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New line of code in AdSense javascript reveals channel name in plain text

When AdSense came back up from their maintenaince Saturday night, they have added a brand new line into the AdSense javascript, one which reveals the custom channel name in plain text, along with the date the javascript was generated.

So, this javascript generated today with the channel name “adsensechannel” now includes the new line below (bolding by me).

<script type="text/javascript"><!–
google_ad_client = "pub-123456789123456";
google_ad_width = 728;
google_ad_height = 90;
google_ad_format = "728x90_as";
google_ad_type = "text";
//2006-09-24: adsensechannel
google_ad_channel ="3646665071";
google_color_border = "FFFFFF";
google_color_bg = "FFFFFF";
google_color_link = "0033FF";
google_color_text = "800080";
google_color_url = "800080";
//–></script>
<script type="text/javascript"
src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js">
</script>

I am not exactly sure how I feel about this. If I was generating it for a site today, I would be very tempted to remove that line because sometimes what I name my channels can be pretty revealing to competitors, namely because those channels were always encoded before and I didn’t have to worry about what they said. It will now also be a lot easier for a competitor to track down what pages I am tracking together for testing purposes, since before it was a lot more difficut not to mention time consuming to do this when working with the string of numbers alone.

However, technically, you are not permitted to remove this single line as per the AdSense terms, since you are not permitted to change the javascript from what is generated within the AdSense control panel.

Also, I noted when generating that new channel, it didn’t take me to a new page to add a new channel name, it prompted a script box to open where I could type the new channel name, and then it updated the javascript with the new name immediately after hitting OK.

And the new channels reporting page is set up so you can easily toggle between the AdSense for content, AdSense for search and AdSense referrals tabs of channel names, which they announced on the Inside AdSense blog on Thursday night.

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2 comments to New line of code in AdSense javascript reveals channel name in plain text

  • Yeah – my first reaction was around privacy/competition also.

    btw – the popup enabling you to add channels without leaving the page has been in operation since April. They slipped it in pretty quietly.

  • feedbuzzard

    A way around the problem you point out without violating the TOS is to create the channel (that I can think of), generate the ad, place the ad on your site, then go back into google and rename the channel.

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