I’ve been in a bit of an e-mail exchange with Google AdSense lately. They wrote to inform me that one of my pages is in violation of their policies.

I’ll be the first to admit, I may have skimmed that policy/terms of agreement bit a tad quickly before clicking the little “I Agree To The Following Terms of Agreement” button when signing up, but really… violation?

I checked out the page and what they had a problem with was a bit at the bottom that was informing visitors to use the links I had added to the site to direct them to my hosting provider to get more information about a good hosting package I’m affiliated with.

Figuring the little Googlebots made a mistake thinking I was talking about Google ads (as in their policies you’re not allowed to encourage visitors to use the ads), I wrote Google back and they told me I’m actually not allowed to advise visitors of MY pages to visit ANY advertising on MY site – Google or not.

Does anyone else see the problem in this? When did Google start dictating the content of our sites? I mean, I can understand that they don’t want you pooching their click-thru system by telling people to click their’s, but what right do they have to tell us that we can’t advise people to visit affiliate programs’ Web sites for more information about the program?

Here are the two e-mails… [blablabla] has replaced the violating phrases so as not to get in trouble again. Fuck, I wouldn’t even care as the AdSense on here is not too important, but it’s directly connected to my new site, where it is important… so if I pooch it on one, it’s pooched on the other.

From: [email protected]
To: Ryan McLaughlin
CC: [email protected]
Subject: Google AdSense
Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 18:37:44 -0700

While reviewing your account, we noticed that you are currently displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our policies. For instance, we found violations of AdSense policies on pages such as

Publishers are not permitted to encourage users to [blablabla] Google ads or bring excessive attention to ad units. For example, your site cannot contain phrases such as “[blablabla],” “[blablabla],” “[blablabla],” or other similar language that could apply to the Google ads on your site. Publishers may not use arrows or other symbols to direct attention to the ads on their sites, and publishers may not label the Google ads with text other than “sponsored links” or “advertisements.”

Please make any necessary changes to your web pages in the next 72 hours. We also suggest that you take the time to review our program policies ( to ensure that all of your other pages are in compliance.

Once you update your site, we will automatically detect the changes and ad serving will not be affected. If you choose not to make the changes to your account within the next three days, your account will remain active but you will no longer be able to display ads on the site. Please note, however, that we may disable your account if further violations are found in the future.
Thank you for your cooperation.
The Google AdSense Team

From: “Ryan McLaughlin”
Subject: RE: Google AdSense
Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 23:55:12 -0400

Hi GoogleAdsense, while reviewing my account, I noticed that I am currently displaying Google ads in a manner that is completely compliant with your policies. For instance, I found no violations of AdSense policies on pages such as It does (rather, did) contain phrases such as “[blablabla],” but it was NOT referring to any Google AdSense advertising. The entry, as this is a blog, was outlining details about an affiliate program I am connected with for my site hosting. It is very clear in the text what I am referring to, and there could be no mistake on the part of my viewers in thinking I meant for them to [blablabla] on my Google ads.

I understand Google’s need to use bots to monitor the millions of sites that use these ads, but I think if a violation is found, perhaps a human being is best to check out if it’s a valid violation or not. I thank you for your warning, and please let me know if you find any other non-violations to your policies.

With regards,
Ryan McLaughlin

And they said…
Thanks for following up with us. Please be aware that our program policies state that web pages may not include incentives of any kind for users to [blablabla] ads [[[it should be stated that the only incentive I stated was “to get more information”]]], including encouraging users to [blablabla] any ad, regardless of content. This policy is not specifically restricted to ads being served through Google AdSense.

Sigh. Anyway, here’s an interesting statistic, to show how useless they really are: I consume two things most mornings for “breakfast” – the contents of these two things are 75% the same. Three out of the four things included in each are identical. One is oatmeal, the other is coffee. Weird eh?

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