Allowed sites now an option in AdSense

When I did my presentation at SES San Jose a few weeks ago, I added a new section on protecting your AdSense account. And one of the things I mentioned was the potential for someone to take your AdSense code and place it on an inappropriate website in order to damage the entire AdSense account. And I suggested that anyone who finds their account suspended to confirm with Google that their own list of domains matches what Google has as well, especially if it is an issue with one specific site.

And it isn’t farfetched… this did happen to at least one person, but his account was reinstated after proving the site with his code actually wasn’t his. And because AdSense does not offer an option to list sites running AdSense or a setting that would allow you to run adds only on your chosen sites, publishers were out of luck.

Well, Google was listening this time around (although I have mentioned this repeatedly to Google over the past couple of years) and publishers now have a new tab in the AdSense account called “Allowed Sites”. It actually showed up in accounts on August 28th for about half a day, before being re-added on August 31st. Under AdSense Setup tab, click the “Allowed Sites” link.

And Google is acknowledging that this is a concern for publishers. From their help center:

We’ve added the Allowed Sites feature because we’ve learned that some AdSense publishers are concerned about potentially malicious behavior from others on the web, such as stealing their ad code and placing it on an inappropriate site. By offering this feature, we allow AdSense publishers more control over which sites or URLs can have their AdSense code.

The two selections in the account are “Allow any site to show ads for my account” or “Only allow certain sites to show ads for my account”. Then you get the option of adding domains or subdomains to your approve list.

If you belong to any revenue sharing forums or blogs, be sure to include those URLs in the allowed list. But do be aware that your ads will no longer show on cached copy pages or unless you add those URLs as well (including all the Google cache IP addresses).

However, there is one VERY odd thing about this new feature. If your AdSense code is on a site that is not on your approved list, ads will still show. Which means while your ads are displayed, you won’t get any revenue from the clicks (or show impressions either). I think a better option would have been to show PSAs or alternate ads if one is specified, although I suppose that might not be the best option for user experience, although it might mean we get to see some new PSAs other than the Katrina fund one.

I wonder how many people will actually use this feature though. I know I have sites that I have left dormant for some time now but are still earning a tidy sum each day. I could easily forget about one or two of them when using this feature.

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