Once again Google have updated their Terms of Service placing further restrictions on the way in which we can display ads on our websites. I can’t help but be infuriated by their escalating levels of arrogance and their blatant disregard for hard working publishers who offer up their traffic to Google.
It’s as if by placing Adsense units on our websites we’re granting Google an editorial role. We no longer have the final say as to what will appear, at least if we want to maintain a decent income.
I’m far from being a gloom merchant but I can only see this situation getting worse as Google’s power increases and if it continues in the same vein it’ll be what leads most publishers away from Adsense.
Below, I’ve constructed a few points outlining issues that I believe are particularly important.
As publishers there are no guarantees that our accounts will be active when we check them in the morning. Google makes it seem as though our business is worth very little to them when the exact opposite is true. Small publishers don’t really have a voice; it is Google’s way or the highway. Only there isn’t a highway! There are few feasible contextual alternatives to Adsense. And by feasible – I mean programs which return relevant ads that achieve click throughs.
Google seem to be capitalising on their monopoly by striking fear into the hearts of publishers. We’re willing to jump when Google says so to keep our main streams of revenue. Dulling the way we express ourselves isn’t a problem if it is to appease the wrath of our paymasters and to maintain our income
And Google is a paymaster for many of us. As much as I’ve tried to diversify my streams of income in the past, Adsense always seems to payout the most. Is this Google’s problem? No, but somehow I can’t feel liberated when they are toting a gun down my throat. At any point I could be fired without the chance of an appeal which is actually much worse than working for a regular employer!
I’ve become so paranoid about being banned from the Adsense program that I’ve started emailing the team every time my click through rate is higher than the norm. Should I be held accountable every time some silly beggar decides it’ll be fun to click 100 times on my ads? Google should strive to protect both it’s publishers and advertisers against fraudsters.
Adsense isn’t dying and it can only to continue to grow with Google since it’s now such a key part of their infrastructure. It makes sense that Google will only try to further increase their current stranglehold in the market by enforcing additional restrictions on creative expression.
Sure enough though it is their program – but taking into considering their size they have a responsibility to shape the Web for the better. Instead of being so damn inflexible they could make provisions by instating variants of Adsense for sites that vary from the family-friendly norm. If Google continues to neglect this market it won’t be long before another company develops a monopoly in this sector.
Where will it end? Will Google start demanding that all publisher sites should adopt the Google corporate look and feel? Will we be penalised if we don’t sign off our sites with a Google Copyright notification at the bottom? Will we have to brand ourselves with a Google Tattoo to actually get approved for the program in the first place?
Finally, our only long tem hope of attaining security within the program is to eventually become a premium publisher. For many of us – there is more chance of visiting Jupiter. Still, it seems to be the only way in which Google will acknowledge our existence without immediate contempt or suspicion.