The Google AdSense Blog announced they are beta testing a new feature for publishers that allow them to filter ads based on category. So if publishers don't want ads that are about dating, religion or "get rich quick" type of ads, they can block those ads from showing on their site by blocking the whole category.
Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? In fact, They shared a screen shot that details the various categories. In addition, it even shows you how much money you are making from each category. This way, you don't block your most profitable category.
So what is the issue? A WebmasterWorld thread asks a very important question. Who is classifying the ads into categories? Is it Google or the advertiser? One member said that when someone asked a Google rep about this at the ADSPACE conference (where this was announced), Google said the advertiser is categorizing their ads.
Here is the post from the thread on that:
Someone asked this question at the google panel at adspace today, and the way i heard the answer is that the _advertiser_ sets the category.
Both the questioner and the answerer were not too clear, but this is what i gathered from the exchange.
The concern is that advertisers will make sure not to categorize their ads in certain categories that might be perceived as negative towards publishers. Now, I am not 100% sure if advertisers to categories their own ads, we will have to wait and see how this all works.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.
Update: Google has notified us that the advertiser does not categorize the ad, instead, Google does this automatically. More details in Google Determines Category For Contextual Ad Category Filter.