A Widget Solves My Google Adsense Rant

Last week I ranted about a couple of things that Google did that just really got my goat. (That means they annoyed me, for anyone who doesn't recognize that old slang). So as I do, I ranted and raved and moaned and groaned until someone decided to solve the problem for me.

Ok, so first let's refresh your memory on why I was annoyed. Here's what I wrote back then:

Google recently told all Adsense publishers that they had to have privacy policies that had to meet certain Google requirements, but they couldn't actually spell out those requirements. Ok, fine, we all scrambled and did our best to try to comply with the vague new rule, and in my case, it meant spending an entire day dealing with all my various sites that serve Adsense.

Now, just a mere few weeks later, we're told we have to change our privacy policies yet again, this time to include a list of linked URLs that lead to all the 3rd party ad suppliers that Google has contracted with. But wait, not only do we have to link to these 3rd parties, but that list could change at any time. So, I assume we are supposed to constantly check Google's list, and constantly update our lists whenever Google's list changes. And again, Google is vague about what exactly will be acceptable to comply with the new ruling. Why should we have to deal with this? Why not just let us link to Google's list? Then, when it changes, it won't affect us at all. But Google is good at doing things without thinking them through all the way. (I generally believe it's because their uber-smart geeky employees are too smart to think of the common-sense things, but that's just me).

This time, I bolded the part that annoyed me the most. I don't want to have to keep checking Google's list of 3rd party advertisers, and change my privacy policies every time they decide to add or edit their list. If I only owned one site, maybe that wouldn't be too annoying, but I own a fair few sites, and I just don't have the time or the patience to play these Google monkey games.

So now for the solution...

Michael has created a script that grabs the list of 3rd party advertisers from Google's site and publishes them on our privacy policy pages. This way, no matter how often Google changes the list, our list is always up to date - automatically - without us having to constantly check and edit.

The script comes in several "flavors". There are a couple of ways you can grab it that are a bit more technical, and although one only involves copy/pasting some code, it "is" php code, so that might be a hindrance for some. The other is an xml file that you can do what you want with. Now, Michael, being the ubergeek that he is, was only going to provide those two methods, and he had a good reason for it. The output is straight html, so Google's bot would know that the list was on your page, and would know that you were in compliance.

Personally, I don't care if the bot knows or not. If Google is going to require me to comply without giving me any real tools to do so, the least they can do is send a human being by to check if they think I might not be in compliance. So I begged Michael to create a javascript widget that would make it a snap for anyone to use practically anywhere. Granted, Google's bot may not be able to read the script, but that's ok as far as I'm concerned. I'm still in compliance with the rule.

So, the bottom line is this. You can automatically include Google's list of 3rd party advertisers in any of three ways...take your pick. I like using the simple plug-n-play javascript widget (which you can grab here), but you can choose whichever method works best for you.

To get the code or to read more about it (including instructions), head on over to the Free Google Third-Party Ad Providers Widget post that gives all the info on it. (Oh, and yes, it's free).

Thank you, Michael.

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