Google AdSense explains why Grandma’s swimsuit on a mannequin is “sexual content”.

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Google AdSense explains why Grandma's swimsuit on a mannequin is "sexual content".

One publisher expressed frustration to AdSense over what he called a “policy violation” for “sexual content.” because of a photo of a mannequin in a bathing suit.

The bathing suit wasn’t even a bikini.

They were one-piece swimwear of the kind worn by most people’s grandmothers on a public beach.

AdSense starts displaying objectionable ads

To make matters worse, while his site received an AdSense alert for a one-piece granny swimsuit, Google began serving offensive ads on its site, focused on sensitive areas of men’s underwear and women’s underwear.

“Then what AdSense banner am I seeing on my site today? Something from a lingerie website with 10 models in VERY tight lingerie… Zoomed in to the B-BS, then zoomed out to zoom in on another.

…Later I see another men’s underwear ad that has models with HUGE bulges showing off their underwear.”

The publisher said it was “double standards” for Google to have overly offensive advertising on its site while also labeling an innocent image as “sexual content.”

Asking Google for fairness, the editor said:

“Business is tough enough Google, I really don’t want you breathing down my neck every day for content that would be underrated elsewhere.”

Google AdSense Adult Content Policy

Google AdSense posted an overview of its adult content policy on YouTube, stating:

“Our general rule of thumb is that if you don’t want a child to see the content, or if you would be embarrassed to view the page in front of colleagues at work, then don’t place ad code on a page.”

It’s safe to assume that a department store image of a mannequin in a granny one-piece swimsuit would satisfy this “general rule of thumb.”

Google’s video shows an example of the line between acceptable and unacceptable content:

As you can see in the screenshots above, the image of a model in a two-piece bikini is acceptable.

Examples of sexual content include the same types of content that Google AdSense showed on the publisher’s site:

Sexual Content
Is content that:

  • contains nudity.
  • is sexually satisfying, sexually suggestive and/or intended to provoke sexual arousal.
    Examples: closeups of breasts, buttocks, or crotches, see-through or see-through clothing, blurry sexual body parts, or censored images of men or women posing and/or undressing in a seductive manner.”
Screenshot by John Brown, Head of Publisher Policy Communications at Google John Brown, Head of Publisher Policy Communications, discusses Google’s policies on what types of content can be flagged as adult and lose ad revenue.

Google answers

John Brown, Head of Publisher Policy Communications at Google replied to the editor.

He first corrected the publisher on the allegation of policy violation.

John explained that the publisher was not reported for a policy violation.

Rather, Google notified the publisher of a publisher restriction.

John linked to a support page that highlights the types of content that may fall under a publisher restriction notification: sexual content and shocking content (cruel images).

The publisher had no policy violation

An important fact that came to light during this discussion is that the publisher did not violate Google’s policies.

Rather, the publisher benefited from Google’s better approach to informing publishers about situations that could lead to lower advertising revenue.

Brown clarified what happened:

“Sexual content does not constitute a ‘policy violation’ but rather constitutes a ‘restriction’, meaning advertisers’ demand for this type of content will likely be lower: in this case, you’ve simply been advised that you’re likely to experience less monetization.” of this category of content as advertisers have shown less willingness to appear alongside this content.”

This means that Google doesn’t threaten a publisher with losing their AdSense account, but rather wants to say that a certain image creates the situation for the publisher that a page attracts fewer advertisers.

So what happened is that the notification that Google sent to the publisher was misinterpreted as a “policy violation” by them, which then upset that publisher.

This misunderstanding may not be the publisher’s fault, but may be the way Google communicated the limitation.

John then addressed the objectionable ads that AdSense served by linking to a support page that discusses various controls publishers have to block unwanted ads.

Google’s Brown added:

“In addition, if an ad is particularly offensive or inappropriate, you can report the ad at any time. A team will then review them and determine if there are any policy violations for that ad.”

Editor’s response to Google AdSense

The publishers responded by acknowledging that the approach of notifying them of ad restrictions was preferable to threatening to lose their AdSense account.

Another editor suggested that Google needs to do better:

“Your conclusion from this thread should be that Google needs to do more and not tell us publishers that we’re not doing enough.”

Brown responded by inviting constructive feedback, which is a great approach from Google:

“Okay, tell me what else we can do to help. Constructive ideas and feedback are welcome.”

More discussions ensued, with publishers receiving more positive advice from Google and voicing their concerns about AdSense.

A publisher shared screenshots of spam ads that he found difficult to remove.

Bring away

Google’s John Brown did an excellent job of addressing publishers’ concerns.

This discussion proves that when Google and publishers share concerns and constructive criticism, everyone wins.

Google Publisher Restrictions

How to block ad categories in AdSense

Read the WebmasterWorld discussion here:

Double standards: Just one complaint here

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