Reset password:

Something to think about... / blog
I hate Google AdSense...

Written by on March 25, 2008

It comes as no surprise (to my long time readers) that I do not particularly like Google AdSense. It is just "one of those things" that constantly annoys you.

Update: I have removed Google AdSense from my site. After "cleaning up" yesterday, new adult ads just appeared instead. I don't want to advertise for "sexy women", scam or spyware.

My latest problem are the ads themselves - specifically 3 kinds of ads (all increasing in volume every day):

  • Highly irrelevant ads
    - ads from sites that has nothing to do with my site or the article on which is was placed
  • Spam / scam / phishing ads
    - ads from sites that do not contain any content (only more ads), ads from sites that tries to scam you (sometimes in the form of phishing).
  • "adult entertainment" ads.
    - You know what this means...


You might think that I am exaggerating the problem, but I found that spam, scam, phishing and adult ads accounts for a staggering 36% of all the ads on this site. The irrelevant (but non-spam) ads account for a further 7%. And, a single company accounted for 18% of all the spam ads.

Spam and spyware ads are bad enough, but I am absolutely annoyed by the adult ads. How can it be that Google think it is "okay" to display adult ads when their terms of use states:

Sites displaying Google ads may not include "Pornography, adult, or mature content"

This is, of course, the terms of use that applies to me. Google is saying that I may not display ads if my site contains mature content. Naturally, I then assume that Google have to adhere to the same restrictions. It's common sense isn't it?

But if you read the advertiser's "terms of use", then it is not that simple:

While approvable adult-related ads can show in some countries, certain countries such as Germany, China, Korea, and India will not show any ads categorized as 'Adult Sexual Content' such as ads with any pornographic content. There may be other effects of family status on how your ads are served.

So, I may not - but Google advertisers may (in most countries). Or to put it in another way; People who, like me, have a family-friendly website may have it "violated" with adult ads.

...and I am not the only one who thinks Google is a jerk (from Google AdSense forum):

I find it kind of frustrating that sites like ADULT WEB SITES in 24hours - can just show up with a bare naked man in a full 160x600pixel with just a leopard thong on a guy. the ad shows him from his head down to the top of the hips. I am not against those people trying to make a buck, BUT NOT ON A FAMILY SITE, and Google does not give the publishers the means to filter the whole group from the sites!!!
This is increasingly becoming a problem with Google's program since many advertisers are slapping up porn and adult based ads with no intervention from Google at all. It IS against their rules to post such ads but it seems they have set the filter system and staff in zombie automatic mode allowing them to post them. I guess they figure if they are willing to pay they get to play.
I too get bad ads and have not got any results from Google.... How is a "Male Enhancement" ad relevant to energy savings???? I ask this question for months with no response.... Filters are full and sections are targeted!!!!! Get it together Google!!!!
I am getting almost daily complaints that ads not appropriate for kids are coming up.
I have seen porn, gambling, dating, sex advice, etc on a website that targets seven year olds. I am asking on my knees. Please take a single afternoon and solve this issue.

I have tried to contact Google to get an explanation, but their answer was far from satisfactory. In fact, it sounded like it was some kind of auto reply. This certainly does not seem to be something worthy of their time and attention. It said:

Thanks for your email. Please note that the ads we display on a webpage are determined automatically by our system based on a number of factors such as the page content, linguistics, keyword analysis, word frequency, font size, and the overall link structure of the web. For this reason, we're not able to manually target your ads. Similarly, we're not able to guarantee that specific ads will be displayed on your pages.

What now?

The solution to all this is quite simple - stop using Google AdSense (again), but as I wrote about earlier there isn't really a viable alternative. All the other advertising platforms perform worse, and contain much more junk than Google.

Of all the junk, Google is the lesser evil - and it controls the market to the point of monopoly.

So I have to decide if I want to be "greedy and very annoyed", or "lose money and be less annoyed"... Another alternative is to run my own advertising system. This has the potential to give me more money, but it also takes a lot of time to do.

Share on

Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.


Baekdal PLUS: Premium content that helps you make the right decisions, take the right actions, and focus on what really matters.

There is always more...