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Google Adsense Updated Program Policy

google adsense program policy

     
1:34 pm on Apr 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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[adsense.blogspot.com...]

i think the most important one is this:

Deceptive implementations: We've clarified this policy a bit in the 'Encouraging Clicks' section of the program policies - ads may not be formatted in a way that makes them indistinguishable from other content on the page where they appear.

Encouraging Clicks

# Format ads so that they become indistinguishable from other content on that page.
# Format site content so that it is difficult to distinguish it from ads.

does it mean that we cannot blend the ads with page style?if yes then it is ver bad

2:07 pm on Apr 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I suggest you search out jensense's blog for her analysis on the changes this time round. She points out some interesting stuff. (including one thing I was already doing that is apparently now specifically allowed - I had no idea it may not have been before!)
4:15 pm on Apr 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I think that this is very import questions to discuss because probably 95% publisher blend Adsense into website.

Jennifer Slegg (Jensense) is also not sure and say: "And wow, those last two additions are HUGE and can have major implications to many publishers who have perfected the blended technique, especially those who use blended with wrapping text around the ad units. The key will be just about how blended they can be. I will try and get followup from Google regarding this, because this could potentially put a lot of publishers in violations of the policies, depending on how much wiggle room there is in the “format site content so that it is difficult to distinguish it from ads”. Just wow."

It will be good to get response here to know what Google team means with “format site content so that it is difficult to distinguish it from ads”. Probably a couple example or something more will be great to know.
It is more confuse because by this post
[adsense.blogspot.com...]

suggest to matching color of your site "Your AdSense ad units should complement your overall site design, not detract from the user experience. Ad units that mirror the look and feel of your site can surprisingly increase the effectiveness of your ads. Blending ad colors into the background of your site can soften ad appearance and combat ad blindness, while the 'Ads by Goooooogle' branding distinguishes AdSense ad units from your site content.

Simply matching the background color to the area of site implementation can help increase click-through rate. We recommend creating a custom color palette theme on your site to accentuate title, information text, and URL color. For example, say your site has a white background, black borders and grey text. When generating your ad code on the 'Ad Layout' page of your account, you might customize your color palette to use white borders, a white background, black headings and grey text when generating your ad code"

7:23 am on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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So which one will we follow? Inside Adsense or the program policy?
8:33 am on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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An even more blended recommendation, look at the screenshot here: [adsense.blogspot.com ]

They do say indistinguishable, so if a normal user (i.e. not a geek or very sophisticated user) can tell the ads apart from the content, then they should be fine.

The policies have changed over time, so I do not think we can rely on old recommendations to be still safe.

The content rules are worse. Taken literally they would mean any article about racism, or a science site with an article on the medical uses of marijuana, or
a business news site with an article on a casino operator or a general news site reporting on a war would be banned from adsense.

I am sure that is not what they mean, but unless they clarify their wording, we cannot be sure what they do mean.

10:01 am on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I am really confused by this sentences;

# Format ads so that they become indistinguishable from other content on that page.
# Format site content so that it is difficult to distinguish it from ads.

I hope google is just referring to this kind of "indistinguishable" ad from content; [adsense.blogspot.com...]

10:05 am on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Great, and I was in a writing mood this morning...

It happens only occasionally!

Now I've got to go and check if any of my ads are "too" blended.

11:08 am on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Selling text links to casinos, gambling sites, prescription drug sites is now a violation

Great! That should take a lot of low quality sites out of Adsense if this rule is properly implemented.

To gambling, casinos and drugs if we could only add credit repair, car insurance, mortgages, loan consolidation, dating etc...

OK, OK, only kidding, I know a lot of you have sites in those areas. :)

11:47 am on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Some parts of this are worrying, to say the least ... and I'm only a very small player. If I were earning the money that some people are earning here I would be very concerned.

As has been pointed out above, Google has recommended blending several times in the past. I've just checked Google's current 'Examples of placements on a page' for 300x250 rectangles and one example shows the text flowing around a floating ad block.

But in Jensense's blog it says, "The publisher may not: Place ads in a floating box script." Does that mean that text can no longer flow around ad blocks even though that is what Google is currently recommending elsewhere?

There just seem to be so many contradictions between what we have been told in the past and what we are being told now. It is all very ambiguous as to what is allowed and what isn't.

Worst of all, Jensense points out that there has been a change to how Google will deal with publishers it thinks are not complying with the policies.

The bit about 'working with publishers' has gone and it just says: "If you fail to comply with these policies, we reserve the right to disable ad serving to your site and/or disable your AdSense account at any time. If your account is disabled, you will not be eligible for further participation in the AdSense program."

Great. I have a feeling that one day my AdSense account will just be disabled for no clear given reason and I will have no recourse in getting it reinstated.

What am I supposed to do now? Maybe use fluorescent text and put bright coloured borders around all my ad blocks just to make sure that they cannot possibly be construed as being blended? It will ruin the look of my sites but that would be better than risking my account.

I have worked to 'blend' my ads not so that they deceive but so that they fit in with the overall look of the page. If I was deceiving then I might expect a high CTR but that isn't the case so the way I have done things isn't deceiving readers.

Without clear examples I find this all very confusing and open to too much interpretation.

12:08 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Here is my fool proof anti blending solution that I made a little earlier, and share freely with you guys.
(put above 336x 280 box advert)
Anti Blender [img142.imageshack.us]

Sleep easy and enjoy!
(your ctr plummet!)

12:08 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Google has always reserved the right to just kill the account with no questions asked.
12:20 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks dawnstar, that'll do the trick ...
12:41 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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@Jaideemaak I don't think they mean that sort of float, I think they mean a box that always stays in view, no matter where you scroll up or down. It would be calling undue attention to the ads, I Guess.
2:47 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Is it allowed if we keep our ads blended but state "Sponsored Links" or something above them?
2:52 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Who knows? It's the ambiguity of it that's the problem.
Where is the line drawn?
If links on your site are blue can your adsense ad titles be blue, is that blending?
4:54 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Mr. ASA! Where art thou? Many of us are very worried this morning! Many of us have followed the guidelines, and blended our ads. Is this no longer allowed? We need to know!
5:58 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Given all the links and advice which contradict each other, I am utterly confused. There must be some way to clarify the parameters via visual examples, a video, a seminar, or some other mode by which the confusing signals sent to us over the months/years can be clarified for those of us who operate in good faith.
7:15 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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@leadegroot,

It says floating box "script". Says nothing about a div with position:fixed....

I wonder if it might mean those annoying pop-up like divs that float across the page on some sites?

I am begining to wonder if Google knows, or even cares exactly what it means - what it boils down to is that if they think your site is misleading, or undesirable, you get kicked out of adsense. It is, as oddsod says, at their discretion.

7:48 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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what it boils down to is that if they think your site is misleading, or undesirable, you get kicked out of adsense. It is, as oddsod says, at their discretion.

Yes, and you aren't likely to have anything to worry about if you've got a legitimate site with intrinsically useful content that will pass the small test. OTOH, if your typical page has 100 words of semi-boilerplate content in the AdSense text font, that content is surrounded by the maximum number of AdSense ad units, those ad units look like part of the navigation scheme, and you feel queasy every time you hear the words "manual review," then maybe you've got reason to be concerned.

In a nutshell: If you're afraid that something might look deceptive, then there's a good chance that is deceptive, and common sense should tell you not to do it.

8:01 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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In a nutshell: If you're afraid that something might look deceptive, then there's a good chance that is deceptive, and common sense should tell you not to do it.

That is besides the point. If you are told to "blend" your ads in multiple blogs and posts and now told not to blend them, then there is a lack of clarity which is relevant for all who take aesthetics into consideration when designing thousands of pages full of content. That is a huge oversimplification for those who have enormous amounts of content and only wish to work according to the rules. All people are asking for is clarity and perhaps examples.

10:51 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Or in a nutshell google god wants us to create websites with ads that jump out of the page, slap the visitor round the face and force them to wear sunglasses if they want to continue reading the content and don't forget we should be making sites for visitors not for google :o
11:00 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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don't forget we should be making sites for visitors not for google

Hooray, someone finally hit the nail on the head. Never put the cart before the horse.

11:28 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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All people are asking for is clarity and perhaps examples.

Clarity isn't always feasible. Take the issue of "blending": Site A and Site B might use the same degree of blending, but the nature of the content and the audience could make blended ads more of a problem than on one site than on the other. Ultimately, it probably comes down to things like clickthrough vs. conversion rates, a reviewer's "smell test," and the publisher's judgment (or the lack thereof).

12:17 am on May 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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So slap a border around something if you're so worried.

It's not really in Google's interest to advise or insist on something that will significantly reduce CTR, now is it?

1:54 am on May 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I agree with signor_john...

One the one hand we have informative sites that blend 5% advertisement content along withgreat content.

On the other hand we have sites containing 95% advertisements blended in with 5 words of content.

9:10 am on May 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Terms come and go, what is constant is Google's prime directive to protect advertisers: Clicks must result from genuine user interest, read that aloud till it sticks.

Anything understood to contradict the above, even if coming from a Google employee should be ignored, unless of course you can get your layout officially autographed and notarized.

If you'd like to add contradicting terms under your belt as a tool in case you get banned, you are a fool gambling with odds fixed against you from the day you agreed to the TOS.

If you're genuinely concerned about Google's quality of communication take a number, that could very well be the legal dept. throwing a wrench into the gears when the marketing were out for lunch and the techies were on the roof smoking medicinal herbs.


So slap a border around something if you're so worried

netmeg, looks like even a border is not enough in some cases, look at the following in Firefox but stop the page before it finishes loading otherwise it redirects to an error:
www.google.com/adsense/support/?fulldump=1
Look under Aligning images with ads

For everyone seeking visual examples of what not to do, do a text search for every occurrence of: "unacceptable implementation", plenty there.

10:13 am on May 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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# Format ads so that they become indistinguishable from other content on that page.
# Format site content so that it is difficult to distinguish it from ads.

The key term is indistinguishable. Nobody say that blend is not allowed anymore and i do not see any reason to believe that what Google said before about 'acceptable' is now become unacceptable. See Google example below for acceepable:

1)
"For those of you concerned about our optimization tips, we still recommend integrating your ad units and link units with your page content or navigation, in order to offer your users relevant ads in addition to the content they normally see. Here are a few examples of acceptable implementations:"
[bp3.blogger.com...]

2)
And here is still what they mean with not acceptable and "indistinguishable from other content on that page.":
[adsense.blogspot.com...]

"Ads should be easily distinguishable from surrounding content.
Similarly, you should not place an ad unit by a group of links that has identical colors and line spacing. Doing so may cause users to think the ad unit is content created by you. In this situation, we recommend using a different color for the ad titles or indenting the ad unit to help distinguish the ads from your own content. This screenshot shows an implementation that does not follow this guideline:"

[bp3.blogger.com...]

or here

[google.com...]

[edited by: martinibuster at 5:25 pm (utc) on May 6, 2009]
[edit reason] Fixed links. [/edit]

10:57 am on May 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Regarding this line in the content guidelines...

"Any other content that is illegal, promotes illegal activity or infringes on the legal rights of others"

Can I still link to youtube.com and i am refering specifically to "infringes on the legal rights of others"

lol

1:06 pm on May 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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dolcevita thank you very much for digging those links out for us. I have to be honest I had not seen them and now I have seen them it is very clear what is allowed and not allowed.

It also comforted me in knowing that my spending all afternoon changing the colours of fonts in my ad units (Just to be double safe side) was not a waste of time.

Do these things come in 3's

1st I had to go through all the privacy policies
2nd Review all the ad units to check none are misrepresented
3rd Who knows!

Any guesses?

2:16 pm on May 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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serious question...
im clearly reading that you can put adsense in iframes and on other sites as long as they are in compliance.
so shouldn't i be able to put AS in the iGoogle Gadgets so it shows when someone goes to their google personalized account? after all, its just an iframed page.
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