In what looks to be an effort to be the one overall ad network that rules them all, Google sent out an email to AdSense publishers today letting them know that they would soon be opening up their accounts to allow for third-party ad networks to display ads as well. The catch is that it will only be open to third party ad networks that Google deems worthy of certification.
Right now, if you run AdSense on your site, you are seeing ads come in from advertisers who bid on certain keywords using Google’s AdWords product. But with the new more open system, if there is a better offer from one of these Google-certified third-party networks, Google says it will run those ads instead. You’ll be able to partially control these third party ad networks from within AdSense. For example, if you don’t like a certain network, you can block it. Or you can black all third-party ad networks entirely — obviously, Google would be just fine with that.
Here’s another interesting bit: Google says that the third-party ad networks that have tools to show more relevant ads based on the content on your site, won’t necessarily be allowed to do that through this program. Only the ones that adhere to Google’s privacy standards will get the contextual advertising privilege.
Basically, this kind of sounds like those Progressive Insurance commercials where they promise to show you the best quote for your insurance even if it isn’t their’s. The idea is that you’ll appreciate their honesty, but also that they feel good enough about their product and prices that you’ll stay with them. Of course the big difference is that with Google’s system you will still be remaining in their ecosystem, whereas with the Progressive system, you would have gotten to leave the Progressive site to sign up for a competitor’s insurance. Well played, Google, well played.
Here’s the full email they’re sending out:
We’re writing to let you know about an upcoming update in your AdSense account designed to help you generate the maximum revenue from your ad units. You’ll soon be able to allow multiple ad networks to show on your pages, which means that advertisers from external Google-certified networks will be able to compete with AdWords advertisers for your ad space.
If you’re unfamiliar with what ad networks are, they’re companies that partner with advertisers and publishers to buy and sell ads on sites they don’t own themselves, similar to AdSense. Ads from these networks will compete with Google ads to show on publisher sites, and the ad generating the highest revenue for publishers will be displayed.
To ensure the quality of the ads appearing on your sites, we’re certifying all participating ad networks for adherence to our standards for user privacy, ad quality, and speed. You’ll also have control over which networks can show ads on your pages — you can choose to opt out of receiving ads from specific networks, or all networks completely. This means you can continue to show ads from only AdWords advertisers if you’d like.
Finally, some ad networks use tools similar to Google’s interest-based advertising to show more relevant ads to users on the sites they visit. These ad networks won’t be permitted to collect data from your site for the purpose of subsequent interest-based advertising, but we’ll allow those who comply with user privacy guidelines to show ads using these tools. You’ll have the ability to opt out of showing ads based on user interests from these ad networks, and we’ve changed our requirements for third-party ad serving to reflect this. More information is available at http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=94230 .
These new capabilities will automatically be enabled for your account, and you’ll see a new section in your Ad Review Center where you can allow or block specific ad networks. Please note that we’ll gradually be adding new ad networks to AdSense accounts over the next few months, so you won’t see any immediate impact on your ads or your earnings.
To learn more about this launch and managing the ad networks appearing on your pages, visit the AdSense Help Center at https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=13522 and watch our video demo at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HyJPOVLd3I .
The Google AdSense Team
[photo: New Line Cinemas]