Lessons Learned – Google Adsense Suspension for “Adult/Sexually Gratifying”
Content is not simply an Article, in Certain Countries it’s a Message
Imagine our surprise when we received a message from Google that Adsense ad serving had been terminated on our site http://CostaRicaCLOSEUP.com for “currently displaying Google ads in a manner that is not consistent with our program policies“. Notably, the site is a digital news magazine related to Costa Rica for general consumption – with no intended sex, no gambling, no pornography – or so we thought!
Digging deeper into the basis of termination, although Google’s initial termination notice only stated that we are not permitted to place Google ads in pages with adult or mature content, and our emails asking for more particulars did not provide us any specific basis for the complaint, we were able to piece together the most probable reason that our site was determined to be “Adult/Sexually Gratifying”.
+SEO considerations of the Where and When, in addition to the What
The article at issue contained 3 elements. The first was of course text, but such was devoid of any sexual reference or innuendo other than the title of “Sexy Beach Girls in Costa Rica” The next was the featured image which was of a clothed woman’s midrift above the waist although in a Bikini. The final element was a YouTube video entitled “Hotel Desires Bikini Contest” which was neither a private video nor one with an adult rating, and in fact was quite popular receiving +16,000 hits. However, this article had been translated into a number of languages, and the complaint was only with respect to the Arabic translation!
This last aspect of the market where the article was consumed was the only variable that in our review could have changed what was originally thought to be completely acceptable and innocuous image and video content from the perspective of North American and European standards, to one being non-compliant to Google’s policies.
Adsense & Your Site are in the “Worldwide” Web, so should your Audience Analysis!
This experience brought home the true impact of the digital ecosystem we live in, where for content distribution not only do we have to consider local standards, but also the expectations of worldwide markets into which our content flows. Of course, the question is raised whether it is at all feasible to be so omnipresent … no answer as of yet, as these will ultimately be more lessons to be learned.
P.S. Google did restore our Adsense ad serving almost immediately following our notification that the picture had been changed and video link deleted.