A recent post on the Inside AdSense blog highlighted the possible value of using the Google AdSense Allowed Sites feature to enable publishers to identify malicious activity and click fraud. The post was in response to feedback Google received when they asked for AdSense Product Ideas.
This is one of the suggestions received by Google:
Show a list of sites displaying ads from a specific publisher ID to prevent malicious activity.
This would allow you to see if anyone was using your AdSense code on websites that do not comply with Google’s AdSense policies. Which could ultimately lead to the closure of your account and a loss of the money your account has generated since the last payment. I expect the chances of this happening are actually quite low.
The response from Google was to try the Allowed Sites feature. So I did.
In Google AdSense what is the Allowed Sites feature?
This is what Google says about it:
Allowed sites are sites or URLs on which AdSense publishers allow or wish to have their Google ads displayed. If a URL displaying your AdSense ad code is not on your Allowed Sites list, ads will still be displayed, but impressions and clicks won’t be recorded, advertisers won’t be charged, and you won’t receive any earnings for that URL.
Following these guidelines I entered a list of my sites and other web locations where I’m happy to use AdSense.
Set up is straight forward – login to AdSense > AdSense Set Up > Allowed Sites > (and highlight) Only allow certain sites to show ads for my account
If you have never used the feature before, the box that appears when you tick the radio button will be empty.
Add all of the domains you have authorised your AdSense code to appear on.
This should obviously include your own sites, but there could be others that have requested access that you may have forgotten about. Hubpages, Squidoo, article sites and revenue sharing forums for example.
Save the update and you’re done.
What happens next?
Google will now look to see if your ad code is being used on any other sites. And if it is you will be informed through the AdSense interface. If the use is legitimate you can add the domain to the allowed list. If it is not legitimate the ad impressions and earnings will no longer be recorded in your AdSense account data.
What can go wrong?
- If your pages are being translated by Google you may lose out on some income as the address being translated is the Google translate page and not your own, therefore it is not an Allowed Site. SP Blogger wrote about the experience in this blog post. AdSense earnings went down until the Allowed Sites feature was switched off.
- If somebody has scraped one of your sites and has never changed the original AdSense code, you could be losing out if the ads on that site are being clicked and you disallow it.
- You might forget to add all of your sites to the allowed list or you might forget to add any new sites you add your code too.
This is the first time I have used the Allowed Sites feature so it will be interesting to see what kind of information comes back and whether my AdSense earnings increase or decrease.
Have you used the Google AdSense Allowed Sites feature? How was it for you? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.
It’s now a couple of months since the start of this experiment, and just like SP Blogger, it has had a very negative impact on my earnings. Since I switched it off my earnings through AdSense have gone back to normal.
I wouldn’t recommend using this feature for a prolonged period of time, but you might find out something interesting if you try it out for a day or two.