Wednesday, 6 December 2006

AdSense, a Bifurcated System

Now, I always knew there were two tiers of AdSense users, the "premium" publishers who have such benefits as Google Keywords (google_kw) and the rest of us, i.e. the average AdSense publisher. However, until today, I didn't realize (oh naïve me) that there are also two sets of rules (well, there's probably as many sets of rules as there are premium publishers).

I was aware that some rules in the AdSense Terms and Conditions, and Policies are not applied as written, but today I learned that AdSense is prepared to forgo entire rules for publishers that are in a special relationship. How did I discover this?

A few days ago I happened to be reading John Chow's blog when I noticed that his blog was displaying both AdSense and Intellitxt ads. Immediately I thought to myself, "Self! Intellitxt is a contextual ad system and you are not allowed to display contextual ads on the same page as AdSense ads, so something's up." (See the "Competitive Ads and Services" section of the Google AdSense Program Policies).

Being the curious type and one who likes to see rules being applied equally to all people, I thought I would write to AdSense support to ask if I, being a mere mortal AdSense publisher would be allowed to display Kontera ads (similar to Intellitxt) on my blogs alongside my AdSense ads. I also pointed out that was doing this very thing. I received an interesting reply:

According to our program policies, Kontera and Intellitxt ads may not be displayed on the same page as Google ads on your site. However, you are welcome to display those ads on pages of your site that do not include Google ads . . . Additionally, I understand that you've noticed is displaying Google ads. Because we respect the confidentiality of all publishers, we cannot disclose any details of our relationship with this site.

So, if you're lucky enough to be one of the John Chow's of this world, not only may you get access to premium features, but Google may also be prepared to break its own rules to have you use their contextual ad publishing service.

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