Google Testing True User-Specified Ads

By Nathan Weinberg

Google is testing out a new functionality for AdSense that allows users who are not satisfied with the current ads being served to choose a different set of ads. This is a just unbelievable idea. Google is truly pushing the idea that its ads are more than just ads, they’re useful, and I commend it.

According to SEO Roundtable, you see a box like the one above right at the bottom of an AdSense skyscraper (or possibly on the side of a banner ad). It lets you choose from a list of topics Google determined to also be relevant, albeit not the most relevant. Google, besides trying to give readers ads they can use, is acknowledging that its keyword matching system often leaves something to be desired. You can currently see the new ads in action at this page (found via Digital Point). What’s cool is that after I selected a topic (which changed instantly without reloading the page), the list of topics was replaced by a simple search box, allowing me to select any topic I wanted, even completely irrelevant ones like “frogs”. Looking in the page source code, the ad is clearly identified as being of the “160×600_radlinks_search_beta” style. I, for one, hope that this comes out of the testing stage and becomes a permanent AdSense feature.

January 25, 2005 by Nathan Weinberg in:

12 Responses to “Google Testing True User-Specified Ads”

  1. matt Says:

    Hopefully this is going to be controlled by the webmaster from their adsense admin area? I wouldn’t want to rely on my visitors to see other ad’s that might be more relevant on their own. I know I’ll probably never go choose to see a different display of ad’s. I just look at it from my perspective, I only click on ad’s if they happen to catch my eye by luck and are relevant to what I’m looking for. I’ll never have the desire to go see what other advertisements I can see.

  2. Nathan Weinberg Says:

    Well, I expect that webmasters will be able to decide if this feature is used, but its definitely about users selecting ads. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Any user which is looking so closely at the ads as to change them is much more likely to actually click on one.

  3. Sage Says:

    I notice that if you type a nonsense word into the search box the whole ad disappears.

  4. Darren Says:

    Yes I like this too. They’ve actually been testing this on a variety of pages since October. They also seem to be testing a 7 ads in a skyscraper feature in the past few weeks sporadically on a few sites. Not sure I like the 7 ad format but the one you mention above has potential.

  5. Jesse Perry Says:

    This is an unbelievably cool addition. Sage - I checked that out. It does indeed screw you out of ad picking if you type in a nonsense word.

  6. Jack Says:

    Doesn’t Overture offer something like this already? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it.

  7. brailey Says:

    Is it useful? Unless the personalization goes further this feature is cool but almost useless.

  8. brailey Says:

    User specified Google AdSense Ads. Is it useful?

  9. Tim A Says:

    This is nothing new. I was experimenting with something very similar almost 2 years ago. Its against the Google Adsense terms of use so I haven’t revealed it. My guess is these guys just found it now and are messing around. Likely nothing Google will reveal.


  10. psytrance:mp3 Says:

    thx for that tipp…it works now! Clicks are comming non stop…ok in the night!

  11. Business for sale Says:

    I know I’ll probably never go choose to see a different display of ad’s.

  12. Lite Blogs » Blog Archive » Google Withholding Tax From Adsense Payouts Says:

    […] ” Google Testing True User-Specified Ads ” InsideGoogle ” part of the Blog News Channel … User specified Google AdSense Ads. Is it useful? … Its against the Google Adsense terms of use so I haven’t revealed it … […]

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