If you are running any sites that make money through Google’s AdSense program, you may want to start really being careful about what you post about. While everyone knows that AdSense does not allow their ads to be posted on porn sites, it seems like they may be expanding that restriction a bit (though with no announcements at all).
There have been multiple reports from sites that have gotten warnings from AdSense after publishing articles that had anything to do with sex. For example, TechDirt.com was given a warning after publishing an article about a porn star’s intellectual property lawsuit. The article was about the legal situation, and not pornographic at all.
Another recent report was from The San Francisco Appeal, which got a notification from Google because of a similar violation. This time, they were flagged because of a sex advice column. While this may make sense at first, the odd thing is that they didn’t actually get flagged for the entire column, which covers a wide range sex related questions and concerns. Instead, Google only flagged a single piece titled, “The Sexual Manifesto: Yes, It’s About Farts.” I haven’t read the post (nor do I think I want to…) but it doesn’t seem any more pornographic than the other columns on the site.
The bottom line here is that these types of flagging’s by Google are making it very confusing for many marketers who are really just trying to make a living. While the AdSense policy does say that they don’t want their ads on any sites that are not safe for work, or that you wouldn’t want your kids to see, that is pretty subjective.
In addition, there are thousands of sites out there that discuss adult topics, many of which I wouldn’t want my children to read, yet they still have AdSense running on them without a problem. Of course, Google is certainly entitled to limit their ads in any way they want, but it would be nice if they had a standard that was clearer, and if they enforced it in a way that was easier to understand.
If you are using AdSense, make sure you are checking your inbox regularly, especially if you have any content that could be considered questionable in any way. If you do receive a violation notice, you only have three days to remove the content or remove AdSense from that page before you risk getting your entire account shut down.