Google makes me tired. Maybe its just me but it seems like they do an awful lot of rule making and not enough rule enforcing. Sure lots of little guys have been nixed from Adsense without a specific reason (ie, my wife’s Food Blog), but it seems like if you generate enough traffic and clicks on ads, you are exempt from Google’s persecution.
Case in point, Google’s most recent post from the Adsense blog talks about how aligning images next to Adsense ads is a violation of Google’s TOS for Adsense. They make the point to say that it can be deceptive and takes away from the user and advertiser experience.
We ask that publishers not line up images and ads in a way that suggests a relationship between the images and the ads. If your visitors believe that the images and the ads are directly associated, or that the advertiser is offering the exact item found in the neighboring image, they may click the ad expecting to find something that isn’t actually being offered. That’s not a good experience for users or advertisers.
Now that is 100% fine with me, but I wish they would actually enforce these rules collectively rather then selectively. All it takes is a quick search to find at least one example of an advertiser breaking this rule. My search for “Nike Air Force Ones” brings me the number 2 result with such a header:
I think that is pretty much exactly what Google says they do not want. Do these people still have an active Adwords account? Have they at least been contacted and asked to change their implementation? I’d be pretty confident in saying they have not.
Google Adsense blog goes on to say:
Publishers should also be careful to avoid similar implementations that people could find misleading. For instance, if your site contains a directory of Flash games, you should not format the ads to mimic the game descriptions.
Going a little deeper into the Adsense program policies (found here)
No Google ad may be placed on any non-content-based pages No Google ad may be placed on pages published specifically for the purpose of showing ads, whether or not the page content is relevant.
Sounds to me that pages like this, this, and this aren’t acceptable Adsense pages, but rumors on the street is that Google makes a pretty penny from Big.com and you can tell why by looking at their SERP page. I’m on a 1200×1000 resolution screen and all I see is ads, thats pretty misleading to me.
Oh, there is more. Google violating its own TOS?
No Google ad or Google search box may be displayed on any domain parking websites, pop-ups, pop-unders, or in any email.
Now, I can let the ads showing up in Gmail slide because that is a stretch on my part, but how about that little domain parking service portion. We aren’t allowed to park domains and put Adsense on them according to the TOS, but why in the world would Google have bought a domain parking software company (way back in 2004) and start offering Adsense for Parked Domains?
At the very least, Google needs to make some program policy changes, but if they wanted to stay true to their creed of “do no evil” than they really should make some system-wide changes. Allowing Adwords Advertisers who use Google’s content network to opt-out of having their ads displayed on parked domains would be a wonderful feature,. Besides the obvious contradictory statements from TOS and programs, I doubt many advertisers will find quality traffic coming from a parked domain.
In my humble opinion it is time for Google to clean up its act and stop chasing dollars. They started all this mess, now its time to fix it.