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Friday, September 12, 2008

Google Adsense Nonsense

a simulpost with Tech Learning

There are definitely people who are not using Google Adsense correctly and I believe it is impacting children.

Imagine my suprise about 2 weeks a go when I went to Peggy Sheehy's Suffern Middle School blog at 1 am to find ads all over the page for Hot Tech Chicks and NO content until scrolling WAY down - ads were everywhere.

After sending it to Peggy and Kevin Jarrett, they had been hacked but it looks like the ads may have been just late at night - not really sure.  Since then, edublogs has done quite a few upgrades, but I'm not sure they notified people that a breach had occurred.

Hint:  If they tell you to update your password, they mean it!

Then, I go into my email today and a Audrey Hill, who is corresponding with Julie and I about her vision for a middle school flat classroom project write that "I'm flying by the seat of my pants"  so, what ad did I get, "Erect Hard!"

Seems that "seat of the pants" causes Google Adsense to think I'm needing some sort of medicinal improvement to my husbands and my love life!  (It scans keywords in your email to determine what ads you want to see.) 

Although I can deal with this, I think of the students I've recommended to use GmailI would like Google Adsense to allow people to OPT OUT of adult advertising. 

Period.  I don't want to see it and I don't want it in my inbox.  I don't want it in my 13 year olds inbox nor my 11 year olds inbox.  (Of course, you're not supposed to be able to sign up for Google until you're 18, but honestly that is not happening and everyone knows it.)

See Google Terms of Service:

"2.3 You may not use the Services and may not accept the Terms if (a) you are not of legal age to form a binding contract with Google, or (b) you are a person barred from receiving the Services under the laws of the United States or other countries including the country in which you are resident or from which you use the Services."

So, I went to the Google Adsense Complaint form (yes, there is one) and filled it out.

This is precisely why I've not used Google Adsense on my site.  There is just not enough control over what sites will be served up to you and have my name on it.

We should be able to have control over what ads we see -- they track everything else -- shouldn't I be able to say "no adult ads" (and do the same for my kids) and then as they go through the world, not get the ads.

I'm calling upon Google Adsense to do something about this. Sometimes we want to filter our own world just a little bit.

And also to figure out how the terms of service can be modified so that kids under 18 can be protected.  Really, by just ignoring kids under 18 in this case (and under 13 in the case of other companies) -- companies get out of having to officially comply with laws like COPPA.  In this case, ignorance is being considered bliss, but what is happening in reality is things like innappropriate ads being served up to children.

Don't get me wrong, I adore Google and so many of their services, but this one has really bothered me for some time.  I also hope that they work with companies like edublogs to find out the people who are hacking sites to serve up ads and CUT OFF THEIR ACCOUNTS!

Update at 4:50 pm EDT - Interestingly, Sallie points out that Google has just asked for feedback on Adsense.  Well, Google, you've got my feedback!  It is right here!

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