Thursday, 18 January 2007

Digging Deeper into the New AdSense Program Policies

As I mentioned in my previous post, "New AdSense Program Policies", the "Competitive Ads and Services" section now reads

In order to prevent user confusion, we do not permit Google ads or search boxes to be published on websites that also contain other ads or services formatted to use the same layout and colors as the Google ads or search boxes on that site.
In this post I want to concentrate on the first six words of this policy, "[i]n order to prevent user confusion."

That's an interesting statement, don't you think? What Google is saying here is that, the entire rationale for our policy is that we don't want our users thinking they're clicking on a Google ad when they're really clicking on an AdBrite ad, or a Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN) ad because they'll get confused.

What a load of baloney!

Do you honestly think John or Jane Surfer could care less whether the ad is from Google, AdBrite, Yahoo, or even Bidvertiser!?! Yet, apparently Google is so concerned about us being "confused" that they want to make sure their ads look different to everyone else's.

I would love to hear from Google why they think John or Jane is getting confused and how that's harming them (harming John/Jane Surfer, that is).

I personally think this is a complete bluff on Google's part - all they're concerned about is making sure it's as hard as possible to incorporate two competing ad services in your web site, so that you will stick with AdSense.

On a side note, the only other time I've ever come across "preventing confusion" being used as a rationale for anything is in the area of trademark law. In trademark law, the "likelihood of consumer confusion" is a key concept and one that must be proven in order to win a trademark infringement lawsuit. Could Google possibly have legal reasons tied in with trademark law? I don't think so, as I said above, I think they're just concerned with maintaining their market share, but maybe there's a tad more to it than that.

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