TechDirt Threatened With AdSense Closure For Reporting On Racy Videos That YouTube Puts Ads On

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Another week, another loony story involving Google AdSense. This time, publisher Techdirt has been told to remove ads from a page with content deemed too racy for AdSense — even though Google itself runs ads against the same exact content.

I’m Too Sexy For My AdSense…

Techdirt.com, a long-standing and respected tech publication, wrote on Thursday that it received notice from Google’s AdSense team demanding that it take AdSense ads off a news article. The article covered an intellectual property lawsuit where a porn star sued rapper Bow Wow for using video of her pole dancing in one of his music videos without permission.

Techdirt points out there was no actual nudity or porn involved in the story and that it was a news story. What it did include were the two videos involved in the case which showed the pole dancing.

In an email from the AdSense policy team, TechDirt was told that if AdSense ads weren’t removed from the page within three days, the whole account would be shut down. The AdSense policy states, “Publishers are not permitted to place Google ads or AdSense for search (AFS) search boxes on pages with adult or mature content.”

But Not If That Content’s On YouTube

Here’s the kicker. As Techdirt points out, both of the videos are on YouTube and can be seen with ads served by Google running next to them. An ad was showing up on the Bow Wow video today.

Google ad on suggestive video Youtube

Techdirt appealed, but was rejected because, it was told, “It looks like the video in question is fairly suggestive (i.e., there is a picture of a stripper pole).”

So what gives? How can Google claim a publisher can’t monetize a page because it contains content which Google itself is monetizing?

Why Regulate What Google Already Allows Advertisers To Regulate?

It would make somewhat more sense if Google didn’t give advertisers controls over the types of content they want their ads shown next to. But they do.

Right in AdWords advertisers can opt-out of content categories including sexually suggestive content defined as “Provocative pictures, text, and more.”

AdWords Sensitive content categories

What is the point of offering this option to advertisers if having their ads shown next to sexually suggested content is against the AdSense policy?


About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Associate Editor, assisting with the day to day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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