Google Lays Down The Law

I have received an official ruling from Google about my perfectly blended AdSense ads. They don’t seem very happy about it. However, they’re not going to ban me for it.


While reviewing your account, we noticed that you are currently displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our policies. For instance, we found violations of AdSense policies on pages such as

Publishers are not permitted to display Google ads in a manner that may mislead users, causing them to mistake Google ads for site content. Additionally, publishers may not label the Google ads with text other than “sponsored links” or “advertisements.”

We also ask that you do not encourage other publishers to violate our program policies.

Please make any necessary changes to your web pages in the next 72 hours. Once you update your site, we will automatically detect the changes and ad serving will not be affected. If you choose not to make the changes to your account within the next three days, your account will remain active but you will no longer be able to display ads on the site. Please note, however, that we may disable your account if further violations are found in the future.

Thank you for your cooperation.


The Google AdSense Team

Well, that ends the experiment. What Google is saying in the above email is publishers are allowed to perfectly match the font properties of the Google ads. However, presenting the ad the way I did could have people mistaking the ad for site content. Therefore, while Google’s optimization page encourages you to blend your ads to make them look like part of the site content, you can only take it so far.

When in doubt about your ad integration, you should always email Google for a ruling. They will not ban you for doing so. However, they may if someone reports you! Better safe than sorry, right?

In the short time that the 234 AdSense ad was on the blog, its performance really wasn’t that great. The eCPM worked out to just 59 cents. The ad has since been removed to bring the blog back into compliance with the Google TOS.

7 thoughts on “Google Lays Down The Law”

  1. Geiger says:

    Good try though. I’m having similar CTR on my site. Most of the traffic came from StumbleUpon. While A LOT of people visited last week, very few clicked on the AdSense ads.

    Anybody have a suggestion for an appropriate Azoogle Ad? I tried one for a free digital camera and got a bunch of clicks but no signups.

  2. Vik says:

    I’m afraid that Google’s rules may have become too subjective and quite frankly, too complicated for most webmasters to follow. Ads can blend into the overall scheme of things but can’t look like they are part of the content??? This is a very subjective standard and one that most webmasters (not the smartest people in the world) cannot really comprehend.

    But I guess you can afford to set such subjective rules when you are the king of the jungle.

  3. animated says:

    “When in doubt about your ad integration, you should always email Google for a ruling. They will not ban you for doing so. ”
    well, a friend of mine, sent e-mails whenever he made any new site or changed anything in the layout…
    and they always answered him: “yes, it is acceptable”.
    3 weeks ago he was banned due to “a manner that may mislead users”…

  4. ralphieb says:

    I received the same exact email from them about a week ago.

    My ads wasnt too blended with my contents, I have some images between two rectangle ads format and I guess that’s against the TOS.

    Like Vik said it’s kinda hard to figure out what against the TOS or not so it’s always a good idea to send adsense support an email 🙂

  5. Lee says:

    Geiger I get a lot of my traffic from StumbleUpon also! It is wierd, I have a lot of sites, all with very different content, yet StumbleUpon sends me a heap of my traffic.

  6. Idris says:

    Not entirely surprising really as you were leaning on the rules a fair bit (stuff like not drawing attention to the adverts, which it could be argued was being done by mentioning them in several posts – even under the umbrella of a “experiment”). You also need to watch things like publicly announcing revenue gained from adsense as they tend to be fairly strict on what you can reveal.

    It’s strange that Google seems to be picking up on blending though as they do (and have done for some time) encourage users to blend into design. Things like adlinks also seem to have been designed to look like navigation links and many use them as such.

    I guess an interesting question would be how did Google notice your blog. Are they digg readers or maybe a reader pointed out the problems?

    Either way the more important thing would be preserving you Google account (especially if you make any decent revenue from it). A warning is nice, many people have reported just being booted from adsense with little or not explanation.

  7. Sharon says:

    That’s why when I try a new service to promote my stuff, I usually do one trial run and then wait to see if I hear from Google.

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