Google will now go easier on publishers that violate its ad policies

The new Google logo is displayed at the Google headquarters on September 2, 2015 in Mountain View, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
The new Google logo is displayed at the Google headquarters on September 2, 2015 in Mountain View, California.

Google is changing how it enforces it ads policies: It will now strike ads from individual web pages that violate its ads standards. That means Google will effectively be cutting fewer websites out of its ad network.

Entire sites may still be suspended on the AdSense platform for violations, and publishers can also still be suspended or disabled from using AdSense.

The change follows a recent boycott of YouTube by advertisers concerned about ads running within inappropriate videos, and a trend of online activist campaigns that pressure advertisers to remove their ads from controversial sites.

The new approach, announced in a blog post today, is more lenient on publishers. Previously, a publisher's full site would be suspended from ad placements if only one page violated Google's policies.

Since Google and publishers in the AdSense network share ad revenue, this more surgical approach means both Google and its publisher partners will lose less money. Examples of what would violate Google's policies include refreshing ads on a page too often, or trying to place AdSense ads alongside content that promotes sales of tobacco.

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"It means really two things for publishers: It means that we can be more specific about where we take action and it means that we can take action more quickly," said Scott Spencer, a director of product management in advertising for Google.

Spencer is in charge of the team that works on advertising and publisher policies aimed at preventing bad ads and he also represents Google in industry groups that develop and advocate for industry standards.

"This is not reactive to what's going on in the industry. This is an improvement for publishers ... in terms of how we can take action for our policies," he added, referring to the YouTube ads boycott and activist efforts directed at advertisers.

A recent expansion of hate-speech rules for AdSense also applies at the page level.

Google is also creating a new platform for publishers to better manage any suspensions of ads on their sites. The "Policy Center" will tell publishers how many violations a page has, for what type of content, and will provide guidance on how to fix the problem so ads may resume on the page.

By Tess Townsend, Re/

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