Last weekend Shopping.com encouraged its users to click on AdSense ads.
Here are examples for a couple searches. Notice the big SEE SITE buttons next to the ads:
According to my read of the Google’s AdSense Policy, Shopping.com’s actions are in violation of that policy:
In order to ensure a good experience for users and advertisers, publishers may not request that users click the ads on their sites or rely on deceptive implementation methods to obtain clicks. Publishers participating in the AdSense program:
* May not encourage users to click the Google ads by using phrases such as “click the ads,” “support us,” “visit these links,” or other similar language
* May not direct user attention to the ads via arrows or other graphical gimmicks
* May not place misleading images alongside individual ads
* May not promote sites displaying ads through unsolicited mass emails or unwanted advertisements on third-party websites
* May not compensate users for viewing ads or performing searches, or promise compensation to a third party for such behavior
* May not place misleading labels above Google ad units – for instance, ads may be labeled “Sponsored Links” but not “Favorite Sites”
When I asked Shopping.com about this, they said that their “relationship with AdSense is confidential.”
Does this mean that Google AdSense sanctioned this test? I figured that this was just a programmer error, but that’s obviously not the response that I got.
So I’ll put it to my readers:
1. Is this a violation of Google’s AdSense Policies?
2. Is this a good user experience or is this just tricking the users into clicking on a link. The SEE SITE buttons Shopping.com posted next to the AdSense ads are the same ones they use for product listing results: