AdSense and Adult Content

The controversial subject of AdSense and 'adult content' often rears its ugly head in the AdSense Help Group. It's well known by most AdSense publishers that adult content is forbidden under the terms and conditions. In this post I am specifically referring to pictures that have a sexual connotation - however remote that connotation might actually be.

If I had a dollar for every time someone complained on there that they had been banned for pictures of ladies in swimsuits, I'd be pretty well off by now. Every publisher should be aware of the conflict between what Google classes as adult content and what the normal population would consider to be adult in nature. Google utilise their world famous 'Grandma algorithm' to determining which content is adult in nature. It's similar to the PageRank algorithm, but slightly less well known and more open to dodgy interpretation.

The way it works is as follows: If your Grandma is likely to disagree with your content then that's a good indication Google will too. Google tends to be slightly prudish when it comes to bare flesh of any sort - if you display a picture of an underwear model, even when their modesty is covered, you run the likelihood of Google considering it adult content. If they consider it adult in nature, they might also consider it damaging to their whiter than white (yeah, right) reputation. If this is the case they'll ban the publisher concerned, and that's a road you don't want to go down. As I've mentioned before, once banned it is very difficult to get reinstated.

You might think this is slightly hypocritical - after all, Google will accept all sorts of unscrupulous AdWords advertisers selling knock-off goods, dodgy timeshares and kinky sex aids. You'd be absolutely right - hypocritical is a word that describes Google perfectly in this sense - however, AdSense is their trainset and to play with it and reap the rewards you need to stick to their rules.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is don't put anything remotely risque on your AdSense bearing pages. If you have any doubt you should consult AdSense Support BEFORE placing your content on a page with AdSense.

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AdSense Earnings and Payment

The AdSense payment schedule.

Assuming you have attracted a steady number of legitimate clicks on your ads you have a big milestone to look forward to - your first payment. Before receiving your first payment you will need to verify your account details by entering a PIN. You will automatically be sent your PIN once you have reached your first USD $50 of AdSense earnings. The purpose of this is to confirm your home/business address.

Once your account is verified you will get paid a month in arrears (eg. January's payment comes in late February) after you have accumulated USD $100 in your AdSense account. If you don't reach USD $100 in a month your balance rolls over to the next month.

There are two methods of payment you can choose between:

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT):
Google is able to make electronic funds transfer directly to your chosen bank account. Payment is usually in the local currency so there's no need to worry about the exchange rate or conversion. The process is quick, efficient and there is less chance of your payment going adrift in the mail. Sign up for electronic funds transfer as follows:
  • Sign in to your account at
  • Click My Account.
  • Click the edit link adjacent to the Payment Details header.
  • In the Electronic Funds Transfer section, select the Add a new bank account radio button.
  • Click Continue.
  • Enter the requested bank account information. Your account page will provide details on what information is required. If you are unsure, please contact your bank to obtain this information. Click Save Changes.
  • At this point, AdSense will begin the process of depositing a small test amount into the publisher's bank account. Check your bank statements after 4-10 days to find a deposit from either 'Google' or 'BFS'.
Once you have the test deposit amount:
  • Click the My Account tab.
  • In the Payment Details section, click Verify this account.
  • In the box provided, enter the test deposit amount that you received in your bank account
  • Click Next. Once you have correctly entered your test deposit verification amount, your bank account will be approved and automatically selected as your form of payment
It usually takes one whole payment cycle to set up an electronic funds transfer.

Check (Cheque) Payment:
The default method of payment is by check (cheque). Google makes check payments of USD $100 or more a month in arrears. Checks are dispatched by surface mail and usually take 3 - 6 weeks to arrive. In most cases checks are made out in the local currency. To activate payments by standard delivery check do the following:
  • Sign in to your account at
  • Click My Account.
  • Click the edit link adjacent to the Payment Details header.
  • Select the Cheque Standard Delivery radio button.
  • Click Continue.
  • Select your desired currency from the drop-down list. You may choose to receive payment in United States dollars, or in your local currency if available.
  • Click Save Settings to save your payment type, or click Cancel to exit this screen without saving.

AdSense Optimisation: Creating Channels 2: Custom Channels

Recall that URL channels can be used to compare how your ads perform on different sites. This is essential information for optimising your site - getting the best results possible with your ad formats and positioning. Custom channels go one step further and allow you to see how a particular page, ad unit, search box or referral button is performing. Each custom channel relates to a different ad characteristic. Think carefully about which ad environments or characteristics you want to monitor and choose descriptive names for each channel.

Set up a new custom channel by generating a channel name and then generating the ad code associated with that channel.

Create a new custom channel name as follows:
  • Log into your AdSense account.
  • Click on the AdSense Setup tab.
  • Click on the Channels link.
  • Select either the AdSense for content, AdSense for search or Referrals tab in the panel that appears.
  • Click Custom Channels.
  • In the box that appears type a memorable and descriptive name for that channel (eg 'homepageleaderboardtop' etc).
  • Click Add Channels to add your new channel name to the Active Channels list.
Now you need to generate the ad code associated with that channel:
  • Click on the AdSense Setup tab.
  • Select either the AdSense for content, AdSense for search or Referrals tab in the panel that appears.
  • Select the desired ad format and colour palette then click Continue.
  • Select up to five custom channels (named previously as above) from the Channel list by clicking the add>> link then clicking Continue.
  • Select the ad code and paste it into your webpage.
To move a page to a different channel simply update the code.

AdSense/AdWords Users - Have Your Say

Users of the Google AdSense/AdWords programs please spend a few moments to complete our short poll. The topic is AdSense account suspension.

I shall publish key findings in a few weeks time.