free html hit counter So...Why Is Google Reminding Folks How to Block Advertisers...Now? - John Battelle's Search Blog

So…Why Is Google Reminding Folks How to Block Advertisers…Now?

By - November 03, 2008

Check this out from the AdSense blog:

When we notice a spike in readers who are interested in a specific topic, we like to address it as soon as we can. There’s been some interest in filtering ads from publisher pages, so here’s a quick refresher on the filtering tools we offer:

Competitive Ad Filter

You can restrict contextually-targeted and placement-targeted ads from appearing on your pages by adding the URL of each ad to your Competitive Ad Filter. After logging in to your account, click the AdSense Setup tab and visit the ‘Competitive Ad Filter’ page. You can also find full instructions and tips for entering in specific URLs in our Help Center. To determine the URL of an ad, try the AdSense Preview Tool or follow these steps. Please keep in mind that it may take several hours for the filter to take effect.

Look, I run a network of high end publishers, and many of them use Google and other remnant networks to backfill ad inventory. So I see this too. And I can give you exactly one reason why this came up. For those of you too lazy to click the link, Google came out against Proposition 8 a while back, and I applaud them for doing so. And the spike they are referring to? Most likely (I have not confirmed this) it’s because the Yes on Prop 8 folks are aggressively spending on Google right now, and a ton of publishers are seeing Yes on 8 ads on their site, and they don’t want to allow those ads.

For the record, I am openly against this proposition. If that means another group of readers (yeah, I am for Obama too) stop reading me because they think my views don’t fit theirs, well, sorry to see you go, folks. Most likely, most of you left me already given my views on the presidential electon. Somehow, I sense, in a decade or two, this will all seem like a pretty stupid debate.

Onwards.


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8 thoughts on “So…Why Is Google Reminding Folks How to Block Advertisers…Now?

  1. I find it annoying that you can only restrict advertisers across all your sites at once. I would like to block specific ads from certain sites of mine but allow the ads on other sites. Not possible to do at this time.

  2. McCainSupporter says:

    FWIW, a lot us McCain supporters are still here.

    I may not agree with you opinions on politics (although I do agree on no on prop 8), that doesn’t mean I can’t respect them.

    We’re Americans before any of us are Democrats or Republicans, right?

  3. @McCainSupporter – i could not agree more. thanks for the civil note.

  4. Justin Watt says:

    John, that was freaky—I just logged into AdSense to block protectmarriage dot com (my first ever AdSense block), and then I read your post.

  5. Seriously. After seeing TechCrunch write about the pro-Prop 8 ads showing up on various site with Google AdSense, I thought hmm, looked at some of my anti-Prop 8 posts and yep, there were prop-Prop 8 ads showing up. So it was off to the competitive ad filter as no doubt many other people were doing.

    So c’mon Google, don’t pussy foot around. Just say we know lots of you seem upset over these particular ads, and here’s how to turn them off.

    But you know, John — it raises a bigger issue. Perhaps Google is going to need to do much more about proactively telling people what’s showing up on their sites. You can’t anticipate all the things that might happen. Heck, the pro-Prop 8 ads aren’t really even what the “competitive” ad filter was designed to do (keep business competitors off our site).

    Certainly alerts of when someone is specifically targeting your site could be automatically sent. But maybe Google could come up with a regular report to let you know which particular ads are showing or showing frequently.

    Or be smart enough to know that if you’ve written a post against Prop 8, you probably don’t want an pro ad showing up :)

  6. Amit Agarwal says:

    Maybe this “Competitive Filter” is good for merchants who put AdSense on their sites.

    For instance, if I sell pizzas on my website, I may want to block ads from Pizza Hut or Dominos as they are “competitors” and I don’t want my potential customers to know about them.

  7. But you know, John — it raises a bigger issue. Perhaps Google is going to need to do much more about proactively telling people what’s showing up on their sites. You can’t anticipate all the things that might happen. Heck, the pro-Prop 8 ads aren’t really even what the “competitive” ad filter was designed to do (keep business competitors off our site).
    But you know, John — it raises a bigger issue. Perhaps Google is going to need to do much more about proactively telling people what’s showing up on their sites. You can’t anticipate all the things that might happen. Heck, the pro-Prop 8 ads aren’t really even what the “competitive” ad filter was designed to do (keep business competitors off our site).

  8. Jonah Stein says:

    John

    I see the issue here is the need for publishers and content producers to police their sites to maintain standards. When we demand accountability from advertisers and ad networks, the tools will become available.

    Yesterday I read a discussion about Yahoo’s Right Media giving publishers the OPTION to block deceptive advertising. Included was the telling and disturbing fact that up to 1/5th of the inventory on Right contained “Free Offers” with no disclosure language. Add the growing issues with malware spread through iFrame injection to the garbage spewed by Adult Friend Finder and other online scams and it becomes clear that left unchecked, advertisers will blight our sites.

    Proposition 8 is a clear example of undermining the intent of the publisher. I have also seen ads for McCain juxtaposed in Gmail next to a letter from the Obama campaign.

    This issue is not black and white and ther here is a great deal of nuance. What is right for one publisher may not be for another. Indeed, I could easily imagine someone being willing to accept a certain advertisement (hopefully not one with Malware), but only at a premium.