Google AdSense Finally Says NO to Blending Your Ads

Mar 28, 2008 • 8:24 am | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google AdSense
 

One of the most successful Google AdSense optimization strategies was to make your Google AdSense ads look as if they are part of your site content or navigation. This strategy is commonly referred to as blending your ads into your site design.

Now, there are many grades of blending your AdSense ads. There are ways to do it where you can not tell the difference between the ad and your content and there are less extreme cases. Google AdSense posted a clarification that some of these techniques are not acceptable. Google said:

  • Ads shouldn't be placed under a title or section heading in a way that implies that the ads are not ads.
  • Ads should be easily distinguishable from surrounding content.

It is important to note that Google does not call these "suggestions," they call them "guidelines."

Google shows specific examples in their post so it is crystal clear what they mean. Personally, I never liked sites that blended those ads so deeply in. But the main goal of those sites was monetization of the AdSense ads. I wonder how this will impact publishers, advertisers and Google's net.

A WebmasterWorld thread has some feedback from members. I'll quote the passages I like:

Well, it's only the opposite of the previous guideline ;-D

See Google's AdSense Heat Map for why people might think this.

I'm thinking Google itself used to be in violation with these guidelines (sponsor results below the search box). Certainly sites like Ask and AOL seem to be in violation.

Yes, AOL and Ask are paid search partners and they blend those Google ads right into their search results. Here is a screen capture of the Google ads on Ask.com, next to an organic result. Very hard to tell which is paid and which is free:

Google Ads on Ask :: Blend Them

Let's see if Google stats to truly enforce this guidelines now. It will be interesting to watch all the forum threads on this topic.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Comments:

No Name

03/28/2008 02:01 pm

Riiight. And they still wonder why Adsense/Adwords brings them less profit...

TimDineen

03/29/2008 04:53 pm

Three cheers - and yes, hopefully they ban AOL and Ask from AdSense (really the Search Network) for violating these guidelines or at least realize they need to tell AOL/Ask to distinguish the ads better. AOL may not care about their users as much, since Search.AOL is not their future, but if Google wants advertisers to stay active in Search Partners network they will need to consider this.

Marc Beharry

04/01/2008 04:38 pm

"guidelines" or "suggestions" are still weak words considering the amount of confusion and costly clicks this situation causes. if this practice is not deceptive, i do not know what is. the scale of fraud that occurs with adsense is unprecedented globally.

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