This post is to display the latest AdSense bugs and problems. I have submitted screenshots of some of these issues to the AdSense team before, but they may have been overlooked.
1. Blocked URL ads still display
As I get complaints from my website visitors, I scramble to solve the problem and have spent hours reviewing and screening ads. Unfortunately, it's possible none of the ad screening or blocking has changed anything, as I have seen that weeks after I have blocked certain URLS, they continue to show up as current active advertisers in my AdSense ad review center.
AdWords quality guidelines say the image ad "must be" family safe: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/176108?hl=en&ref_topic=1310862
"Google assigns a family status to all ads to make sure that ads are shown to an appropriate audience. Image ads and the content they point to must be "family safe." Any image ads and their associated websites cannot contain "non-family" or "adult" content."
Despite the statement that the ads will be 'family safe' the following ads slipped through. A web visitor noticed them and complained about how revealing the ads were and the visitor was right. It is inappropriate for Google to display these images with pronounced breasts and revealing figure on a Christian website which includes children viewing them. So, I blocked the URL in AdSense, but weeks later, the same ads were still showing. Some time has passed now since I reported this to the AdSense quality team, but today, I see that URL blocking is still is broken for a different ad I had blocked.
That was the first advertiser URL I blocked and reported to Google. The URL was typed and verified as an identical match to the advertiser URL, so we know with 100% certainty the correct URL was blocked, but the ads continued to be active.
UPDATE 5-15-2014, I confirmed this issue. 24 hours ago I blocked the following URL, but I checked and it still shows as 'Shown' with 'Show reviewed ads' unchecked. If this ad isn't active, but is showing a history of what showed before being blocked, then what value would that have? Surely no one cares about the ads that DON'T show on your site, but only the active ones that DO! I'm hoping this is what the redesigned 'shown' and unreviewed settings do. And why would a blocked URL show up as an ad to review if the ad would never be shown? If that's the case, the who interface needs to be redesigned for a real user. See I am trying to block bad ads that real people are offended by, and I want to verify they don't show up anymore, and if they do, then it's something that has to be resolved. Please fix this.
A few weeks ago, I blocked this site (see screenshot):
Then, just today (5-15-2014), weeks after blocking the URL, I see the advertiser URL active on my site:
The ad displayed on the Ad Review Center page, with 'Show Reviewed Ads' unchecked and was on the 'Shown' tab. So, this suggests the ad is 'active', but should not be.
So, it's possible that my many hours of work to block and improve the experience for the users may have been in vain, if the AdSense filters are broken.
2. Hypocritical standards
Certain webmaster quality guidelines and policies are enforced for both AdSense and AdWords users, but Google is breaking them itself.
See Google AdSense's "Ad Placement Policies" here: https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/1346295?hl=en#Encouraging_accidental_clicks
It says this under 'Encouraging accidental clicks':
"Publishers are not permitted to encourage users to click on Google ads in any way. This includes implementing the ads in a way that they might be mistaken for other website content, such as menu, navigation, or download links."
AdWords users are forbidden to trick users into clicking the ad: from https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/176108?hl=en&ref_topic=1310862
It says this under 'Trick to Click':
"Ads cannot mimic or resemble Windows, Mac, Unix, or Chrome OS dialogue boxes, error message, etc."
Let's now look at a sample ad Google itself runs for Google Play:
Strangely, it's exactly the same as the ad iTunes runs. So, either Apple copied Google, or Google copied Apple. Either way, it's against their own policies. Meanwhile, if users themselves do this they risk having their account closed, according to Google's policies.
Today, on 5-15-2014, I saw another Google ad doing this with something that looks like a 'download now' button. Here is the screenshot:
It says nothing about what the product or service is (iTunes), just a download now button, which seems tricky and may confuse the users into clicking it.
3. Offensive ads for certain keywords still show.
Meanwhile, ads like 'Quron', 'Allah', and 'Divorce' still show up, despite having blocked some of these keywords. The AdSense interface doesn't let a standard user block ads with these keywords in bulk though. It requires someone to manually search each individual possibility and has to be repeated every 24 hours, 7 days a week for eternity. A Google rep helped me filter some, but it appears it still shows Muslim ads on my Christian website. See the following offensive ad, that Google provides publishers like me no way to block other than hiring 3 shifts of staff to review 7 days a week manually searching keywords to block these, which is unsustainable. I am aware that there is a financial interest in Google not allowing us to block ads, but Google also is supposed to be about the user-experience. It's ironic how Google is supposed to be the most advanced search engine, but its keyword search in AdSense for publishers doesn't even allow for plurals. Someone has to search everything individually to find an offensive ad: muslim, muslims, buddhism, buddhist, buddhists, meditation, meditations, meditating, meditate, meditates, meditatings... get the idea? There's no way a publisher like me can repeat an exhaustive keyword search for all possible keyword combinations of the offensive ads and repeat this every 24 hours, 7 days a week. Give us a little help, please, Google. When these offensive ads show, no one wins. Users are offended, they leave, and Google loses too.
4. Category-Blocked Ads Still Display
Either your settings are ignored, or ads are miscategorized. These AdWords ads are supposed to be approved by Google staff, but perhaps are not? When seeing the ad in my account, it doesn't show the category so there's no way of knowing if it was indeed placed in the wrong category or if our settings were being ignored. Simply displaying the category to AdSense users would reveal this and help solve the issue, and I requested this months ago to the AdSense team, but I don't see any change.
Let's first view my 'Sensitive category' settings:
These are my categories as of today, 5-16-2014 and they have been this way for about 2 years or so.
You can clearly see that the 'politics' category is blocked and it has been blocked for as long as this category has existed in my account (years) and has not changed. For the record, I am blocking both these ads directly in the ad review center, and their URL (the political category was already blocked), so I will see if these appear again...
This is a political ad appearing in the Ads Review Center under 'Shown' and 'Show reviewed ads' is unchecked. So, this ad appears active, is clearly political, as it says on it the man is running for governor, but despite my settings blocking this, it still shows up on my site. A second political ad is showing as well...
You can see this 2nd ad has a url that is long then it redirects to the first one. I wonder if they do this to avoid URL blocking? It's true that the entire URL doesn't even show up in the ad review center as it's too long, unless you right-click and copy paste, this is what it is: tonyprestpdpdeltavolunteers4completebreakfromdcorruptpast (dot com) which redirects to: tonyprestdelta2015 (dot com).
I first the blocked-category ads still showing up in January this year, when a dating site ad appeared on my site. Again the 'dating' category has been blocked for years. This was the site it linked to:
If it showed the category in the ad review center, it would reveal whether it was human error the ads showed or a script error.