Corrupt DMOZ Editor

Friday, March 24, 2006

AdSense Blacklist?

There has been an outcry from many AdSensers for a collective blacklist to aid in efficiently blocking out what they call MFA's, or Made For AdSense sites. The reasoning behind filtering out these advertisers is because they are low quality sites with minimal content, designed solely for the purpose of generating AdSense clicks.

A Question of Trust
The reasoning behind blocking those pages ranges from "it's not good for the user" to "it's going to lower my income." I'm not going to get into whether those assertions are true or not. What I am going to get into is, can you trust an AdSense blacklist?

Modern Day Lynch Mob?
The concept of a blacklist is inherently flawed because historically, innocent people have always been hurt by them. Once a name is on a blacklist, any blacklist, the damage is done. There have always been innocent people getting hurt whenever any kind of blacklisting has been attempted. A blacklist can become the modern day version of a lynching.

Who is going to play god?
The other flaw with blacklists is that they are subject to the whims and sketchy judgement of whoever is submitting the lists, especially in a collective blacklist where the list is generated by the masses. Even if you centralize the decision making process of what site should get into a blacklist, one still has to question their judgement.

We Want AdSenseblacklist.com!
So goes the chant by many AdSense publishers. AdSenseblacklist.com is a fairly new site that has been gaining notoriety as a place to submit and receive lists of sites to be blocked in the AdSense competitive ad filter, with the idea being that the publishers will earn more money by blocking the advertising of these low value websites within the websites of the more respectable publishers, or so it goes.

What Criteria is Used?
One issue with AdSenseblacklist.com is that they are listing websites that are well known within the internet industry as being respectable, among the most respected in fact. Currently listed on the right hand side as among the top sites to block are TrueLocal.com and Knowledgestorm.com. Neither of those sites runs AdSense on their websites, so they are not flipping clicks. By definition, they are not Made For AdSense websites. This makes one wonder what criteria AdsSenseBlacklist.com is using for listing a site on the blacklist.

Calling the Kettle Black?
I don't like to talk about the websites of others, I'm a live and let live kind of girl. However, the operator of AdSenseBlacklist.com has set themself up as an arbiter of what gets blacklisted, and since it is in the public space as the judge, I think it's fair to take a look at what this person is really up to, and perhaps get an idea as to whether AdSenseBlacklist.com has the moral authority to sit in judgement of other websites.

The issue I'm concerned with is that the owner of AdSenseBlacklist.com runs some sites that some may find interesting- and I will leave that for you to judge. The owner has removed his Google AS unit from the site, but it's still currently in the Google Cache: google_ad_client = "pub-2131746553703247"

Screenshot of Google Cache Taken March 22, 2006

Now head on over to http://www.directask.com/index.php?term=fitness and take a look at those pages. The publisher code is the same one as from AdSenseblacklist.com. You be the judge whether that site is an MFA or not. I'm not going to judge that site, you can judge for yourself.



Now head over to this page:
http://www.celebrityworld.tv/index.php

[added: Try the Google Cache, as they took it down today- 03-25-2006.]

featuring nude and scantily clad women, as well as a Google Search box prefilled with the word Credit Card, sitting in the uppper top right of the page, also featuring the same publisher code from AdSenseblacklist.com, so that no matter what you search for, Google ads for Credit Cards will show up.



Again, I am not going to judge that site, or accuse it of breaking Google's publishers terms, and I'm definitely NOT going to report it to Google either. I'm not going to play judge and jury here.

The point that needs to be understood is that blacklists have a checkered history of hurting many innocent people, and it has occurred in the past that the people behind blacklists do not have the moral or technical authority to administer a blacklist. Whether AdSenseBlacklist.com is run by an opportunistic MFA publisher is up to you to decide. I make no judgement, I'm just bringing you the facts. But I will say this, if we are going to let the masses collectively decide who gets on the blacklist, will these be the same people who endorsed AdSenseblacklist.com?