Google’s AdSense along with cheap web hosting and free blog providers has helped spawn today’s continuous growth of blogging and online advertising. Basically, everyone can now publish a weblog and hope that someone clicks on their paid text links block.
The unfortunate result of the accelerated growth has been the creation of MFA (Made For AdSense) sites that serve no valuable information but focus only in generating revenue. Similarly, the professional blogging community came into prominence with its wealth of experience and knowledge on how to optimize blogs for higher click–through rates and traffic, which leads to better revenues.
Unfortunately however, what used to be marginally acceptable ideas are now discouraged. The AdSense team has just clarified the issue regarding a common optimization technique: the use of images placed conveniently near ad blocks to draw the attention of readers.
Can I place small images next to my Google ads?
We ask that publishers not line up images and ads in a way that suggests a relationship between the images and the ads. If your visitors believe that the images and the ads are directly associated, or that the advertiser is offering the exact item found in the neighboring image, they may click the ad expecting to find something that isn’t actually being offered. That’s not a good experience for users or advertisers.
Publishers should also be careful to avoid similar implementations that people could find misleading. For instance, if your site contains a directory of Flash games, you should not format the ads to mimic the game descriptions.
An example of offending ad styles (graphic taken from the same article cited above):
This unexpected clarification has suddenly placed countless number of sites under doubt for their AdSense implementations. Additionally, it comes at a time when most people are busy with other real–life details, unable to react and make immediate changes. Publishers revenues will surely be affected after reverting layouts and ad blocks to not contain misleading images.
Considering that this information is posted directly in their Inside AdSense blog, could Google perhaps be significantly affected by violating publishers? Will this result in better revenues in the future?