No Sense Behind Google’s AdSense

I apologize for the length of this post, but I thought y’all might enjoy reading it. As you may have noticed, beneath the blogads in the sidebar, I’ve started running Google Ads. And while I’m glad to have found a way to bring in a ‘lil extra dough to keep the site going, getting up and running with AdSense has been a bit of a forehead smacking experience.

It started when I applied for an Adsense account and was subsequently rejected:

Hello Daniel,

Thank you for your interest in Google AdSense. After reviewing your application, our program specialists have found that the website currently associated with your account does not comply with our policies. Therefore, we’re unable to accept you into Google AdSense at this time.

We did not approve your application for the reasons listed below. If you are able to resolve these issues, please feel free to reply to this email for reconsideration when you have made the changes.


Sensitive content: Google believes strongly in freedom of expression and offers broad access to content across the web without censoring search results. At the same time, we reserve the right to exercise discretion when reviewing sites for AdSense. We’ve found that your website contains content that we don’t allow at this time. AdSense policy doesn’t currently accept sites that advocate against any individual, group, or organization. Please review our policies for a complete list of site content not allowed on web pages.


If you would like to submit another website for consideration, simply reply to this email and provide us with the URL. If this new website complies with our program policies, we will help you start delivering AdWords ads in minutes.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions.


The Google Team

Now, I’m positively perplexed. I know we’re a bit snarky and our politics are far from mainstream, but ‘sensitive’? What on earth about Jewschool is ‘sensitive,’ I wondered. And so I replied:

I am extremely curious as to what “sensitive content” on my website does not comply with your organization’s policies. Could you please specify?

That’s a very straight-forward question, is it not? Here was the reply:

Hello Daniel,

Thank you for your email.

Our program specialists review all websites for a variety of criteria. These include, but are not limited to, site content, clear navigation, and the site’s potential value to the AdSense program and the user experience.

Upon reviewing your site, we found that many of the ads that would appear on your site would not be relevant to your site’s content, as a whole. As the ads would not provide a valuable experience for your site’s users or our advertisers, we feel that your site isn’t a good fit for the AdSense program at this time.

Please feel free to reply to this email with any further questions. If you manage or own another site on which you’d like to display Google ads, you may reply to this email and include the URL in the message. We will then reconsider your application. If the new site complies with our program policies and is a fit for the AdSense program, we’ll approve your application and allow you to run ads on that specific site.

Thank you for your understanding.


The Google Team

Now, is it just me, or did Carrie not answer my question at all? I felt like I was dealing with a PR agent specializing in spin. So in turn, I responded:

“Upon reviewing your site, we found that many of the ads that would appear on your site would not be relevant to your site’s content, as a whole.”

I find this to be a wholly fallacious statement. You seem to have no trouble at all placing relative ads on http://protocols.blogspot.com/ and http://www.theyadablog.com/ to which my site is considered a contemporary (and in fact, both sites regularly quote mine, not to mention the fact that I’ve lectured on panels alongside the editors of both of those sites and am a contributor to the latter), nor do you have trouble placing advertisements on any number of other Jewishly-themed websites apart from mine. Your statement that the ads are not relevant does not intimate the label of “sensitive content” which was your preliminary dismissal. I did not ask whether or not the site’s material was “incompatible” with AdSense, but rather why the material is considered “sensitive.”

I would still like an answer to this question that is not scripted, but rather, based on the assesment of the staff who deemed it so. Thus I shall reiterate my question, which was not answered: “I am extremely curious as to what ‘sensitive content’ on my website does not comply with your organization’s policies. Could you please specify?”

I soon thereafter received an e-mail reading:


Your Google AdSense application has been approved. You can now activate your account and start delivering Google ads and AdSense for search on your site in minutes.

This was soon followed by another e-mail from Carrie:

Hello Daniel,

Thank you for your email. We appreciate your explanation on this matter.

Our AdSense representatives review all AdSense applications according to our Terms and Conditions and our program policies. I apologize if the prior disapproval of your application was made in error.

I have now reviewed and confirmed that your website meets all of our policies. Your application has been approved.

“Well, alright,” I said to myself. “Good shit.” So I created my little ad block and tossed the Javascript into my Blogger template, republished my site, and found this gaping hole in the sidebar where the ads were supposed to display. I had a similar experience when I first started using blogads, so I e-mailed Google to be sure if everything was alright and if it just took a few hours or a couple days for the ads to start displaying.

So I added the Javascript and I’m just getting this big blank space…Does it take a while for the ads to start displaying?

Google’s response was wholly unexpected:

Hello Daniel,

Thank you for your email. Please note that we currently do not run paid Google ads on web pages that are determined to contain potentially sensitive or non-family safe content by our automatic contextual advertising system. Because our system automatically classifies web pages based on the type of content, the ads appearing on the page you mentioned are public service ads, for which you do not receive earnings.

I have reviewed your site and found that many of the ads that would appear on your site would not be relevant to your site’s content. Therefore, the ads would not provide a valuable experience for your site’s users or our advertisers.

Thank you for your understanding. Please feel free to reply to this email if you have additional technical questions or concerns. For general program or account questions, please email [email protected].


The Google Team

This, of course, was perplexing because, by the time I received this e-mail, the Google ads were displaying on my site, and they were not PSAs, but rather ads for “Terrorism Experts” and Christian Zionist organizations pleading with Jews to make aliyah. At this point, I’m getting annoyed:

You guys are really starting to wear my patience thin.

First I get rejected because my content is “sensitive.” Then I write you to ask what’s sensitive about it and you respond, not by answering my question, but by saying the ads would be irrelevant to my site. Then when I point out that you are running ads on two other sites which parallel mine (and which in fact, regularly quote mine) and demand, again, to know what’s wrong with my content, I get an e-mail back apologizing and welcoming me to AdSense. Now, you’re e-mailing me to tell me that I may as well yank the Javascript from my template because my content is purportedly sensitive and not “family-safe”, and thus the ads are irrelevant to my site.

Would you care to give me a straight answer regarding what is sensitive about the content on my site; what it is that you deem objectionable?

The answer I got, I was completely unprepared for:

Hello Dan,

Thank you for your reply. Please note that our automatic contextual advertising system may find any content related to the ‘Holocaust’ to be sensitive. Please know that Google believes strongly in freedom of expression and offers broad access to content across the web without censoring search results. However, as previously mentioned, our system automatically classifies web pages based on their content to prevent the possibility of a negative user experience. At this time, we cannot manually alter the targeting of the ads displayed on your site.

Please keep in mind that your AdSense account remains active and you are free to serve ads to any pages that do not contain potentially sensitive content.

We appreciate your understanding. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.


The Google Team

I love how he put Holocaust in single quotes like, “the so-called ‘Holocaust’,” but I’m sure that wasn’t his intention. See, I was kind of thinking that they didn’t like our critical stance on Israel and they were going to say something about that. But to essentially say that they won’t run ads on our site because of the word Holocaust, despite that it was raised in the context of condemning Holocaust denial? Who’s feelings are we trying to protect? Antisemites? Also, how can I get flack for the word Holocaust when one of the ads Google was displaying on our site was for a book about the American eugenics movement called Hitler Is Winning?

Wait, I’m sorry. Let me get this straight. The term “Holocaust,” when used in a discussion about the wrongfulness of Holocaust denial, is “sensitive,” but the ad for the book “Hitler is Winning” which is now being displayed in my Adsense bar isn’t? Are you kidding me?

To which Google replied:

Hello Dan,

Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. I have forwarded your finding to our AdWords team for further investigation.

All AdWords ads are held to the AdWords Editorial Guidelines and Terms and Conditions. If this ad is found to be in violation of any of these policies, we will remove it immediately.

We understand that you are disappointed with our current policies. We apologize for the inconvenience. However, we have certain policies in place that we believe will help ensure the effectiveness of Google ads for our publishers as well as our advertisers.

As we grow, we may find that we are able to expand our program to more more pages with a wider variety of web content.

Thank you for your feedback, and please know that we are working hard to make the AdSense program available to as many pages as we can.


The Google Team

I’m still perplexed as to why Ray is suggesting that Jewschool doesn’t meet Google’s criteria, considering the fact that I’ve been displaying ads for “Republican singles” and birthright israel trips for the last two days. Further, I had no interest in having that guy’s ad yanked for his book, because, frankly, I want people to learn about the history of the American eugenics movement. I wasn’t trying to “bring that to his attention”, I was trying to point out the fallacy in their logic and get a straight answer to my question: What is it about Jewschool’s content that is too ‘sensitive.’ But no such luck when talking to Google’s robot support staff who apparently can not respond to a direct question, particularly without the use of a computer. At this point I have my doubts that Ray is even a human being himself. He might just be AI software scanning e-mails and shooting back responses, because clearly the guy hasn’t the ability to deviate from a script long enough to address me like a human being, let alone actually respond to my question.

But to hell with it. The ads are running and I seem to be making money, so… What Robot Ray don’t know don’t hurt him, I guess. The logic behind AdSense, on the other hand, well… that shall forever remain a mystery to me.

11 thoughts on “No Sense Behind Google’s AdSense

  1. I suppose everyone has their windmills.
    One day, sooner or later, you’ll realize that this blog is a collosal time-drainer or even a waste of time and wish to pass on to more meaningful things.
    Another thing is how much ‘rights’ do you think you deserve from Google. If they want to be ignorant SOBs, why associate with them or wish to ‘feed at their trough’?

  2. funny josh, i just recently had the revelation that the best things that’ve happened to me in the last two years are because of jewschool. so, suffice to say, i couldn’t agree less.
    as for google–they’re a private (tho soon public) company, and they can do whatever the hell they want. for me this isn’t about what i think i deserve from google..i don’t deserve anything. it’s about understanding the reasoning behind their policy.

  3. wow. this is a clear sign that google is going down the tubes as a company. it’s sad. they used to be very human and responsive. this is bad news for them.

  4. i don’t think it’s the same thing really… an ad for my site wasn’t banned, the placement of ads on my site was called into question

  5. So whats the deal..you get paid on the number of times people click the ads?
    I signed up for a google ipo bid number, and then 2 days ago went to my ameritrade account to place a bid. They had a questionair I had to fill out to see if I was eligible to place a bid…Do I or any immediate family members work for a mutual fund purchaser. do you undrestand the inherint risk blah blah…any case..I filled it out…complete with honest answers that I though for sure would make me elligable..and what do you know….sorry mr. schneider..you are not eligble. so i couldn’t place my damn bid..no wonder they have had such a shitty turn out on this whole bid thing…even if you wanna get some you can’t..wtf…
    ok..when the rejected my resume 4 times over the past 2 years, i kinda understood that it was pretty competative…but i can’t get a gmail account, i can’t buy the stock, and it looks like getting the ads is a bitch…at least i am still eligble to use their search engine…for now.

  6. I understood “Ray’s” reasoning to be that since any reference to the holocaust would automatically generate ads that are denial oriented, Google cannot accomodate your request for inclusion in their ad services. The reason being that they do not want to provide users with a “negative experience.” Basically he was saying that even though your reference to the holocaust per se is not negative, the automated ad software would indeed display ads that do not induce positive user experience like “Hitler Is Winning” and that “at this time, we cannot manually alter the targeting of the ads displayed on your site.

  7. well, you do say the word fuck in ur posts sometimes. That might affect it in some way.
    Besides, whats so frickin great about this program anyway?
    How much money would you make already?

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