« Google AdSense updates their Policies with the new changes | Main | 5 questions with YPN's David Zito »

August 23, 2005

AdSense policies change made for blog spam crackdown?

AdSense updated their Policies today, and one of the changes made to the incentives section of the policies states:

In addition, publishers may not bring unnatural attention to sites displaying ads through unsolicited mass emails or unwanted advertisements on third-party websites. These activities are strictly prohibited in order to avoid potential inflation of advertiser costs.

The wording of this statement is interesting - what exactly is considered an unwanted advertisement on a third party website? Three things immediately come to mind - blog spam, guestbook spam and message board spam. I suspect, however, that the main target of this addition to the policies is blog spam.

Blog spam (leaving comments on blogs that are essentially keyword and URL rich messages that have nothing to do with the content of the blog entry; also trackback spam, leaving trackbacks to URLs where there is no mention of the blog) has been getting a lot of press lately, and the timing fits perfectly with other measures Google has been taking in an attempt to stop blog spam on the Blogger network.

The second new feature that has been introduced to hopefully reduce blog comment spam is an option for a Blogger user to require word verification for comments people post on a Blogger powered blog. In other words, a person who leaves a comment will need to enter a word or letters into a box to get the comments to post.
It is also worth noting that the spam does not even have to incite clicks in any way - simply placing an unwanted advertisement on a third-party site is enough to make it a policy violation.

Will this help the blog spam issue? There are many publishers promoting websites running AdSense via blog spam. And when there is a lot of earnings at stake, it could push some publishers to cease blog spam... at least for their AdSense sites.

It will be interesting to see if AdSense will be targeting those promoting their AdSense sites via blog spam only when the dates of the comments/trackbacks are from today onwards, and not anything dont prior to now.

However, a side effect of this is that AdSense will need to be careful that the publisher is the one responsible for the blog spam. If they are suspending publishers for this, it could end up being a quick and easy way to get a publisher suspended from AdSense by those with blog spamming tools.

And it is also worth noting that YPN does not have a policy that targets this kind of spam issue specifically. So YPN could inadvertantly result in being a "safe haven" for this kind of activity unless they also make a similar change to their own terms and policies.

Posted by Jenstar at August 23, 2005 12:37 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.jensense.com/mt-tb.cgi/123

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference AdSense policies change made for blog spam crackdown?:

» AdSense policies change made for blog spam crackdown? from Luthi Anton
AdSense policies chang... [Read More]

Tracked on November 9, 2005 02:30 AM

Comments

I suspect they are doing this more to try and deter blog spam and stem the tide of people whining about their competitors than anything else.

As you pointed out - it would be ungoogle like to suspend someone just for this type of activity. Perhaps if it was a borderline case - this could push them over the edge.

I personally think YPN is better off NOT doing it. I know as an affiliate - the more restrcitions I see about doing something - the less likely I am to sign up for their program.

All in all - no matter what they do - I don't think it will make much of a dent - if any.

Posted by: Chris Raimondi at August 23, 2005 02:15 AM

This deals with blog spam, but what about spam blogs? If you haven't noticed already, this is a technique lots of SEOs are using.

Posted by: Andrew at August 23, 2005 08:15 AM

If I display ads on blogs, is it a blog spam?

Posted by: RB at August 23, 2005 02:28 PM

One of the main problems I have with Google Adsense is their rules aren't evenly applied. Just this morning I again saw a Google Ad on DrudgeReport.com with the words: "Support the DrudgeReport: Visit Our Advertisers" right below it. They ban a little guy like me who didn't cheat, when they could've simply not counted any clicks they felt were invalid, and they let a big publisher like Matt Drudge continue to cheat, unchecked.

Posted by: James Moore at August 24, 2005 04:22 AM

DrudgeReport doesn't run AdSense, so they can anyone they want to click the ads, unless it violates the terms of the advertising they are currently running.

Posted by: Jenstar at August 24, 2005 07:10 AM

Andrew - Having ads on blogs isn't spam. That's just advertisement.

There are really two kinds of spam in blog world. First is the spam blogs also known as splogs. This is really just a blog filled with links or ads but no content. It's just an attempt to increase traffic to some website and increase ad revenue. Second is the spam comments within a legitimate blog article. I think both are on the rise and I intend to fight them.

Posted by: Splog Fighter at August 24, 2005 01:16 PM

Jenstar,

Thanks for the reply but DrudgeReport does run Google Ads...they don't show up on every page load. See the cropped screen capture I just uploaded to my site at http://boycottgoogleads.com/dr_cropped.jpg ...sure looks like a Google Ad to me??? (I blocked out the ad itself to be on the safe side.)

Regards,
James

Posted by: James Moore at August 24, 2005 03:36 PM