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June 01, 2006

AdSense ads in floating post-it-notes - the official verdict

Since yesterday, everyone has been buzzing about a new implementation of AdSense ads provided by AdImpact.com, which places an AdSense ad unit in a floating yellow image that looks very much like a Post-It note. As the user scrolls, the ad floats down the screen, in the same ad position. From a user experience standpoint, it is quite an obtrusive and in-your-face ad unit implementation.

It utlizes DHTML layers to display the ad units, with it being served in an iframe on the actual content page. It is only available as a monthly subscription ($19.95+ per month) through AdImpact, although I suspect there is code freely available that would allow publishers to implement their own.

Here is an example of their ad unit, but keep in mind that as you scroll, it continues to float.


On one site I saw it implemented on, the ad unit was in the middle of the page, and stayed front and center as you scrolled and tried to read the content. Users do have the option of closing the box. On another site, the pop-up covered over another AdSense ad unit, which again was also clearly in violation of the AdSense policies.

However, when I first saw it, my first reaction was "this can't be allowed". And part of that is in part as how you define what a pop-up is, since publishers are not allowed to display ad units within pop-ups. From a user perspective, these are pop-ups, however from an implementation standpoint, they use layers instead of a new window as most pop-ups use.

So I decided to go straight to AdSenseAdvisor to get the scoop, because I was fairly certain that these must have hit the support team's radar as well. And yes, these are considered to be pop-ups from the AdSense Team's perspective.

Also, from an advertiser perspective, I don't think I would be pleased to see my advertisement displayed in such a way that seems to beg "Click Me" even when the person clicking might not be interested in whatever I happened to be advertising. I mentioned that I thought this implentation draws undue attention to the ads, and AdSenseAdvisor agreed.

"Yes, certainly. Additionally, they provide a poor user experience, and Google believes strongly in providing a positive user experience" AdSenseAdvisor said. "A general rule of thumb is that ads should always be placed in the primary content frame of a page -- first and foremost this is to ensure content-targeting works effectively. Also, it provides a more positive user experience."

So the final verdict is that this type of implementation is not allowed to be used by publishers. However, judging from the comments I have been reading, and the fact there hasn't seemed to be a flurry of publishers implementing them right away, publishers probably don't find this decision surprising at all. However, it is an interesting implementation for other uses, such as for newsletter subscriptions or special alerts on websites.

Posted by Jenstar at June 1, 2006 09:48 AM

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» Hello, I am Annoying Ad from iZachy
I bet you are having a little trouble reading this post because of the annoying ad in your face. The floating ad is an example of the post-it ads Jensense blogged about today. You scroll down, the ad moves down. You scroll up, the ad moves up. The new ... [Read More]

Tracked on June 1, 2006 08:55 PM

» AdSense ads in floating post-it-notes - the official verdict from Web Publishers Info
Since yesterday, everyone has been buzzing about a new implementation of AdSense ads provided by AdImpact.com, which places an AdSense ad unit in a floating yellow image that looks very much like a Post-It note. As the user scrolls, the ad floats down the [Read More]

Tracked on June 1, 2006 09:08 PM


The issue is the AdSense ads displayed in the pop-up, not pop-ups implemented in that fashion in general. AdSense has always allowed publishers to have other pop-ups or pop-unders on their site, provided they aren't excessive.

Posted by: Jenstar at June 1, 2006 11:20 AM

I find these type of pop ups vastly annoying. However, from an advertisers stand point, I wonder where the line is crossed between trying to get that "click" and just not caring about how much you annoy your potential audience?

Personally, I will usually click these types of ads away without even looking at them, although I will admit that the right graphic/color combination has caught my attention from time to time.

Posted by: Aaron Potts at June 1, 2006 11:45 AM

I think that this type of marketing is regulated by natural market forces. Sites that provide an annoying experience are the same as sites that provide no content. They don't get traffic. The site owner who uses this ad will probably see a short term spike in earnings as people click on it just to get rid of it. But then that fades away as people stop returning to the site and instead visit friendlier sites.

Posted by: Brian B at June 1, 2006 09:37 PM

Actually, sites that use these ads are seeing 4-17% click thru rates consistently. Usually the ads are only displayed once per session, so if the same user comes back anytime during the month , they will never see it again. As a tool to generate more e-zine or newsletter signups, adimpact works great. In the near future you will begin to see major publishing networks using this type of rich media in addition to their regular ad displays. Adimpact is really becoming an ad delivery network that delivers contextual ads across publishing networks, domain portfolios and Pay Per Call networks. In addition these creatives are being used by merchant affiliate programs to drive more clicks to their affiliate offers across their affiliate networks.

Posted by: Tony Colan at June 2, 2006 06:38 AM

Even if the ad format is allowed, I wouldn't put that on my site. Why? Because visitors have the option of closing it. :)

Posted by: Carl Johnson at June 2, 2006 08:14 AM

Google says these are definitely a no-no.

Hello Bob,

Thank you for taking the time to email us. The implementation you've
referred to is currently not permitted by our program policies. AdSense
participants are not permitted to alter the behavior of Google ads - this
includes placing the AdSense ad code in a "floating box script", or
otherwise drawing unnatural attention to Google ads.

We appreciate your understanding and your efforts to remain in compliance
with our program policies.

For additional questions, we encourage you to visit the AdSense Help
Center (http://www.google.com/adsense_help), our complete resource center
for all AdSense topics. Alternatively, feel free to post your question on
the forum just for AdSense publishers: the AdSense Help Group


The Google AdSense Team

Posted by: Bob Kazoo at June 2, 2006 05:06 PM

> As the user scrolls, the ad floats down the screen, in the same ad position.

Hey Jen -

It's optional to have it "chase" the user. I've been using this service for a while for gathering e-mail opt-ins and announcements.

I test - sometimes I chase and sometimes I don't - different sites have different tolerances for the way it is presented.

Generally, I run it on the left or right gutter, so it doesn't interfere with the content.

Posted by: Shawn Collins at June 3, 2006 05:17 PM

I'm surprised that Google would go there. These kinds of moving ads (pops) are really annoying to most surfers. Google usually rages against annoying advertising such as pop-ups and pop-unders.

I'll never be using them...I know that much.

- Kenny

Posted by: Kenny Allman at June 3, 2006 11:28 PM

YPN told me to remove the fake floating ad I was using to illustrate my point about how annoying those types of ads are.

Posted by: Ken at June 4, 2006 02:41 PM

I had implemented floating ads for one of my sites about 2 years back, just to see if they work but since I wasn't sure whether Google will allow it or not, I had put up a test page and emailed Google.

Google told me that it is not allowed as per their policies as the advert draws some un-needed attention which may increase the number of clicks and hence the cost to the advertiser.

Personally I hate such ads, infact now I hate ads. I believe, best things in the world are free and without ads :)

Posted by: Jayant Kumar Gandhi at June 5, 2006 12:59 PM


I am one of the principals of lawerresource.info . The Yahsense Tool we introduced yesterday, is just a small add-on to our service that allows individual publishers a tool to increase a call to action on their site. We also have builders for AdBrite, Kanoodle, Clicksor, Chitika, and others. The introduction of the Yahoo BS builder is apparently controversial because of Google's stance on everything everyone else is doing.

Posted by: Legal Resources at June 10, 2006 03:20 PM

Me too got the answer from google -- "NOOO"

Posted by: lijo george at June 10, 2006 07:06 PM

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