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Google will now go easier on publishers that violate its ad policies

Google plans to discipline more lower level violations, but consequences will start lower, too.


Google is changing how it enforces it ads policies: It will now strike ads from individual web pages that violate its ads standards. That means Google will effectively be less frequently cutting ads off entire sites.

Entire sites may still be suspended on the AdSense platform for violations, and publishers can also still be suspended or disabled from using AdSense.

The change follows a recent boycott of YouTube by advertisers concerned about ads running within inappropriate videos, and a trend of online activist campaigns that pressure advertisers to remove their ads from controversial sites.

The new approach, announced in a blog post today, is more lenient on publishers. Previously, a publisher’s full site could be suspended from ad placements if only one page violated Google’s policies, though enforcement would depend on the severity of the violation.

Examples of what would violate Google’s policies include refreshing ads on a page too often, or trying to place AdSense ads alongside content that promotes sales of tobacco.

Basically, consequences for violations will start at a lower level by default, which means publisher partners will lose less money each time Google disciplines a site for page-level violations. Google and publishers in the AdSense network share ad revenue.

But Google also said it plans to discipline more violations, and because of that, does not expect the change to result in more revenue for Google itself.

“It means really two things for publishers: It means that we can be more specific about where we take action and it means that we can take action more quickly,” said Scott Spencer, a director of product management in advertising for Google.

Spencer is in charge of the team that works on advertising and publisher policies aimed at preventing bad ads and he also represents Google in industry groups that develop and advocate for industry standards.

“This is not reactive to what’s going on in the industry. This is an improvement for publishers ... in terms of how we can take action for our policies,” he added, referring to the YouTube ads boycott and activist efforts directed at advertisers.

A recent expansion of hate-speech rules for AdSense also applies at the page level.

Google is also creating a new platform for publishers to better manage any suspensions of ads on their sites. The “Policy Center” will tell publishers how many violations a page has, for what type of content, and will provide guidance on how to fix the problem so ads may resume on the page.

Clarification: This story has been updated to more accurately convey how this change may impact Google’s ad revenue and to clarify previous enforcement practices.

This article originally appeared on

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