We started our online activities solely with Ebay selling tangible items and had our fair share of success as you can see by our "About Me" page.
Since late last year we've been stretching out into other areas with our main Blog site which has the theme of Bulgaria but we always intended that this would additionally gives us options by way of earning an online income over time. So we come under the heading of "Pro Bloggers" rather than the "Information Dissemination" group.
We believe that each camp of Bloggers are entiltled to their own ways of doing things as there's plenty of cyberspace for all of us to achieve our own goals without upsetting others. Some however do get a little heated when "Advertising" and "Blogging" are mentioned in the same breath :-)
Anyway this has led us to adding a steady stream of Affiliate Marketing options to our Blog and we have now started researching the use of Google AdSense advertising as a viable source of extra income. This really has given us some extra avenues to explore but also some decisions to make on how we start with it which is the thread for this guide.
The published Terms Of Service (TOS) for using AdSense has a defined set of rules which will effectively govern the nature and content of the site on which their adverts are to eventually appear. So far so good but as with everything these seem to change at will and it is up to us (the Blog or Website owners) to ensure that we remain within the TOS or we will have our account suspended (perhaps indefinitely) if we breach any of the rules.
At first reading the rules seem sensible enough but the deeper one delves into them the more potential pitfalls arise to thwart the unsuspecting internet entrepreneur and a suspension could easily happen from a simple mistake or misunderstanding.
Any suspension would be somewhat harsh if imposed immediately and without notice as we would expect that a prior notice of a breach of the rules would be given so that a chance to correct things would be available. However to date we cannot find a definitive answer as to how a suspension would be dealt with and that is a worry but for now we are pressing ahead with our plans.
The obvious things that are no go areas are "adult content" (see below) which at first reading seems ok and fair enough plus others such as gambling, drinking, smoking, sex, violence (and most other activities that humans tend to take part in) plus the purely sensible ones of no abuse (both personal and racial) or any profanity towards any religions or beliefs plus outright extremism are covered too so all in all the rules do make "sense". These are just a summary of the main rules so we recommend you read the detail of the current TOS when and if you apply for your AdSense account.
Where the rules mainly confuse big time are in simple statement of no "adult content".
Apart from the obvious no go areas of straight out sexual encounters or genitalia exposure (of whatever leaning) being referred to or shown graphically what some may find and categorise as "adult" others may simply see as natural and inoffensive.
This leads to another area with regard to simple nudity and exposed genitalia. There are prime time beauty parades with female contestants in very skimpy bikinis on TV and additionally (just to pick another subject) there are bodybuilders (of both sexes) strutting their stuff on TV and in the media wearing a thong and and not much else covered in oil or vaseline. In newspapers, magazines and advertising generally there are nude bodies everywhere and it has become an acceptable fact of life in many Western Countries but in others it would be seen as disgraceful and or downright offensive. By showing any of this common information on a website or blog are we going to be in danger of breaching the AdSense TOS ?
Aside from the sexual aspect there is another grey area concering adult content and to quote an example my Grandson (who is 10 years old) was playing an innocent looking game on his Playstation the other day. On closer inspection it was for his age group but the game seemed to centre upon roaming around a computer generated landscape simply hacking to bits any living thing within sight in order to score points and move on in the game. Now we know it's only a game but these things are so realistic and there was blood, guts, limbs and other body parts flying all over the place ... is this "adult content" if we were to show it online on a website or blog ? Could it possibly come under the "excessive violence" tag that we are not allowed under the AdSense TOS ?
Rules are rules but the interpretation of them is very difficult when considering the diversity of cultures that are covered within the internet community as a whole and in the case of the AdSense TOS they are open to varying degrees of interpretation such that it is a nightmare trying to consider what is and what is not acceptable.
To add further complication the rules also state that if the site has any existing banner advertising then there should be no "overt narrative" to encourage vistors to "click here" or "go to" those banners or the AdSense police will not like it. Some banner rotation options automatically place banner images and we as webmasters or blog owners cannot guarantee that a new banner image will not have the offending words embedded within the image. We asked Google a specific question on this very point three weeks ago but have not received a reply to date.
Furthermore there is also we believe a defined "space" that must be maintained between any video clips that may be on the site relative to the AdSense adverts that will appear but the distance required is very vague and open to interpretation. Again the AdSense police may be on the look out for this offence too so be careful :-)
So there you have it ... AdSense is a great idea and well worth exploring for your website or Blog providing you can cover the TOS rules and be certain that you are not in any way breaking any of them ?
If this general guide has made you a little wary then go to our "About Me" page and find our Mad Video Blog site where you will get some useful information and links which may help you find an easy way to utilise the power and potential of Google AdSense without worrying too much about the above complications ?
Good luck to you all.
Gary & Val