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Clarification from Google on New AdSense Policies

With the new AdSense policies that were released last week, there was definitely some confusion about what would and wouldn’t be allowed, particularly to do with blending ads. I have gotten some clarification from Katie from the Google AdSense team on some of the policies that has people confused.

First, if you haven’t read about the new policies, you should read the full AdSense policies update I did here, which also has full commentaries on each of the new changes that Google made.

Now, onto the clarification from Google:

On the “Enouraging Clicks” section of the new policies, Google added the following to the “Publisher may not…” part:

  • Format ads so that they become indistinguishable from other content on that page.
  • Format site content so that it is difficult to distinguish it from ads.
  • So that raised my questions about just how “blended” would be considered too much for Google and thus be in violation of the AdSense terms. So here is Google’s response:

    I also understand you wanted some clarification on blending. I can assure you that all of our optimization tips are still valid, such as embedding your ad units within text and blending your ad colors. However, there’s a distinction between formatting the ads to fit your site and tricking users into thinking that the ads are your site’s content. For example, it’s OK to make the ad links match the color of the other links on your site, but it may be confusing if the ads are surrounded by lots of similar looking
    links and there is no distinction between the two. (You can see an example of this here.)

    The intent of this policy is to protect advertisers from accidental clicks made by users who are unable to distinguish the Google ads from other content on the page. We also want to make sure that our publishers are providing a good user experience with Google ads. If publishers would like additional guidance, they can look at this blog post and our Help Center entry regarding best practices for laying out their sites and ads.

    So this clears up a lot of the confusion that many publishers were having about the blending issue. AdSense has actually been sending compliancy warnings to publishers doing this kind of thing for quite some time, so in this respect it is nothing new and is similar to Google giving warnings to those publishers using images next to ad units.

    Next was the change in the Google Webmaster Guidelines section which included:

    Avoid hidden text or hidden links.

    Now, we all know that there are completely legitimate uses for hidden text, although they are most often used for far more devious purposes. But there was the concern that those publishers using the technique for legit reasons could end up getting a compliancy warning over this. Here is Google’s response:

    It also looks like you had a question about hidden text and hidden links (from the webmaster quality guidelines section). To clarify, this refers to any text or links that are solely for search engines rather than for visitors. As such, the spoiler TV site example would not be in violation of this, since that design is intended for the visitors.

    So as long as a publisher is using hidden text or links for purely legitimate reasons, and not to trick search engines for example, publishers do not need to worry about running afoul of this one.

    Lastly, there was an addition to the Ad Placement section, which saw this added:

    Google ads, search boxes, or search results may not be:

    • Placed on pages whose content or URL could confuse users into thinking it is associated with Google due to the misuse of logos, trademarks, or other brand features.
    • Placed on, within, or alongside other Google products or services in a manner that violates the policies of that product or service.

    Now, for sometime I have heard from publishers who had “AdSense” included in their site’s domain name who have had ad serving turned off on those accounts, and there were likely others as well using other Google trademarks who ran into this same issue. But this policy kind of brought everything into line. Of course, that could be interpreted many different ways, including whether this blog is in violation because the term Google AdSense is used on the page and in the URLs. Here is Google’s clarification on the new brand changes.

    Lastly, in regards to the use of Google Brand Features, what we’re primarily concerned with are sites that use a Google Brand Feature as the most prominent element on the web page, or sites that display a Google Brand Feature in any manner that implies a relationship or affiliation with, sponsorship, or endorsement by Google. That said, mentions of the word “Google” in a blog post, article, etc, are fine, as is any Google branding that is naturally associated with our Google products.

    And lastly, I commented on the fact that the policies were missing the time stamp, making it pretty difficult for publishers to be aware if there were any changes made, something publishers are required to check regularly. But fortunately (especially for me) this will be added back onto the policies page.

    First, thanks for pointing out that the date stamp is missing from the bottom of the program policies. We do usually include this information, and we’re working on adding it back in.

    This should help clear up some of the confusion last week surrounding the new policies Google introduced. What does everyone think about the new blending clarification? Now, it isn’t really that big of a deal for most publishers and most won’t be affected. And nice to know the blending technique that I (along with many other publishers!) have perfected will be perfectly within the new AdSense policies.

    Note: This blog post was corrupted in the database and was reposted, please see archive.org for original comments.

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    Google AdSense opens Google Analytics integration to all publishers

    If you have been waiting to get an invite into the Google AdSense / Google Analytics integration, you are in luck because they have just opened the entire program up to all publishers.

    Over the past few months, we’ve been gradually inviting publishers to integrate their AdSense accounts with Google Analytics, and today we’re happy to announce that this feature is now available to all publishers. Integrating your account with Analytics will provide you with more detailed information about traffic to your pages and how users interact with your site.

    I have used this for a few months now, and it is stellar for looking at things like revenue earned from individual referrers (how I discovered that StumbleUpon traffic tends to have a higher eCPM than most other traffic, at least on one site of mine) as well as on individual pages, which is pretty convenient if you don’t want to set up individual channels for each page or you don’t have enough channels to do it. You can also look at time of day stats as well with the trending data.

    You should see an option within your AdSense account when you login to your dashboard which will start the integration process.

    They also have a handy video with set-up instructions:

    Of course, there are always those who have the Google tin foil conspiracy theories who probably won’t want to link Google AdSense with Google Analytics, but personally I find the added level of data for doing AdSense optimization is well worth doing it.

    Note: This blog post was corrupted in the database and was reposted, please see archive.org for original comments.

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    New AdSense Policies Released: major implications for link sellers, MFAs & blended ad styles

    It’s new AdSense Policies time.  Remember, when you agreed to the AdSense terms & conditions, you automatically agreed to also abide by the AdSense Policies, even when they are changed, so be sure you aren’t in violation of the new policies :)  

    And some of the changes are pretty huge in my opinion, I just wish this was changed before I was able to grill the Google AdSense team last week at ADSPACE!  Here are the key changes that are most important for publishers (and keep reading for the complete details about each).

    • Selling text links to casinos, gambling sites, prescription drug sites is now a violation of the AdSense terms, since publishers now cannot *link* to those sites (and many other types of sites).
    • Making your contents/ads blended enough that it is hard to tell them apart.
    • Very specific webmaster guidelines AdSense publishers must abide by, including no hidden text/links, that sites must be information-rich, and no doorways or cookie cutter affiliate sites.
    • Changes if you receive traffic from paid search

    This took a lot longer to finish, because they completely reorganized how the various policies were split up into headers, which meant a lot of back and forth to make sure everything was accounted for and to double check for the additions and removals.

    So, here is the rundown on what is new, removed and changed from the last policies update.

    In the first paragraph, some of the wording has been changed around, including removing the reference to “While in many cases we prefer to work with publishers to achieve policy compliance” that appeared prior to the mention of disabling an AdSense account.  The new paragraph reads:

    Publishers participating in the AdSense program are required to adhere to the following policies, so please read them carefully. If you fail to comply with these policies, we reserve the right to disable ad serving to your site and/or disable your AdSense account at any time. If your account is disabled, you will not be eligible for further participation in the AdSense program.

    In the second paragraph, it was split into two sentences with the addition of:

     please check back often for updates

    So this could be a sign that it could be updated more frequently than we have seen in the past.  It is worth noting though, that this new version of the policies is NOT date stamped (the old one had a notation of the date it was last updated) so unless someone goes through line by line, it could be very easy to miss any updates and/or changes to it.  So if Google is listening, please add an “Updated: April 28, 2009″ to make my life easier :)

    Invalid Clicks & Impressions

    This snippet has been added prior to the “Learn more” notation:

    Publishers may not click on their own ads or use any means to artificially inflate impressions and/or clicks, including manual methods.

    AdSense lists different “prohibited methods” but they have removed some of the methods from the list, and have added a completely new section later in the policies called “Traffic Sources”.  So in this section, ”third-party services that generate clicks or impressions such as paid-to-click, paid-to-surf, autosurf, and click-exchange programs” have all been removed to be added to the later section.  So don’t get all excited that paid-to-surf is suddenly allowed ;)

    Encouraging Clicks

    In this section, the following has been added to the snippet:

    This includes, but is not limited to, offering compensation to users for viewing ads or performing searches, promising to raise money for third parties for such behavior, or placing images next to individual ads.

     Under the “Publisher may not…” section they have removed (but added it to the later traffic sources section):

    • May not promote sites displaying ads through unsolicited mass emails or unwanted advertisements on third-party websites
    • May not compensate users for viewing ads or performing searches, or promise compensation to a third party for such behavior

    Then under the “Publisher may not…” section, they have added:

    • Compensate users for viewing ads or performing searches, or promise compensation to a third party for such behavior.
    • Place ads in a floating box script.
    • Format ads so that they become indistinguishable from other content on that page.
    • Format site content so that it is difficult to distinguish it from ads.

     And wow, those last two additions are HUGE and can have major implications to many publishers who have perfected the blended technique, especially those who use blended with wrapping text around the ad units.  The key will be just about how blended they can be.  I will try and get followup from Google regarding this, because this could potentially put a lot of publishers in violations of the policies, depending on how much wiggle room there is in the “format site content so that it is difficult to distinguish it from ads”.  Just wow.

    Content Guidelines

    Another MAJOR change here.  Before, the Google policies stated that “Sites displaying Google ads may not include”.  But now it says “Sites with Google ads may not include or link to:” (emphasis mine)  There will definitely be publishers who fall afoul of this new change.  It could even mean that a blog that has an imported RSS feed with a link to a news story about racial discrimination could be at risk.  But it also means that anyone selling text links on their sites would also now be in violation of the new AdSense policies.  So if you are selling text links to casinos/gambling or prescription drug sites in particular, you are now violating the AdSense terms.  It is definitely one way for Google to reduce the number of text links sold, by making it a violation for AdSense publishers to link to a few of the key link buying areas.

    Under the “may not include or link to:”, there were some changes.  “Violent content” was split from “Content related to racial intolerance or advocacy against any individual, group, or organization”.

    And there were several categories that included “sales or promotion of…”, but have all been changed to simply “sales of”.  The ones affected are:

  • Sales of beer or hard alcohol
  • Sales of tobacco or tobacco-related products
  • Sales of prescription drugs
  • Sales of weapons or ammunition (e.g., firearms, firearm components, fighting knives, stun guns)
  • Sales of products that are replicas or imitations of designer goods
  • This was likely to clarify the position of sites that were simply informational and not selling products, but which the “promotion” left a lot up to interpretation.

    Copyrighted Material

    This section is the same.

    Webmaster Guidelines

    This section used to simply be a reference to:

    AdSense publishers are required to adhere to the webmaster quality guidelines posted at http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html.

    But now, it is a new section, which is mostly brand new, although some of the points (such as the deceptive or manipulative content) which was in a different section of the previous terms.  It now says:

  • Do not place excessive, repetitive, or irrelevant keywords in the content or code of webpages.
  • Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
  • Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines, or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
  • Do not include deceptive or manipulative content or construction to improve your site’s search engine ranking (e.g., your site’s PageRank).
  • Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
  • Worth noting is the fact that AdSense sites must be a “useful, information-rich site”, which ((cough)) we know some publishers will run afoul of, especially those with Made for AdSense type of sites.  And it will also mean spammy publishers using hidden text/links will no longer be allowed to do it… although it does raise the question of sites like spoiler tv sites that tend to hide the text of extreme spoilers, requiring a user to highlight the text if they really want to be spoiled.

    Traffic Sources

    This is another new section, although many parts were pulled from other parts of the older version.

    They have changed the part regarding those who are getting traffic through online advertising.  It used to read:

    Publishers using online advertising to drive traffic to pages showing Google ads must comply with the spirit of Google’s Landing Page Quality Guidelines. For instance, if you advertise for sites participating in the AdSense program, the advertising should not be deceptive to users.

    Now it is changed to:

    Receive traffic from online advertising unless the site complies with the spirit of Google’s Landing Page Quality Guidelines. For instance, users should be able to easily find what your ad promises.

    However, the “users should be able to easily find what your ad promises” obviously leaves much open to interpretation!  So if someone is advertising a Rachael Ray diet, does this mean the landing page must also say it is the Rachael Ray diet?  Because as many of us know who are plagued with these kind of ads, the landing pages (many which include AdSense) definitely don’t.  Same with those who are advertising on millions of random keywords ala eBay.  Technically, anyone advertising on keywords leading to a very generic landing page could be affected.

    Ad Behavior

    Same as before, from other parts of the old policy.

    Ad Placement

    This section is primarily the same, with two key additions.  They are :

    Google ads, search boxes, or search results may not be:

    • Placed on pages whose content or URL could confuse users into thinking it is associated with Google due to the misuse of logos, trademarks, or other brand features.
    • Placed on, within, or alongside other Google products or services in a manner that violates the policies of that product or service.

    Again, another one of those things that could affect a lot of publishers that have *any* Google product name or service in their URLs or on their pages.  It will be worth watching to see how Google handles this, although this was covered in the previous terms, just not the policies, and we have seen publishers with AdSense or Google in the domain name have ad serving turned off.

    Site Behavior

    Same as before, from other parts of the old policy.

    Competitive Ads and Services

    The wording is slightly changed, but not affecting the meaning.

    Google Advertising Cookies

    Again, primarily the same, with the emphasis on the need of having a privacy policy.

    Product-Specific Policies

    The subsection about AdSense for Search has been changed quite a bit.  It now reads:

    A maximum of two Google AdSense for search boxes may be placed per page. Also, a single link unit or a search box, but no other Google ads, may be placed on pages with AdSense for search results. Queries must originate from users inputting data directly into the search box and cannot be modified. This includes pre-populating the search box with terms or hard-coding direct links to search results pages. AdSense for search code may not be integrated into any software application such as a toolbar.

    This definitely clears up about using AdSense for Search in any kind of program, such as a toolbar or plugin.  Worth noting is the search results page can also have an added search box.

    Other removals from older policies

    There were more parts removed from the older policy, all related to the now defunct AdSense referrals.

    And that’s (finally) all, folks!

    And because many publishers did not get a copy of the email from Google (including me!) about the new AdSense terms, here is a copy of it.

    If you’ve checked the AdSense program policies page today, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve just made a few small updates. We’d like to take a moment to clarify what’s been changed.

    The first thing you might notice when you visit the program policies page is that we’ve revamped the look. Based on your feedback, we’ve reorganized the content and updated the layout to make it easier to read and navigate. We’ve highlighted some key information for each policy, and added expandable ‘Learn more’ sections that you can click for more detailed information. Also, we’ve grouped together policies that are specific to only AdSense for content or AdSense for search.

    There are also a few updates to the content of the program policies, which we’ve outlined below:

    • Google brand violations: This policy has always existed in our Terms and Conditions, but we’ve now brought it directly to the ‘Ad Placement’ section of the program policies page so that it’s easier to find. According to this policy, we don’t allow ads or search boxes to be placed on pages which misuse Google logos, trademarks, or other brand features in the page content or URL, and which could mislead users into thinking the page is associated with Google.
    • Deceptive implementations: We’ve clarified this policy a bit in the ‘Encouraging Clicks’ section of the program policies – ads may not be formatted in a way that makes them indistinguishable from other content on the page where they appear.
    • Ad placement in emails and email programs: This updated policy clarifies that Google ads , search boxes, and search results may not be placed in emails, as well as alongside emails.
    • Other Google products’ policies: With this new policy, publishers aren’t permitted to place ads, search boxes, or search results on, within, or alongside other Google products in a way that violates the policies of that other product or service. For instance, this would include placing ads on sites which allow users to download YouTube videos, which isn’t permitted by the YouTube Terms of Service.

    Finally, we’ve added more information to the ‘Webmaster Guidelines’ section and created a new ‘Traffic Sources’ section. Whether you regularly review the program policies or haven’t reviewed them since you signed up for AdSense, we encourage you to visit the program policies page and check out the updates.

    It is also on the Inside AdSense Blog.

    So what does everyone think of the new changes?  I must admit when I started diving into them, I was surprised at a few of the changes, including the addition of the “Sites with Google ads may not include or link to” part.  That could have huge implication for publishers, especially those who have already taken payments for those links to run for X months. 

    And the blending one is going to raise all kinds of questions about what is too blended and what is ok, especially since CTR is at stake.

    Then the information-rich policy will be fun to watch to see how it affects the spammier “crap content” Made for AdSense (MFA) sites out there.

    I am going to see if I can get some clarification from Google on some of the new policies that leave a lot open to interpretation, and I will post updates as I get them.  I will also twitter @jenstar any updates.  And if any AdSense Policy team member wants to contact me directly so I can get clarification, I’d appreciate it :)

    JenSense Pro Members: Forum thread here (if you are not a member, you can request a beta invite here)

    I couldn’t find any forum threads on either WebmasterWorld or Digital Point when I posted this.  Hat tip to netmeg for sending me a copy of the email that I didn’t get :)

    Update: I have received clarification from Google on a number of the above concerns.

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    AdSense really wants European publishers to get reports in Euros

    Imagine being a publisher in Europe and everytime you login your AdSense account, you are greeted instead with a page similar to the one we see when AdSense updates their Terms & Conditions.  Right now for European publishers (see note below on which European countries) it is considered optional to use local currency instead of the default US currency, but those publishers who prefer reporting in U.S. Dollars (USD), they have to decline each time they login – something sure to be annoying for those with an AdSense stat checking addiction ;)

    AdSense began asking publishers to change currencies at the beginning of March, and included some other terms changes aside from the viewing reports in Euros instead of USD.  From the Inside AdSense Blog:

    To make the switch to local currency reports, you’ll need to agree to a new set of Terms and Conditions. Here are the main changes involved:

    • The party that publishers are contracting with changes from Google Inc. to Google Ireland Limited.
    • Publishers are responsible for paying any local taxes in their jurisdiction. Google will only issue VAT refunds to publishers with an address in Ireland.
    • The governing law changes from California law to either English or local law.

    It is also worth noting that AdSense also says that “We encourage you to update your account to local currency reports soon, as we may require this change in the future” (emphasis mine).

    Obviously, there are plenty of reasons why some publishers don’t want to be forced to view their reports in Euros but to continue using USD too, one being that reports use the daily exchange rate but checks are sent out based on the exchange rate at the time the payment is processed.  So depending on the exchange rate fluctuations, payment could be vastly different from what the reports were showing.

    Another reason includes publishers choosing to hold payments until the exchange rate is more favorable and wanting to track earnings with market conditions in the US, particularly those who have the majority of their site’s traffic coming from the US.  It also makes doing split testing with other ad networks harder, since many of them report in USD, meaning publishers also have to figure out the exchange rate and guesstimate what the exchange rate could be when payment is issued too.

    From what I understand from the publishers I have heard from, the change covers all European countries in the AdSense program. (Update: Seems to be a subset of European countries, since one exception is the United Kingdom… feel free to post if your country is affected, so publishers know which countries are having this issue)

    And being an international publisher myself who still has payments in USD, I would not be happy if I was forced to have my payments in Canadian dollars instead of USD, and yes, I would be pretty annoyed if I was forced to decline having my reports in Canadian dollars every single time I logged in. 

    There have been many threads and Google groups posted on the issue, but no response from Google on it yet:

    That said, on the flip side, I know there are many publishers who embraced the changes

    I will keep you posted if I hear anything more on it, and if you are a publisher affected by the changes, please comment.

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    More details on category filtering from AdSense

    I blogged earlier about the new Google AdSense category targeting that was announced earlier today.  So, I asked the AdSense team plenty of questions while they were on the ADSPACE panel.

    First, this is in a limited beta, meaning if you haven’t already been asked to participate, you won’t be in the initial wave of beta testers.  They didn’t have a timeline for when it would be expanded, but I would expect that if the initial tests go well, it should become more widely available.  If you have an account rep, you might want to contact him or her to see if you can get in on the next wave.

    For those who are wanting the ability to block weight loss ads, you are in luck… weight loss is one of the categories.  There are 11 in total including costmetic procedures & body modification; dating; drugs & supplements; get rich quick; politics; religion; ringtones and downloadables; sexual & reproductive health; sexually suggestive; video games (casual and online); weight loss.

    I think the categories are pretty well chosen, and cover the biggest publisher pain points of the types of ads publishers don’t want on their sites.

    Here is a screnshot of the new interface within the AdSense control panel (click for larger image):

    category_filtering_beta1

    As you can see, Google will show the percentage of revenue that has recently been earned in those categories, so you can be aware of the potential income loss by blocking.  Remember, these ads are showing up because they would earn the publisher the most money, and however annoying the flat stomach weight loss ads were, they did drive significant revenue and was part of the reason they were sowing up everywhere.

    Right now, ad categories can only be blocked on an account level, there is nothing in place to allow blocking on a site-by-site basis within the account.

    Hopefully this will go in a wider beta soon, or go to all publishers :)   There is also more on the Inside AdSense blog.

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    AdSense annnounces new category filters for publishers

    I am at the ADSPACE conference where Brad Bender from Google is giving his opening keynote.  And as I suspected, they did announce something new for publishers.  AdSense has announced some new category filters for publishers.

    Brad didn’t go into too much detail, but it will allow publishers to filter out ads by categories.  I am hoping one of the categories will be weight loss, so publishers can effectively get rid of all those rules of a flat stomach ads ;)

    This feature will be in beta, so I will see if I can find out how publishers can get into the beta.

    Google will be going into it in more detail later today at the Google Publisher Forum, at 2pm today at ADSPACE.  As you can imagine, I will be asking some questions about the new category filtering, (I am the session moderator) so be sure to post any questions you have about it.

    I will update as I get more information later today.

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    Google AdSense Publisher forum at ADSPACE conference

    Ever wish you had the opportunity to pose your burning AdSense questions directly to a panel of AdSense team members?  Well, now you have your opportunity!  I will be moderating a Google AdSense Publisher Forum at ADSPACE next week, where AdSense team members will be answering not only my questions, but I will also be taking questions from the audience.  And one thing that is quite unique about this, is that audience members will be able to see existing questions and vote up the ones they want me to ask the most.

    Four AdSense team members will be on the panel (not to mention those who will be in the audience, too).

    Jens Skakkebaek, Group Product Manager – AdSense, Google
    Christian Ashlock, Associate Manager, Online Sales & Operations, Google
    Sean Harvey, Business Product Manager, Google
    Gavin Bishop, Head of Publisher Solutions, Google

    (You can view each speaker’s bio here, including yours truly)

    I am really looking forward to this, I always love the opportunity to put AdSense on the hot seat and ask questions.  I think every time I have had the opportunity, I ask the “When will Google disclose the rev share split?”… you never know, this might be the time they can actually answer with something definitive :)   Since so many publishers are planning to attend, both as speakers and as attendees, ADSPACE is also a great opportunity to meet up with AdSense publishers to network and share your own tips.

    Google is also doing the opening keynote for ADSPACE.  Brad Bender, Product Manager Director from AdSense will be presenting the opening keynote.

    Brad Bender, Product Management Director at Google, will cover an insights-driven approach to understanding what your users and prospects want, and how you can use that information to build a better online presence, enhance the user experience and, ultimately, drive the best possible results for your business.

    Also, if you are an ADSPACE attendee, you can meet up with an AdSense account rep to discuss your account, so this is a great opportunity to have a one-on-one opportunity to ask any account-specific questions you may have, with some of their top team members.

    Want to sign up?  Click here to go to ADSPACE, and use the discount code ADSPACEC to get 20% off the ticket price.  And if you want to attend both ADSPACE and ad-tech (which is co-located together), the discount code SFCONF3 is good for a 40% discount off.

    Interested in being a sponsor?  There is a special eBay auction for the Google Keynote sponsorship.  

    Google has also posted about ADSPACE on their Inside AdSense blog.  And AdWords has a blog post here to talk about where their Google AdWords team will be speaking at ADSPACE.

    Contact me if you would like to meet up while I am at ADSPACE and ad-tech.  I will also have some beta invites for JenSense Pro, so be sure to ask for one if you see me, or you can sign up here (be sure to include your desired username, not everyone is remembering that part!) and you might get one before hand… be sure to mention that you are an ADSPACE attendee when you do.

    ADDED: I have scored an ADSPACE pass for Jeremy to give away to one of his readers, so head on over here if you want a chance to win an ADSPACE conference pass for free.

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    AdSense ups competitive ad filter to 500 for publishers

    If you have maxed out your competitive ad filter, you are in luck, because AdSense has increased the number of filters for publishers up to 500.

    Here is the thread at WebmasterWorld from AdSenseAdvisor

    Check your account. We have more than doubled your number of filters (to 500).

    Please don’t go crazy with this. The reason we’re not announcing it on the blog is that we don’t want to overload our system with everyone filling their filters to capacity at once.

    Huge thanks go to the awesome engineering team that implemented this for us (I’m an AdSense publisher, too, after all).

    Please feel free to leave love letters to our engineers below.

    ASA

    Now, don’t go nuts and only add them as you need them. But before you do go crazy adding URLs, don’t forget that when you block an advertiser, it only means ads worth *less* money will show in its place. So if you plan to block advertisers because you think their ads are low paying, you are only going to end up making LESS.

    More on the competitive ad filter is here.

    Note: This blog post was corrupted in the database and was reposted, please see archive.org for original comments.

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    Introducing JenSense Pro – members only articles & forums

    I have thought about doing some sort of membership site for years now, and after some prodding by several Twitter followers, I decided to bite the bullet for a few reasons.

    The first is that JenSense has primarily been a news site for AdSense and other contextual advertising programs, I don’t tend to do too much posting about the results of my AdSense testing, optimization tips and tricks, etc, I tend to share that information primarily with clients only now.  So I am looking at JenSense Pro as “consulting on a larger scale” and as a place for me to share some higher level optimization tips without revealing them to the masses, since so often when an optimization technique gets used by everyone, it looses its effectiveness.

    Second, there is a lack of quality AdSense discussion out there, and I hope this will fill a much needed niche of high level AdSense discussion but without the “my account got suspended” or “my eCPM has dropped” posts that clutter up so many of the forums out there.  This is one part I am really looking forward to!

    Right now JenSense Pro is free, but it is invite only right now :) 

    It will probably eventually go to a paid subscription model once the content is fully in place, but am also considering doing some sort of sponsorship model, which would see the Pro section remain invite only but sponsored.

    So if you would like an invite, understand that it IS in beta, so the “behind the scenes” offerings will not be as great as what it will be when it officially launches out of beta.  That said, I am adding more higher level articles daily while it is in the beta stage, and I am also open to accepting great user submitted content or your own case study (which is also a great way to get an invite too, BTW!)

    The first wave of invites will be going out later today, so here’s the full instructions for applying for a beta invite so you can join in the fun :)   You can also follow me on twitter, where I will be commenting as new waves of invitees are let in :)

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    AdSense rejecting new applications on new domains

    I noticed an interesting thread on Digital Point with a new reason for rejection – the domain in question used to apply for Google AdSense was newer than 6 months old.  This is one reason I have never heard of before, and a quick search didn’t bring up any results for the exact rejection reason:

    The Domain on which AdSense ads are shown should be active for atleast 6 months.

    While Google has long required that sites be established before acceptance into AdSense, usually gauged into terms of enough content on the site, and nothing “under construction”, there never was a requirement that a site couldn’t be brand new.

    You also have to wonder if this might eventually be used as reason enough to disable ad serving on domains newer than 6 months on accounts that have been added to already approved accounts.  It would be an easy reason for AdSense to quickly clean up accounts that are seen as “less quality” if they are adding a lot of brand new domains with spammy content.

    There is nothing in the AdSense terms nor in the policies that specifically prohibits AdSense (or brand new accounts) running on sites where the domain is newer than 6 months old. 

    It also brings up the fact that AdSense is now checking domain registration details on new applications.  I have known for quite some time that Google was checking domain registration information on new AdSense applications, with the AdSense team checking to see if the name on the AdSense account matched the domain name owner, but never to check the age of a domain before.

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