Google changed the terms and conditions of the AdSense program this week causing mass panic throughout the web.
1. Google removed the stipulation that other contextual ad programs could not be used on the same page.
2. Google added terms that prohibit other contextual ads not only on a per page basis, but on a per site basis, when such ads mimic the look and feel of Google AdSense ads.
3. Google now prohibits the collection of data for referral products. Which should close down those sites which were using Google’s free products to collect email addresses and other biographical information.
4. Google now prohibits the use of images next to ad units. Effectively clarifying the vagueness that existed over this issue.
There has been a bit of controversy surrounding #2, which basically puts almost every site owner who was using both YPN and AdSense with similar color pallets in a position where they are forced to choose one program or the other. No more A/B testing between programs to find the best payouts. I’ve always made it a standard practice to rotate between YPN and AdSense on a 50%-50% basis and tweaking the display percentage as time went on in favor of the ad group generating the better revenue numbers. With the latest change, I was forced to run through the last 60 days of revenue figures and forced my sites to one program or the other.
In the long run, Google’s change might only end up being a blip on the radar of inconvenience, but to a marketing guy who is always testing and tweaking, this takes a tool out of my toolbelt.