An interesting thing happened to the folks over at FreelanceWritingGigs. Apparently, their Google AdSense ads were posted underneath a heading that said “Sponsors” and that got them suspended from the program.
When I read that, I immediately ran back here and to my other sites to check them out. Sure enough, on some of my sites there were Google ads underneath sponsor headings. This is worse news than you might think, because many website owners have a single AdSense account that covers all of their sites, so a suspension can be a big deal.
While Google clearly spells out what you can and cannot do in their Terms of Service, referred to as TOS all over the web, that isn’t the kind of thing a a busy freelancer spends a lot of time contemplating. The relevant Google AdSense TOS terms are on my article about my developing AdSense project. After all, I have projects due today, articles to write, blogs to update, projects to apply for, networking events to attend, and so on.
The gotcha here is that “Sponsored Links” is fine, but apparently “Sponsors” is not. The latter apparently implies that the sites from the ads endorse your site in some way, whereas the former implies that some paid or “sponsored” you for the links. That is pretty subtle, even for a professional writer.
Still, I guess rules are rules.
The real bummer is that it might not even be the website owners fault. Numerous WordPress and other templates whether paid-for premium themes or free themes and templates come by default with a section heading of Sponsors. It’s only natural to drop your ad code there. After all, when a TV program shows commercials it says, “Now a word from our sponsors.” It is common lingo that sponsors means people that pay for advertising, even if that is not linguistically correct.
That is what happened to me, at least. I didn’t want to put up 125×125 graphic ads in the sponsor area, so I dropped in my AdSense code. Seemed like a good spot at the time. I guess not anymore.
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