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Google Cracking Down On Toolbars Showing Too Many Ads

Google has been notifying their AdSense for Search partners of a recent AdSense guidelines change that impact the use of the program with browser toolbars and third-party client applications. Google is supposedly giving these partners 30 days to make changes to their toolbars and applications or be in violation of the revised guidelines.

I believe the change is in the number of ads an AdSense for Search partner can display to a user through a toolbar or client application program. I believe this because the guidelines only allow two ads per page and I suspect this just might not have been enforced.

Google told me they are making this change “to improve the user experience, we are updating our AdSense guidelines regarding browser toolbars and other client applications powered by Google search and ads feeds with the goal of ensuring consistency and transparency.”

Eric Martinuzzi of Craig-Hallum highlighted the change in a research note to clients. Eric pointed us to a Vertro earnings transcript, where CEO Peter Corrao mentioned the change within the earnings call. Corrao said his company had implemented the change and was working closely with Google to ensure it was within the new guidelines.

From my understanding, there are not many AdSense partners who have been impacted by this change, perhaps because they already meet the guidelines. I have also not seen this covered by others in the industry, nor have I seen or heard complaints from AdSense publishers and partners within the industry.

Here is the transcript of the Vertro earnings call with the relevant text from the Google AdSense for Search change:

Now and importantly, I want to be proactive and inform our investors that last night we received written notice from Google that they are implementing a new client applications guideline. Google’s client applications guidelines apply to clients’ applications that use Google Search or advertise in syndication services and because of that they apply to our use of Google’s page search results.

The client application guidelines cover a wide range of subject matters including the number of advertisements available for us to display the end users and the layout of those advertisements. In anticipation of these changes to the client applications guideline, we’ve been testing various ad formats and working on ways to minimize the revenue impact of any changes to the client application guidelines.

Additionally, we are in the process of reviewing the changes to the final client application guidelines and working with Google on their implementation. As we implement these changes, we expect to keep our investors up to date on the impact of our business on our earnings call or through under Reg FD compliant communications.

Overall, we’re looking forward to executing our app strategy in the next few quarters. We have a streamlined, refocused, reenergized team in place. We further reduced our cost base. We are back to our strategy of rolling out our ALOT Appbar, we are aggressively pursuing our app strategy and have already made some significant progress there.

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