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Google Streamlines Publisher Policies & Adds Policy Change Log for AdSense, AdMob and Ad Manager

Google announced that publisher policies for AdSense, AdMob and Ad Manager will be streamlined and simplified starting in September 2019. Each product will have a change log where publishers can easily find any updates. 

Note: AdSense and Ad Manager Publishers received an email on September 30, 2019 that these changes are going into effect.

This change is meant to simplify finding policy information and to standardize policy across all Google's publisher products.

Policy will cover two categories of content.
  • The Google Publisher Policies cover content that Google will not monetize with ads. Trying to place ads on such content is now, and will continue to be, an AdSense policy violation that could result in account suspension or termination.
  • The Google Publisher Restrictions covers content that Google will not place Google Ads on, but that you can monetize with other advertising products or with direct deals with advertisers. Placing ads on this content will NOT be an AdSense policy violation.
Google will use the new Publisher Change Logs to announce updates and changes to policy. As a Publisher, you are expected to keep up with these changes.
Note that the YouTube Partner Program policies require Partners to follow the AdSense Program Policies as well.

Check your AdSense Policy Center to see if your site's pages have been detected violating policy or have restricted ads.

Google Publisher Policies

Google Publisher Policies cover the types of content Google will NOT monetize at all. Be sure to read the AdSense Publisher Policies for full details and examples.
  • Illegal content or content that promotes illegal activity 
  • Intellectual property abuse, including copyright infringement and selling counterfeit products
  • Promoting the sale of products from endangered or threatened species
  • Child sexual abuse material & pedophilia. This includes both images of real children and images that appear to be children, in photographs, videos, cartoons, drawings, paintings, and sculptures. 
  • Sexually explicit content, including graphic sexual text, image, audio, video, or games; non-consensual sexual themes; promoting sexual acts in exchange for compensation.
  • Adult themes in family content, including sex, violence, and depiction of popular children's characters in situations "unsuitable for a general audience".
  • Mail order brides
  • Dangerous or derogatory content, including inciting hatred, promoting discrimination, harassment, bullying, advocating harm or self-harm (including harmful health or medical claims), or exploiting others through extortion. See the AdSense Help Center for details.
  • Enabling dishonest behavior, including hacking, cracking, and providing false IDs, diplomas or accredidation.
  • Misrepresentative content, including phishing, false claims, Get Rich Quick schemes, and content that "misrepresents, misstates, or conceals information about you, your content or the primary purpose" of your site.
  • Malicious or unwanted software, malware or violation of Google Unwanted Software Policy
Placing ads on such content is an AdSense policy violation. If you attempt to monetize such content, your AdSense account may be suspended or terminated.

Google Publisher Restrictions

Google Publisher Restrictions describes the types of content that will not receive Google Ads. This content will only receive ads from other ad products or direct deals between publishers and advertisers. Read the AdSense Publisher Restrictions.
  • Sexual content, including nudity, sexually suggestive content, sex tips, sexual merchandise, content about sexual entertainment. Note that sexually explicit content is prohibited.
  • Shocking content, including acts of violence, gruesome or disgusting imagery, or a significant amount of profane or obscene language.
  • Promoting the sale or instructions for creating explosives, including bombs, firecrackers and exploding fireworks.
  • Promoting the sale of guns, gun parts & related products, or instructions for the assembly or enhancement of functionality of firearms.
  • Promoting the sale of or assembly instructions for other weapons that can be used to injure an opponent in sport, self-defense, or combat. That includes some types of knives, tasers, brass knuckles, and pepper spray.
  • Sale of tobacco and tobacco-related products .
  • Promotion of products, services, instructions for use of recreational drugs. This includes marijuana, cocaine, meth and other drugs used to induce a "high".
  • Alcohol sales and misuse
  • Promotes online sale of prescription drugs
  • Promotes the sale of unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements, including the substances on this list.
  • Online gambling, including online casinos, sports betting, lottery ticket sales, affiliate sites that promote online gambling.
  • Promoting apps removed from the Google Play Store for violation of Google Play policies
What's new for AdSense Publishers (emphasis added): Monetizing this content will not be a policy violation, but it may not show ads.
Monetizing content that falls under the Google Publisher Restrictions will no longer be a policy violation; instead, we will restrict advertising on that content as appropriate, based on the preferences of each advertising product and/or advertisers’ individual preferences. In some cases this will mean that no advertising sources are bidding on your inventory and no ads will appear on this restricted content. So while you can choose to monetize content covered by the Google Publisher Restrictions, doing so will mean you will likely receive less advertising on this restricted content than you would receive on other, nonrestricted content.
Read the announcement: Simplifying our content policies for publishers 

With these policy changes, some content that previously violated AdSense Policy now only result in restricted ads. The Policy Center should distinguish between restricted content (that you are not required to fix) and policy-violating content that you do need to fix.

The Policy Center only includes ads on your website or blog. If you are a YouTube Partner, you can check the monetization status for your videos in your YouTube account.

1. Sign in to AdSense

2. On the left menu click Account

3. Under Account click Policy Center

4.  Hopefully you see Congratulations! No issues detected.  But if not, check the Sites with enforcements section.

5. Next to the listed site, click the down arrow to see details.  
If the definition starts with Certain sources of advertising are restricted from appearing on content that:, this indicates a publisher inventory restriction that does not need to be fixed, but will receive limited ad serving. Anything else is a policy violation.

6. Address all policy issues on your site, then come back to the Policy Center.

7. Click Request Review and fill out the form.

Some things to keep in mind:
  • Don't just fix the listed page; review your entire site for possible issues to prevent future violations or your account from being disabled. The Policy Review center will only list violating pages that have generated ad requests in the past 7-10 days.
  • For pages with Restricted ad serving, you can remove the ad code and it should disappear from the Policy Center list in 7-10 days. (How to do that for Auto Ads). 
  • There is a monthly limit to the number of Restricted ad serving reviews you can request.
  • Site reviews usually are completed within a week, but may take longer.
  • You may not be able to request review for malware violations in your AdSense account. Sign in to Google Search Console to request a review.
  • You may not be able to request review for copyright violations. If there was a DMCA takedown of content on your site, you can submit a counter-notification here.
See the AdSense Policy Center FAQs for more details.

Updated September 30, 2019: more policy details and links to new AdSense help center content, and section on resolving policy issues.