Join our policy refreshers

To help you better understand our program policies, we’re holding a number of policy refreshers online over the coming weeks. In these sessions, we’ll take a closer look at some of the policies we’re asked most about and share some tips on how to stay compliant.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll review how you can keep your content compliant with an emphasis on:
  • User generated content
  • Copyrighted content 
Check out our full listing of recently recorded sessions as well as the schedule for upcoming sessions - and don’t forget to register.

Posted by Pamela Malone - AdSense Policy Specialist
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Stay on top of AdSense program policies with new notifications in your account

Our AdSense program policies are defined to ensure we all preserve a healthy ecosystem for users, advertisers and other publishers, and compliance with these policies is an absolute must for every publisher. We’ve heard your requests for more accessible information on policy issues and we’re happy to tell you that we are launching an additional policy notifications feature directly in your AdSense account. This will help you to quickly understand and address any potential policy issues.

Going forward, if our system detects a policy violation, you’ll receive both an email and an account notification with a link to view more details. Under the Policy violations section on the home tab, you can quickly access important information including details on each violation, the issue ID and an example of the violation on your site. The page will also include details on the action you need to take to resolve the violation.

We’ll be gradually rolling out this new feature over the coming weeks to all publisher accounts.  We hope that it helps you quickly identify and resolve any potential issues so you can focus on growing your business with AdSense. Please remember that as before, you'll need to ensure all of your sites comply with our policies. In addition to checking your account for any notifications, be sure to regularly review your sites for compliance with our policies.

Thanks for your continued feedback and suggestions on how we can continue improving AdSense for you. Please continue to share them on our AdSense +page and if you’d like more details on this new feature, visit our Help Center.

Posted by Matt Goodridge - AdSense Product Manager
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Policy refresher: Appeals process

We’re continuing our policy refresher series today, taking a closer look at what happens when we detect content that doesn’t comply with our policies.

As we've talked about often on this blog we maintain a set of policies for AdSense designed to foster a healthy ecosystem and protect our publishers, advertisers and users. The vast majority of content on AdSense publisher sites follows these policies. However, sometimes, our systems do find content that doesn't comply, in which case we'll send a notice to the affected publisher. Notifications can be viewed by signing in to your AdSense account and visiting the Messages page, under your Home tab. Additionally, notifications are sent to the email address associated with your AdSense account. A notification will outline whether it is a site warning/disabling or an account disabling issue. If it is a site warning then you have 72 hours to make changes and do not need to contact us. If your account has been disabled then you should review this help center article to find out more about why we would disable an entire account. The rest of this post will deal with what to do if you receive a site disabling notification.

The first step is to understand the nature of the violation. For more about the different causes and how we define them, you can visit our Help Center and review our program policies.

In some cases, you may be eligible to appeal. If this is the case, please take note of the following considerations in formulating your appeal:
  • Make sure you understand the violation: each time we send a notification we include a snippet explaining the violation. If you still have questions following this, our Help Center contains a variety of information on program policies. We also encourage you to seek advice in our Forum - our Top Contributors have a lot of policy knowledge.
  • Check your entire site: with each notification we send you a URL as an example of the violation. Keep in mind that this is only an example, the violation may be present on other pages on your site, and we expect you to take appropriate action throughout your entire site. In many cases publishers have found Google’s search operators, specifically the “site:” operator, to come in handy, particularly for content violations.
  • Be thorough: we understand that AdSense means a lot to you, and having ad serving disabled may cost you revenue. Take your time when filing your appeal and look through your entire site. Writing a thorough appeal is more important than filing an appeal quickly.
  • Tell us how you ensure that this won't happen again: if you were notified about a content violation, tell us what systems you have put in place to ensure that content violating our program policies won't be placed alongside AdSense ads again. Webmasters with large websites might talk about updating filters or hiring human reviewers, while blog owners may tell us that they have familiarized themselves with our adult content policy better, and ensure not to post certain type pictures again.
  • Send us examples: were you notified for content violations? In that case send us some example URLs where you removed AdSense ads from. Were you notified because of ad implementation issues? Send us an example URL with your improved implementation - for some cases we will require pages with AdSense ad code implemented, even though ad serving is disabled.
  • Err on the side of caution: you may disagree with our decision to disable ad serving to your site, but keep in mind that our policies exist to protect the entire network of users, advertisers and publishers.
We know that your sites are important to you. Please understand that we don't take these decisions lightly. For more information on appeals best practices, take a look at this help center article.

Posted by Dan Zilic - AdSense Team
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Policy refresher: family-safe content

For our next installment of our policy refresher series, we’re talking about a topic we’re frequently asked content and keeping AdSense family-safe.

We’ve made a commitment to our users, advertisers and publishers to keep the AdSense network family-safe.  A general rule of thumb when it comes to the adult content policy is: if you wouldn’t want to share this content at a family dinner or view it in your boss’s office, you shouldn’t place AdSense code on it.

Let’s take a closer look at our adult content policy:

Still have questions? Don’t forget that we’ll be hosting a number of Hangouts on Air as part of our policy refreshers series.

Check the schedule below to sign up for our Hangout on Air about adult content.

View our Hangouts schedule

Posted by Pamela Malone - AdSense Policy Team
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Updates to our ‘Modifying Ad Code’ Policy

Web trends and technology demand that your site evolves quickly to maintain a growing user base. We’ve heard your questions and feedback on areas like responsive design, and we’re happy to let you know that we’ve updated our existing guidelines around modifying the AdSense ad code. We hope that this increased flexibility will help you continue enhancing the user experience on your site.

Going forward, we will permit publishers to make modifications to the AdSense ad code so long as those modifications do not artificially inflate ad performance or harm advertisers and otherwise comply with our Terms and Conditions and program policies. This will enable you to try a range of techniques on your site such as:
  • Responsive design: Enabling publishers to create a single webpage that will adapt to the device on which it’s being viewed, whether it’s a laptop, smartphone or tablet, to maximize user experience.
  • A/B testing: Running a test by creating multiple versions of a page, comparing user behavior to see which page is the most effective.
  • Setting custom channels dynamically: Tracking performance of segments of users, sections of your site, or other behavior to maximize ad and user experience.
  • Ad tag minification: Enabling your site pages to load faster by reducing the amount of data to be transferred.
For more details and to find the specific code snippets related to the bullets above, visit our updated Help Center article.

Even with this new flexibility, it’s important to proceed with caution to ensure the ecosystem remains balanced for publishers, users and advertisers. Please note that publishers must not make modifications to the AdSense code if those modifications are not permitted by our program policies. Publishers should always use caution when modifying the AdSense code and must not use techniques like hiding ad units, implementing the AdSense code in a way that covers content, creating ‘floating ads’, or manipulating ad targeting as they are a violation of our policies. More information about these types of prohibited techniques can be found in our updated Help Center article. In addition, please be aware that some types of code modification may prevent ads from appearing correctly, which may negatively impact your revenue.

We also look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions on our AdSense +page.

Posted By Nick Radicevic - AdSense Product Manager
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Join our Policy Refreshers

In order to help you better understand our policies, we’ll be holding a series of policy refreshers online in the coming weeks. We’ll discuss the policies we’re asked about most, explain how we enforce them and share tips on how to stay compliant.

In this series, we’ll review:
  • Our general policies
  • How to keep your content family- safe
  • How to ensure your ad placements are policy compliant 
Check the schedule below to sign up for our Hangouts on Air, and look out for more blog posts on AdSense policies in the coming weeks.

View our Hangouts schedule

Posted by Pamela Malone - AdSense Policy Specialist
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Coming soon: Updates to our Terms and Conditions

In order to keep pace with changes in our products, we regularly review our Terms and Conditions to make sure they're up to date and in line with those of other Google products. As a result of our recent review, we’ll be making some updates to our Terms, starting April 23rd. If you're based in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, or North America, you'll see a notification in your account when you log in after this date. It will present you with the updated Terms and prompt you to accept them. For publishers based in the Asia-Pacific region, the change to our Terms will happen slightly later as we’re rolling the changes out gradually across all regions. 

You'll have 30 days to fully review the new terms in detail before action is required. Before the updated Terms appear in your account, we'd like to give you an idea of what's changing:
  • With this new version of the Terms and Conditions, our goal has been to make them as clear and transparent as possible. As a result of this, we hope that it’ll be even easier to navigate and find what you’re looking for.
  • With mobile being one of the big trends in 2013 and beyond, we’re expanding our Terms to cover mobile properties more specifically. We’ve also incorporated guidelines for using the AdMob SDK and other publisher products.
The updates outlined above are the main areas that will be affected by the change. However, we’ve made smaller changes throughout, so please be sure to review the Terms as a whole before accepting them.

Posted by Matt Goodridge - AdSense Product Manager
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Guidelines for monetizing Flash gaming sites

Playing online games is a common pastime, and many of you implement Flash games on your site to capture your users’ interests. We've received some questions about our policies related to Flash games in the past, so we've posted a couple messages, including Using the right product and Tips for placing ads on game play pages which provide tips on how ads should be implemented. Today we’re talking about content issues on Flash gaming sites as well as common ad implementation violations for Flash gaming sites.

Family safe content
You can monetize Flash games, however our policies do not permit monetizing games with sexual or violent content. It's also important to refrain from including or allowing any explicit or profane language in descriptions or comments.

Distance between ads and game

To reduce the risk of invalid click activity, avoid placing AdSense for content ads too close to the Flash game. We strongly recommend a distance of at least 150 pixels between the ads and the the edge of a game. When users are concentrating on a Flash game and clicking frantically, invalid clicks can occur. Since each game and site is unique, some games may require a greater distance based on the type of game and how it is played. To know whether a game is likely to cause invalid clicks, we recommend that you play your Flash game, placing yourself in the user’s shoes, before placing ads on the page. Clicks on ads should always be motivated by user interest, and not by the placement of the ads on the page.
AFC as pre-roll
AdSense for games (AFG) is a product designed specifically for the monetization of Flash games. Using AdSense for content (AFC) ads as a pre-roll before, or mid-roll during a Flash game, is against our policies, as the product was not created for this kind of an implementation. If you wish to use Google ads as a pre-roll to your game, please apply for AFG. For more information about AFG, please visit our Help Center.

In order for users to enjoy the gaming experience of your site, the Flash game should be the primary focus of the page. Always keep the user in mind when placing ads and your site should remain in good standing from a policy perspective.

Posted by Ben Barkhoff,  AdSense Policy Team
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Updates around usage of 300x600 ad format

Since our recent introduction of the new 300x600 ad format, we’ve been happy to see many publishers testing it out on their pages. After carefully reviewing this ad format, we’d like to let you know about an upcoming update to our policies around use of the 300x600 unit.

Because this new format is larger than all our other ad units, we want to help ensure a balance between content and ads across publisher sites. With this in mind, going forward, publishers will be permitted to place a maximum of one 300x600 ad unit on each page. If you’ve placed more than one 300x600 ad unit per page on your site, we ask that you remove any additional ad units by Jan 10, 2013. We’ll also be sending email notifications shortly to affected publishers, asking them to make this update.

Please note that the limit for AdSense for content ad units still remains at three per page, so it’ll be possible to place one 300x600 ad unit and up to two other sizes on a page. As always, it’s important to consider both the user and advertiser experiences when placing any additional ad units on your pages.

We appreciate your understanding and help as we make this update. Thanks again for all of your feedback and enthusiasm for this new ad format; we’re continuing to work on developing new sizes, and will keep you posted on any new developments. If you’d like more information about AdSense policies, please visit our Help Center.

Posted by Charles Huang, Policy Associate

Working better together: Protecting against invalid activity

Publishers are the lifeblood of the Internet, and we’re committed to helping you grow your businesses. Last year alone, we shared $6.5 billion with our AdSense publishers. We also invest immense amounts of time and millions of dollars in systems (including sophisticated algorithms and human reviews) that keep bad ads from appearing on your sites and prevent advertisers from being fraudulently charged for bad clicks. When everything is working well, advertisers trust our network and continue to invest in it, which generates revenue for you the publisher, ultimately funding the free content users love.

But we’ve also heard the stories: publishers finding their accounts suspended or even disabled for “invalid activity” without a clear understanding of why or how to fix it. We know this can be an intensely frustrating, even scary experience. So why does this happen?

While the vast majority of publishers who sign up for AdSense do so in good faith, unfortunately there are some bad actors out there.  As you can imagine, we can’t reveal all the tools we use to keep bad sites and bad traffic out of our network.  But sometimes these tools result in good publishers who become a source of invalid activity having their accounts disabled without much recourse.  We’re making some changes we think will help fix this:
  • We are considering tenure more actively when responding to detected invalid activity. For example, some trusted publishers will now have their accounts suspended instead of terminated, and over time we hope to work directly with more publishers to resolve invalid traffic issues without needing to disable the account at all. (As always, we’ll continue to credit advertisers for any invalid activity.)
  • We’ve given publishers tools to submit more informative appeals via a new form, which may help resolve issues more quickly.
  • We’re providing more details on invalid activity’s causes. If we’ve detected a violation of our policies you’ll receive an email and a notification to your account with further information and instructions. And you can read all about the causes of invalid activity at our Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center, which is now available in most languages supported by AdSense, such as German, French, Polish and Arabic.
  • Whether you’re looking for a refresher or just creating your first ad unit, you can review the do’s and don'ts of ad traffic in our expanded AdSense Academy
  • In order to help publishers avoid common pitfalls, we’re kicking off a video series that explains why some of our policies exist and how you can make sure you’re working with them. Our first looks specifically at invalid traffic.

We want to work with our publisher partners to keep the AdSense network strong -- keeping good publishers’ accounts in good standing, while also protecting advertisers and users from fraudulent activity. This is why we’re making changes, like the ones discussed today, to provide more help when things go wrong. We’ll be making even more changes as the year goes on so look for continued updates on this blog.

Posted by Jonathan Bellack - Product Management Director

We want to hear from you. Let’s continue the conversation -- submit your questions to us about the topics discussed in this post via Google Moderator. We’ll be holding a Google Hangout in January with members of our Product Quality Operations team for the first time to address your questions. Please note that for privacy reasons, we won’t be able to respond to account-specific questions.