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Is it too sneaky?
Say the context doesn't have obvious or natural links (top left or header navigation links), and links are hard to find. You land on the page and you only see underlined links from Google ads.
Clever scheme, but a little too clever.
Of course this could be used for deceptive reasons as well, but I don't see that being connected with the underlining issue. In fact half the world is probably careful to make AdSense links look exactly the SAME as site links, the better to garner those not-paying-close-attention clicks.
[edited by: jomaxx at 5:44 pm (utc) on Jan. 28, 2008]
Or design/style is no longer allowed, and all adsense publishers get one universal design/style by Google.
Or all the publishing in the future will be done by txt-format. Youtube would be interesting if done only by txt-means. ;-D
And just look at the majority of the websites, most of them do not use underlining.
Of course everything can be used to "lure clicks" (not related domainname, etc).
And menus look messy/not-clear with underlined links.
And why the hell aren't the urls in AdSense Ads underlined? That clearly is criminal of Google.
I always hated it since it didn't blend with the rest, but I lived with it. I never tried to be clever and actually thought the lack of blending would reduce CTR, which is pretty low anyway (nothing that wouldn't pass the sniff test). Maybe pure blending would actually perform better.
I wouldn't necessarily detect clever scheming when there isn't, unless the links have the same color as normal text around the page, then that would be a cheap trick indeed.
I've seen sites with non-underlined links that were easy to recognize as links.
I've also seen sites with non-underlined links that were almost impossible to identify as links.
I'm guessing that the site described by Potentialgeek falls into the second camp.