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28 August 2009

AdSense Ads To Include Ad Networks

The Google AdSense program may be getting much better, or worse, thanks to the mega corp's announcement that the AdSense program will include advertising bids and creatives from outside, or so-called third party ad networks.

The upside is that this could mean more bids and higher prices for indie publisher's inventory, and thus more revenue to small bloggers and site publishers. The bad news is that quality control of ad inventory is always tricky, and never one of the AdSense program's strong suits in my opinion.

Now there are new networks to police and manage, but, Google is giving you tools, blunt tools, to deal with it.

You can block all third party ad networks (very blunt, could hurt your revenue big time), specific networks, or all future networks but those that you have already approved. No creative or ad by ad approval is on offer.

For those with family friendly sites this lack of granularity is VERY RISKY if you allow any networks to run. It is also unclear if the code invoked on page will call elements from outside of the doubleclick or google domains. Some company, government and school systems block websites based on such criteria. If you depend on such traffic think hard about these new options.

Another issue is malware. These other networks are possible sources, like many very legit ad networks, of malware or malicous software (trojans, viruses, etc.) running in ad units. Search online and you can find examples of even major websites and ad networks that have unknowingly infected innocent users. Google's AdSense program has historically been pretty safe. Hopefully (but they are so far silent on this) they will have safety systems in place to be certain all creatives they serve are malware-free.

The bottom line: be careful and monitor your sites. I hope for all of our sakes that this competition for our AdSense impressions brings more revenue in these challenging times.

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