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January 12, 2006

AdSense Party Trick #1 - Name that Company

So, what do you do in the contextual advertising world to amuse yourself and (freak out) your friends? The AdSense Party Trick #1, that's what.

First, you find an AdSense site belonging to a friend of yours. The <ahem> higher quality </ahem> the better. And bonus points if he or she happens to be slightly on the paranoid side, especially when it comes to the hidden powers of search engines.

Next, find that "advertise on this site" link on an ad unit, if the publisher has opted into Onsite Advertiser Sign-Up. And click the link. Hopefully, you will see either the person's name or better yet, their ultra secret hidden company business name.

My latest victim was oilman (who is also a new moderator at the SearchEngineWatch forums). When I click on a link from one of oilman's super secret AdSense sites, I am greeted with:


I got him good ;) Then he was gracious enough to let me use him as an example.

There are many others I have come across (that I won't be announcing to the world!), and they are more revealing than simply saying the person's name. Often, plugging that company name will give you even more juicy info to dazzle your friend with when you show off the AdSense Party Trick to him or her.

Moral of the AdSense Party Trick #1 - if you are wanting to keep your network private, especially when you go to the trouble of hiding whois information, be sure that your "advertise on this site" link isn't telling more than you want it to ;) You can easily login to your account and change it - here on JenSense, I changed it to "my site" with a wink added on the end. After I showed Oilman, he changed his to "Google Today".

If you are running the on-site advertiser signup and never modified the landing page, it seems to pick up the original URL you signed up with or the personal or business name you signed up with (it could be dependent on the sign up date). And remember, the same name will appear on all sites you run AdSense on. There is a somewhat complex workaround to see the name even if the publisher has opted out of the onsite advertiser signup (and no, I am not revealing it!) so it would be a good idea to change the name on the landing page if you would like to keep the name private, even if you are opted out.

Now go and see which friends you can play the AdSense Party Trick # 1 on, who didn't realize just how much their AdSense sites were saying about them ;) You will probably find a lot of them!

Posted by Jenstar at January 12, 2006 05:32 AM

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That doesn't seems to work for me. It looks like that the landing page on Google shows the domain portion of the referrer (which are also included in the "advertise on this site"-link...

Posted by: BloggingTom at January 12, 2006 12:07 PM

What is the actual trick you are playing, Jen?

Tom, what doesn't work for you? Yours says "Anzeigen schalten auf bloggingtom.ch" which is accurate. If you have more than one site, it will say the same thing which wouldn't be accurate in that case. You would only want to change it if you are running your AdSense code on more than one domain.

Posted by: BlueFin at January 12, 2006 03:52 PM

Thanks for the information. It could be confusing or embarrassing if you have one account for multiple websites on drastically different topics.

It would be nice if Google could give us one landing page per site or allow us to use wild cards in the title like "Advertise on -specific URL-" .

Oh well, the "Advertise on this site" feature just got a lot less useful.

Posted by: Home Office Blues at January 12, 2006 06:03 PM

Thanks! I did not realize that my original site name would show up on all my other sites when someone wanted to advertise on them. I don't think anyone would have signed up if they clicked to advertise on site ABC and the link said "Advertise on XYZ"


Posted by: GaryP at January 12, 2006 09:32 PM

@Bluefin: If you click on "Advertise on this site" at my second site Travelblogger (http://travelblogger.ch), it says "Anzeigen schalten auf travelblogger.ch", so everything seems to be correct. Both of my sites use the same AdSense-account...

Posted by: BloggingTom at January 12, 2006 10:21 PM

I just tried to simply delete the name in the settings. Now the message says "Advertise on www.current-site.de" with the current domain being inserted dynamically.

Posted by: Mario W. at January 13, 2006 12:50 AM

What a great tip! I didn't know that my business name was on all ads on all sites. I tried just leaving it blank, but it didn't dynamically insert the URL for me. But, after twiddling with it .. I came up with .. Advertise on "HART's site" plus I uploaded my gravatar .. I like it much better.

I'm sure in no time, we'll be seeing lots of .. Advertise on "this site :-)" around the 'net.

Posted by: HART (1-800-HART) at January 13, 2006 01:11 AM

It's about time Google added the simple ability to point to a different landing page for each site. It's just embarassing sometimes, and such a simple solution. Lazy gits!

Posted by: Ivan Pope at January 13, 2006 01:45 AM

What field do I have to change/check on the "Onsite Advertiser Sign-Up" settings page?

I believe it is the field labeled "Site name:"

Am I right? Thanks.

Posted by: John at January 13, 2006 04:24 AM

Wow, thanks for pointing that out.

Posted by: Donyell at January 14, 2006 01:48 PM

Thanks for pointing this out. Google should be more proactive about this. Or, they should simply publish the URL of the site a person clicks through from, since they just clicked on a link called "Advertise on this Site."

Posted by: Ed Kohler at January 16, 2006 11:38 AM

I noticed this a few days ago and was worried since I have multiple sites with AdSense.. so I changed my "Site Name" to "the site you were looking at". Now whenever anyone goes to that page, they see.. "Advertise on the site you were looking at" :)

Posted by: Peter Cooper at January 20, 2006 06:13 AM

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