AdSense Changes To Thwart Competitors

    January 18, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Google now says that sites displaying AdSense or Google search boxes may not display other ads or services using the same layouts and colors as the Google products. That applies to all ads an AdSense member might have displayed anywhere on his website.

AdSense users beware. Google has updated their policies, and if you have been running AdSense and a competitor’s service like Yahoo Publisher Network on a fifty-fifty basis, you could be in violation of the new terms.

Jennifer Slegg of Search Engine Watch warned publishers using Google and Yahoo ads that they will have to make some major changes. She said those webmasters will need to set one of those ad units apart visually by adding borders or a colored background to them.

Some sites run AdSense without borders. Jennifer found out from Google that they will not be very forgiving of any ad look-alikes:

“What about those running borderless ad units? I asked Google, and it doesn’t sound as though simply changing the title link color is enough. You will need to do something more drastic, such as changing the color of all the text to something different, or adding a border or background.”

The new policy from Google applies to all ad units one of its network publishers may have on display anywhere on a web site. Even ad units that are not contextual in nature will have to look different from AdSense to avoid a violation.

Blogger Darren Rowse welcomed a rewording of the AdSense copyright policy. He called the change that prohibits using AdSense on pages with copyrighted content, “great stuff for those of us who are getting our content scraped.”

That leaves the question of enforcement open for Google’s international publishers. In the United States, the highly controversial DMCA law enables people to request that Google remove links to copyrighted material. That could be used to call attention to AdSense policy violators too.

Google said that AdSense policy update changed much of the wording used. Most of the policies have not changed, but webmasters will still want to review them, if only to refresh themselves on the details.

We are interested in finding out what our readers think of the updated Google AdSense policies. Please visit our forum at WebProWorld and share you thought with fellow viewers.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.