpretation is wrong, as there is still a line in the Terms & Conditions about it.

Thanks, Jomax. I figure it had to be there somewhere, but my tired old eyes didn't pick it out.

Is it on the same page as the revised TOS linked to in the first message in this thread?

(I'm asking because it's not uncommon for changes to result is some temporarily out of date pages on google).

6:58 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Note the phrase "formatted to use the same layout and colors as the Google ads or search boxes on that site".

To me this says that you can actually run YPN and AdSense on the same page now, as long as they are formatted distinctly. If not, I cannot find where it says that.

Exactly, jomaxx. My earlier reference to placing YPN and Google Adsense on the same page was in reference to both ad types being identical (which is a no-no).

But if both ad types (i.e. colors, design, etc.) are formatted different, it appears that Google is now allowing it.

7:35 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



You further agree not to display on any Serviced Page any non-Google content-targeted advertisement(s).

I can't imagine this would ever go away. It may be seen as a sign of weakness if it where to go away.

JAG

8:15 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



justageek, do you think it's possible that the bit you've mentioned is still there because they didnt get to update the T&C document just yet?

If anything, I'm happy that the new policies do allow publishers to employ other contextual ads on same pages as Google ads.

Cheers.

[edited by: jatar_k at 9:52 pm (utc) on Jan. 18, 2007]
[edit reason] no urls thanks [/edit]

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