Referral Endorsement

An important clarification regarding referrals has just been issued by the AdSense Team in the program's official blog, Inside AdSense. The clarification confirms that AdSense publishers are allowed to give "explicit endorsement" of the referral products. An explicit endorsement, although falling short of saying "click my referral buttons", does allow the publisher to imply that the visitor should download the referral product and experience the benefits of it. Statements like "this page is best viewed with Firefox and Google Toolbar" and "get Google Pack on this page" are permitted. Any endorsement must be in a way which supports the intended use of the product or service associated with the referral.

The logic behind this is that referrals are a "Cost Per Action" (CPA) product - the visitor has to complete at least 2 actions (click and download) before the publisher receives any sort of payment, which reduces the likelihood of click fraud via these ad formats. Furthermore there are some built-in constraints that prevent the same visitor from downloading a referral product, thus earning payment for the publisher, on more than one occasion.

AdSense for content ad units (the standard ads) remain an endorsement free zone - you must not draw any unnatural attention to these units on your page. It is not possible for a publisher to give an endorsement of these units because the content delivered by them is unpredictable, rendering any previous endorsement false and misleading. Encouraging clicks on these ads not only drives lower quality traffic to an advertiser’s site but provides poor data for an advertiser to make an appropriate bid on the click. This results in a poor experience for visitors and advertisers, which isn’t good for you as a publisher.

Check out the full statement at the Inside AdSense blog.

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