Google announced an upcoming policy change to AdSense, part of its ad stack used by publishers to monetize content, prohibiting media owners from using the ad network to promote spyware services. The update will roll out in August.
AdSense publishers, typically medium-sized websites, will have to more stringently monitor monetization partners or risk losing demand from the tens of thousands of advertisers on Google’s network. This update means publishers can no longer serve ads promoting software that can monitor the call and text messaging history on a person’s phone without their consent, covert GPS trackers, and surveillance equipment (including cameras, audio recorders, dash cams and nanny cams) “marketed with the express purpose of spying,” according to the new policy.
According to Google, falling foul of its Publisher Restrictions policies can lead to it throttling demand: “Content that falls under the Google Publisher Policies is not allowed to be monetized and you should not place ads against that content. Attempting to monetize policy-violating content may result in your account(s) being suspended or terminated.”
Cory Schnurr, head of marketplace innovation at The Media Trust, explained that there’s a rising concern among publishers about their networks being used by nefarious actors.
“While publishers are sensitive to ad quality, it’s a limited group that actually enforce their policies, and the situation is worsening as teams hesitate to take action that could negatively affect revenue,” he told Adweek. Attempting to monetize policy-violating content may result in your account(s) being suspended or terminated.”