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Troy

Google Has Really Been In My A-s Lately

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I have this love/hate relationship with Google.  On some level I believe Google really does want to make the web a better place. However, as a corporation, they have to generate an ever increasing amount of money for their investors, and in the age of Facebook this must be very difficult.   As a result, Google is like a schizophrenic; you never know who, or what you are dealing with at any given moment.  When Google's algorithms get crazy they can't be reasoned with, have no compassion, or guilt over the mayhem they leave in their wake.  

AALBC.com posts advertisments, provided by Google, throughout the website. On the page you are reading now, there are likely two Google provided advertisements; one horizontal banner at the top of the page and another at the bottom.  I have been serving Google ads for over a decade almost as long as their Ad network has existed, and I've gotten a check from them, often a 4-figure one every single month.

But every once in awhile Google comes down on me for something on my website that they don't like. If you don't react quickly enough to address their concerns, Google will remove their ads from your site until you comply.  They don't play.  

I used to have Amazon products appear on my website from their products feed.  This allowed people to buy anything Amazon sold on my website, which allowed me to earn commissions on those sales.  Amazon sold a sex toy (some kind of kinky butt plug) on their website which meant the product could appear on my site--which apparently it did.  Google disabled my ads as a result.  Ultimately I ended up removing the Amazon products feed feature from the website.  The feature also ran afoul of one of Google's SEO rules, but that is another subject.

Another time Google sent me a link to a post on my discussion forums that they did not like.  It was something Kola Boof posted. I actually removed the offending images on the page, but that was not enough to placate Google, for they said there were many other offending images, but they refused to provide me with additional links to to help me get rid of all the images.  Unable to find all of the images on my own, Google simply stopped allowing the forum to serve Google Ads--no trial, no jury, no recourse.  Ultimately, I relocated the discussion from thumperscorner.com to aalbc.com, but that relocation resulted in a big reduction in participation.

Just this week I got two more warnings from Google:

Hello,

This is a warning message to alert you that there is action required to bring your AdSense account into compliance with our AdSense program policies. We’ve provided additional details below, along with the actions to be taken on your part.

Affected website: aalbc.com

Example page where violation occurred: http://aalbc.com/reviews/kola_boof.htm

Action required: Please make changes immediately to your site to follow AdSense program policies.

Current account status: Active 

Violation explanation

Why was this action taken against my account:

kola_b2-censored.jpgGoogle ads may not be placed on pages with adult or any kinds of non family-safe content. This includes any site which contains:

  • Full nudity

  • Pornographic images, videos, or games

  • Pornographic cartoons or anime (hentai/ecchi)

Please note that to fix this violation, you need not censor the content itself, but you should stop placing ad code on the page.

It turns out Google did not like a topless image of Kola Boof that was on the page?!  This is frustrating because on the very same page, Google was serving an ad feature an image of a provocative, largest breasted woman, promoting a Russian (wink, wink) dating site.  Whose sensibilities are Google trying to protect? I can't show a bare breast, but Google can promote a sex site?! I replaced Kola's photo with modified version obscuring her breasts, which is on the right. if you click the photo, you can see the original image which violated Google's policy.

A few days early I received the message below:

Hello,

This is a warning message to alert you that there is action required to bring your AdSense account into compliance with our AdSense program policies. We’ve provided additional details below, along with the actions to be taken on your part.

Affected website: aalbc.com

Example page where violation occurred: http://aalbc.com/authors/author.php?author_name=Frances+Cress+Welsing

Action required: Please make changes immediately to your site to follow AdSense program policies.

Current account status: Active 

Violation explanation
 

Publishers may not implement Google ads in a manner that makes them more prominent than the content of the page itself. On mobile devices this includes placing two or more Google ads on the viewscreen at the same time. Please be aware that if you have responsive website design that ads may shift into non compliant positions as the format of the screen changes.

I'm saying to myself, "What the hell is Google talking about now?!"  I hate sites that place ads which dominate the page.  In fact work hard to make sure this does not happen.  On one hand Google will tell you to place ads within the content as this increases clicks on the ads and on the other they manage to find something wrong with a page I actively work to ensure ads do not dominate. 

It turns out my problem was the mobile version of the website.  I've designed the pages to take all of the ads on the right hand side of the page and move them below the content on mobile displays.  In order for the ads to be seen on a mobile device, one has to scroll past the page's content.  So it seems absurd that this would make Google think my ads are more prominent that the content.  Please note, the mobile optimized version of the website was created to comply with one of Google's SEO rules, but, again, that is another subject.

I explained to a Google employee that I thought this was overreach on Google's part and that anyone looking at the mobile version of the page could not reasonably conclude I was making the ads more prominent than the content itself.  The employee remained mute on this point.  But it was true, if you scrolled to the bottom of the page you could indeed see two Google ads at the same time, depending upon the ad rotation; so I deleted one of the ads to comply.

Usually months, even years, go by between violation warnings from Google, but two in the span of a week gives me the impression Google is getting more aggressive.  I'm just glad I was not on vacation to return home to find my site was banned from serving Google ad for not addressing their warnings.

In an ideal world, I would not be dependent upon Google for advertising, but frankly they are the only game in town, that provides a meaningful source of revenue for sites like mine.  So it turns out that jumping through Google's hoops is worth the effort.  If I were perfectly honest, my site is actually better as a result of doing what Google suggests particularly as it pertains to SEO.

Hopefully I won't have to hear from Google again any time soon.

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I got my hand slapped again by Google this morning. I was warned that I was serving Google ads on pages without content.  My initial reaction is always frustration when I get these nastygrams from Google, because these notices generally preempt anything I had planned work on. In this case I was not aware that I had any pages without content.

After checking out the sample link provide I discovered the types of pages Google does not like; Basically if someone runs a query on my website and there are not results you end up with a page that says no results. Check out the results page on "Flying Pigs," you see here since the query returns no results (well it may return this page now).  Google does not wants ads served on this pages.  

For my website I think this is a mistake, for the ads still have value there.  Basically I have to created new templates which excludes google ads for my search pages and my 404 error pages.  Fortunately, this did not take very long.  While I was creating the new header, I also took the time to redesign the search bar which looks a lot nicer now:

image002.jpg

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Here is a another notice from Google I got this morning (I don't post all of them).  Google claims this page: http://aalbc.com/books/bookinfo.php?isbn13=9780446179980 violates one or more of the policies described below.  I disagree and will try to fight this one.

Google ads may not be placed on adult or mature content. This includes fetish content as well as sites that promote, sell or discuss sexual aids. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • sexual fixations or practices that may be considered unconventional

  • sexual aids or enhancement tools such as vibrators, dildos, lubes, sex games, inflatable toys

  • penis and breast enlargement tools

  • sexual fixations or practices that may be considered unconventional

  • sexual aids or enhancement tools such as vibrators, dildos, lubes, sex games, inflatable toys

  • penis and breast enlargement tools

For more information about keeping your content family-safe, please review our program guidelines and these tips from the policy team.

Additionally, you can watch our short animated video & policy refreshers on this topic.

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It seems that the target is black lit based websites. I get at least a message every week about the number of pages giving 404 errors from Webmaster tools. Now I know why this is happening (my host is having issues with the server and this has led to the site having multiple pages that aren't loading). Thankfully, I don't serve any Google Ads on that site since the site was kicked out of Google years ago. Although my other sites are all approved and doing well, I get the same message every week explaining that my search will not be served. I'm indifferent since I don't get any ad revenue. Unfortunately I can't run a Google Adwords on CBP either as it was kicked out of Adsense so there isn't any way to get them to adjust this. We are all at the mercy of the bigger platform all because people simply don't take the time to bookmark and visit sites anymore. We keep rolling.

Then again, I'm overreacting about the black lit sites thing...

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Well considering that there are far fewer Black Lit sites today than 10 years ago, and many of the ones that remain are undiscoverable; you may not be over reacting.

On the whole jumping through Google's hoops has helped make AALBC.com a better website.  A few years ago Google made SSL a ranking signal for their search engine.  I'm going to make AALBC.com secure as a result.  Google are also behind making the while web secure, which is not a bad idea.

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