Google’s AdSense looks to deal more precisely on publisher violations


Following months of criticism for the way it reacts to its digital advertising Google is coming out with some new ways to deal more precisely with where people’s ads are shown.

In a new post on the site Google’s Director of Sustainable Ads Scott Spencer said:

“We’re introducing a new technology for policy violations that allows us to act more quickly and more precisely when we need to remove ads from content that violates our policies. Historically, for most policy violations, we remove all ads from a publisher’s site. As we roll out page-level policy action as the new default for content violations, we’ll be able to stop showing ads on select pages, while leaving ads up on the rest of a site’s good content. We’ll still use site-level actions but only as needed. And when it’s necessary, such as in the case of egregious or persistent violations, we’ll still terminate publishers. Altogether, this means fewer disruptions for publishers.”

Back in March we wrote about how the UK Government, Transport for London, the Financial Conduct Authority, The Guardian, Channel 4, L’Oréal and the Havas group were just some of the companies who paused their advertising with Google and Youtube following revelations that their ads were appearing alongside extremist videos.

An investigation by The Times dscovered ads from leading firms were shown on the youtube pages of people such as David Duke, former leader of the Klu Klux Klan, and pastor Steven Anderson, who praised the killing of 49 people in a gay nightclub. Ads appearing alongside YouTube videos earn the owner of the youtube channel money, this means that racists, holocaust deniers and rape apologists with large Youtube followings had received payouts from Google for YouTube commercials. In this case it was stated that ads for branches of the British Government, paid for by UK taxpayers, were appearing alongside some very questionable content including Isis propaganda videos.

Over the following weeks several large US companies followed suit.  AT&T, Verizon, Johnson and Johnson, Enterprise Holdings and pharmaceutical giant GSK as well as other major U.S. advertisers pulled hundreds of millions of dollars in business from Google and YouTube. This came despite, at the time, Google pledging to ‘raise the bar’ wth regards to its advertising.

This looks like the beginning of these measures from Google, Scott continues:

“We’re also announcing a new Policy Center as a one-stop shop for everything a publisher needs to know about policy actions that affect their sites and pages. We have been piloting this Policy Center with thousands of AdSense publishers, who have been very positive about these changes—and provided great feedback and suggestions on how to make the Policy Center more useful.

In just a few weeks, all AdSense publishers will have more transparency about why policy actions were taken and the violations found, including page-level action data, so they can quickly resolve these issues across all their sites and pages using step-by-step instructions. The Policy Center also makes it easy for publishers to tell us when policy issues have been resolved and their pages are ready for review.  

Later this year, we’ll be adding policy centers in other publisher platforms in addition to AdSense.

With this launch, we’re moving two steps closer to our goal of making it easier to understand how our policies work so that publishers can drive their businesses forward, using Google ad platforms.”

Whilst it’s early days and we’ve yet to see if this can help solve the problem, it’s good to see Google finally acting on this and hopefully over time they can solve this problem.


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