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December 10, 2004

Adwords advertisers have a voice in getting AdSense removed

If Google Adwords advertisers see their ads running through the AdSense content network on less-than-desirable sites, apparently it only takes a few of them to be publicly vocal about it before the ads get pulled.

The site in question, vioxx.x.yi.org, gained notariety last month when Senator Orrin Hatch used it in a Senate Finance Committee hearing as an example of extreme steps lawyers were willing to take to get potential Vioxx lawsuit cases. But what he didn't realize is that the site was an AdSense publisher, and all those advertisers on the page were not even aware their ads were running there. And those that did were not happy about finding their ads there, according to an article last week at the legal news site Law.com

Todd Schneider was incensed. Schneider says his San Francisco firm, Schneider & Wallace, was linked to the "million dollars" site without his knowledge. "We believe their Web site is immoral, illegal and unethical," he said.

Some lawyers went as far as contacting Google to get their ads removed from the "Make Your Millions with Vioxx Lawsuit" site, says NYLawyer.com

Worried that the site created an ethical liability, several lawyers -- including Kenneth Suggs, president-elect of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America -- wrote letters to Google requesting that the ads be removed.
Google would not confirm how many complaints were received, but it only took about a week for action.

As of Thursday, law firm ads on vioxx.x.yi.org had been replaced with public service links. Friday, the site contained no Google ads at all.

And while the website in question still has the AdSense javascript to run three AdSense ad units, visitors see "You are not authorized to view this page" messages within the three iframes. It also raises an interesting question about advertisers bound to ethical ad guidelines who advertise via Google Adwords with the content network enabled. Since advertisers have no control over where their ads appear, this could result in disciplinary action being taken against the advertiser. However, Google also shows willingness to work with advertisers, which may actually result in more advertisers willing to try advertising through the content network. If these advertisers have a voice in getting their ads removed from undesirable sites - and preventing those publishers from showing ads on those pages - it will only benefit both programs in the long run... unless you have one of those undesirable sites, of course ;)

Posted by Jenstar at December 10, 2004 05:37 PM

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So it's okay to actually MAKE millions off a Vioxx suit...you just can't advertise and SAY you're going to make millions off a Vioxx suit. They're right...that's truly revolting that someone would actually advertise for what they are trying to do.

Posted by: stuntdubl at December 13, 2004 08:30 AM

I ahve considered pulling my Adwords ads out of the content network because there are so many low quality sites displaying Adsesne. Let's face it; if you're trying to build a brand Adsense is not helping as long as their are so many bad sites using it.

Posted by: James Trotta at December 13, 2004 07:16 PM