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Explorerdestroyer.com and killbillsbrowser.com violating Google AdSense Terms and Conditions?

As usual I began this day by skimming through some blogs. After a short while I ran into Killbillsbrowser.com that displayed the following message: We see you're using Internet Explorer. We strongly suggest downloading Firefox. We think you'll like it better ... Click the button on the right to download Firefox. The button is a Google Adsense referral button, which basically means that someone will make money if you click the button and install Firefox browser. What surprised me was that the site encouraged me to click on the button, something that I thought was prohibited by the Google Adsense program policies.

Screenshot of killbillsbrowser.com saying: 'We see you're using Internet Explorer.  We strongly suggest downloading Firefox. We think you'll like it better.' and later on asking the user to click a Google Adsense Referral button.

Explorerdestroyer.com

Explorerdestroyer.com offers webmasters the free scripts that shows a message encouraging them to download Firefox. The script detects if the user is running Internet Explorer and displays a big banner or a splash screen like the one at killbillsbrowser.com. To make some money the webmaster needs an Adsense account, which they can get by signing up through an Adsense referral button at Explorerdestroyer.com. The following is the wording used: If you don't already have an account, click this button to sign-up. (See the screenshot below). Is it allowed to ask users to click referral buttons?

A screenshot from explorerdestroyer.com saying: 'If you don't already have an account, click this button to sign-up:'. The Google Adsense referral button is displayed at the bottom of the screenshot.

What does the Adsense Program Policies and FAQ say?

This is what the Google Adsense Program Policy says:

Publishers are also not permitted to use deceptive or unnatural means to draw attention to or incite clicks on referral buttons.

The following is what the Google Adsense FAQ says about referral products (bold added by me):

Can I recommend referral products to my users? Sure - you're welcome to endorse or recommend the products you're referring on your site. However, our program policies don't permit you to encourage clicks on or draw unnatural attention to the referral units you're displaying on your site.

More specifically, it's acceptable to use language such as "I use AdSense and recommend it to monetize your website." However, please avoid using language such as "Click here," "Visit these links to support our site," or other similar language.

What does Google's AdSense Specialists say?

I've contacted Google asking if Killbillsbrowser.com violates the program policies, with the following email:

Hello,

I ran into a site called killbillsbrowser.com. When visiting this site with Internet Explorer it shows a splash screen, recommending Firefox. I've captured a screenshot of this splash screen here:

http://rogerkarlsson.com/static/blogs/misc/explorerdestroyer-adsense/killbillsbrowser.gif

Is this a violation of the Google Adsense program policies? (Showing a splash screen and asking the user to click the referral button)?

Best regards
Roger Karlsson

Ben from the AdSense Team responded promptly:

Hello Roger,

Thanks for your email. Publishers may encourage users (in good faith) to consider the offerings in AdSense referral buttons. Publishers are not permitted, however, to force users to click on a referral button in order to advance on a site, or offer any sort of incentive for clicking a button. Naturally, the prohibition on encouraging clicks on standard CPC ads also still applies.

For additional questions, I'd encourage you to visit the AdSense Help Center (http://www.google.com/adsense_help), our complete resource center for all AdSense topics. Alternatively, feel free to post your question on the forum just for AdSense publishers: the AdSense Help Group (http://groups.google.com/group/adsense-help).

Sincerely,

Ben
The Google AdSense Team

What do you think?

Is it allowed to ask users to click referral buttons? Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

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