Friday, January 13, 2012

F'd Ad (Network) Fridays: Google Adcensorship

Adland, the internet's longest-running adblog, has been experiencing some financial troubles of late. They made it through the New Year deadline by fundraising to cover unexpected server fees, only to have their ad revenue rug pulled out from under them by Google Adsense.

The blog's owner, Åsk Wäppling, recently got a notice from Google that read:

"As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on pages with adult or mature content. In addition to photos and videos which contain nudity or sexual activities, below are some other examples of unacceptable content: * Lewd or provocative images * Crude or indecent language, including adult stories * Sexual tips or advice * Sexual fetish sites (e.g. foot fetish content) * Adult toys or products * Ads or links to external sites containing adult content * Adult links and/or adult keywords within the meta data in the source code of your site"
The offending content? This image, from a four-year-old post in the archives.

Åsk points out that Adsense regularly serves up much more sexually-charged content than this, like Evony's notorious titty ads.

What is going on here? Adland was kicked off Adsense almost a year ago for a seven-year-old post  showing an ad with bare bums and complaining about its sexism.

Incredible that lingerie photos, of a type that can be found in any department store catalogue, have been labelled "mature content". Someone needs to get their head out of their ass.


  1. Notice the timing, this happens before the superbowl, a month where adsense revenue is 5 times higher than any other month.

    Not to sound more paranoid than usual, but once it's a coincidence, when it happens twice it looks planned.

    AFAIK anyone can report a site to google if one believes that it breaks adsense rules.

  2. I almost wrote that I sensed persecution. I sure hope not.

  3. Thanks for the post!!

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  4. Adsoftheworld also uses Adsense, and that site has a sizable amount of pseudo pornographic content (e.g. print ads, commercials, etc). But, as you know, Adsoftheworld is owned by WebMediaBrands, and Adland, by a single individual.

    I used to run a facebook page on advertising and it was permanently deleted (actually my whole Facebook account was permanently deleted)because I posted a single French commercial that was mildly sexual in nature (nothing pornographic). Ivan posted the same commercial on the Aotw facebook page. He only got a slap on the wrist.

    I decided to never use Facebook again. Facebook is just like Google. They do not bother to investigate anything. Once a (computer generated) decision has been made that you've violated their policies, it's pretty much over. I don't know if Google Adsense has phone support. It might be better to call them as opposed to write them.