A Few Bad Ads from Google Adsense

Savvy Vegetarian is a free content site, supported mainly by Google Adsense

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A few times a year, someone gets upset by an ad and writes to tell me about it. The following is my typical response.

Message for Savvy Vegetarian:

By having an ad such as this one (link expired) on your site, you’ve lost all credibility with me. Will look elsewhere from now on.

Larry W.

Hi Larry,

I’m sorry you feel that way. Thanks for sending me the url, so I can go to Google Adsense and block that advertiser.

You’re one of the very few people I hear from who get upset by an ad on Savvy Veg and decide to go away. It seems to me a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face – but let me explain.

Most of the ads on our site are placed by Google Adsense, and we don’t really have a pre-approval option or a way to monitor ads closely – or the time to do all that.

Understanding Google Adsense and how the ads work explains why bad ads sometimes appear on Savvy Vegetarian.


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Practically speaking, it’s only possible to block ads after the fact, and we need the url which isn’t always shown in the ad. And we’re penalized for clicking through on the ads that appear on our site. Even when we block an advertiser, it doesn’t take effect right away, and then they just get a different url.

It’s a bit of a Catch-22 situation for us. We need the advertising revenue to support us in our unpaid efforts to support vegetarian and vegan diets. Google targets their ads pretty well, although it’s not 100%, so the occasional bad ad appears – which I agree can be upsetting and even offensive.

But to me that’s a minor blip in the big picture, which is that plant-based, vegetarian and vegan diets are growing ever more popular, which encourages me to continue in spite of the occasional upset – such as bad ads, or vegetarian disinformation campaigns sponsored by the meat industry – or haters, both veg & non-veg varieties.


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Following the principle of focusing on the positive, I look at the ads as wall-paper, just part of the background for what’s really important on the pages. If an ad appears that I don’t like, I block the advertiser if I can see the url. Otherwise, I just refresh the page, which then shows a different ad, and carry on with my work.

If an advertiser doesn’t get a good click through rate from Savvy Vegetarian, Google eventually will stop placing their ads where they don’t get results. In clicking through to that url, you’ve helped Google and the advertiser to make more money. But I take heart in knowing that their money is helping to support vegetarian and vegan diets.

Of course you’re free to choose what sites you visit, and how you respond to ads you don’t like. However, I think you’ll find that Savvy Vegetarian isn’t the only vegetarian site with this problem.

Thanks for writing,
All the best, Judith Kingsbury

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7 Responses to “A Few Bad Ads from Google Adsense”

  1. Tyler says:

    As a website owner myself I have never had an issue with this type of thing, so it makes me chuckle. I can see how a big skyscraper ad for ground beef might sting your readers! Too funny!

  2. Savvy Veg says:

    Thanks very much to all for your understanding and supportive comments! I know I shouldn’t even reply to letters from people who are just latching on to any excuse for a put down (and why provide them with my email address?), but I just wanted to publicly set the record about ads on the site once and for all.

  3. Julie says:

    When I look at a website I’m consentrating on the content of what I’m reading. I never even notice the ads. Oh Larry, grow up!

  4. Memory says:

    I also totally ignore the ads. I know why they have to be there, but almost all advertising is meant to tell the consumer that they should be unhappy until they buy a particular product. I choose to be happy by ignoring ads and by not watching television. That doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to the news. It just means that I don’t accept the bombardment of insecurities perpetrated by marketing majors.
    That being said, I love your website! Keep up the fantastic work. The animals we don’t eat never worry about wrinkles, so why should we? (yes, I clicked on the link to find out what was so scarring to Larry.)

  5. Laurie B says:

    I see those ads too and pay no attention to them, because I know you don’t put them there. Your site is so helpful that any bad ads are completely overshadowed! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and information. My family and I are able to eat in a much mor healthy way because of you! Keep up the good work.

  6. Karen says:

    I never, and I mean never, even look at the ads. I look at the content of your site, which is AMAZING! Thank you!

  7. Vivianne says:

    Understandable response! I try not to pay attention to the ads and I know they are needed, for the most part for revenue. The worst that happens to me, if I see something completely against the site’s beliefs is I giggle that it’s funny an add was posted like that. :D
    Savvy Veg you are great! :D
    Viv

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