Does Gurufocus abuse from the Google adsense policy, or do they just make mistakes?

The answer is that at least, the person I work with makes mistakes but corrects them at the end, but you have to watch close that your ads are well placed and make sure all other ads are eliminated. Let me tell you here my experience while writing my first article with them. At the begining I was very disappointed with Gurufocus as a publisher, because of that experience, it all changed after lots of mails where I realized that they recognize and correct their mistakes (unfortunately they made too many).

I wrote an article in their site with the following name: I initiated a position in Munich Re at almost the same price as Berkshire. At the begining they said that I had the right, as one of their publishers, to add 2 Google adsense ads, so I sent them a mail telling them I had written the article and communicating them the code of my two ads to which they replied very fast to say that everything was set up. So great, thought I, I am all set up now, but checking my adsense page I did not see any page views for my adds, actually they were not even activated. Fortunately I am an ex-programmer so I checked the source code of the article and realized that it was full of ads, but none coming from me. So I mailed back to tell them to please ad mine. They replied very fast saying it was an error and they added mine. Ok things got going but then next surprise, I realize that the page is full of adds (I count at least 6) and 3 of them repeat themselves see screenshot here below:

My publicity-overloaded Gurufocus article

My publicity-overloaded Gurufocus article

So I mail them again and tell them that it is against google adsense guidelines to have more than 3 ads in a page. They reply saying that not all the adds in the page are from google, but that even more than 3 does not matter because google will not show them when there are more than three, that they know that because they have years of experience. Well they might have a lot of experience but he fact is that the page can display up to 3 times exactly the same add… so, google guidelines, violated or not, I find it very cumbersome to go into a page and see three times the same add repeated, if I want to see art I prefer to look an Andy Warhol painting with Coca-Cola cans repeated 100 times, better still the one with Marylin Monroe repeated several times :).

Here below is a copy of our mail interaction:

Gurufocus representative
You are set up.
Thanks!

Me
Please add my adsense as I mentioned before, I reviewed the source code of the article and none of my codes were added:
Here are the google AdSense codes:….

Gurufocus
Now it is there. Sorry for the error.

Me
You added my adds but you did not remove yours while doing it so now there are 5 adds in the page.
Google only allows yo have 3 adds maximum per page.
If Google realizes I put my adds in a page that has already 5 big adds I might get in trouble and they might close my adsense account.

a) there is one add above from me (the 728×90)
b) there are 3 adds on the left side one after the ofter only the
first is mine all of them (160×600) so tht looks like a gigantic
160×1800 add which in reality is made up of three !
c) there is one add on the right side from you.

Normally there should only be one above and one on each side, as of now the page is full of publicity, specially on the left side, one add after the other with the same publicity repeated it looks like an Andy Warhol painting… Clearly abusive, I suppose it was an error ??

Please at least to comply with Google before they find it out and remove from the article your 2 adds from the left side (not mine, the gurufocus policy says that I can have 2 adds):

So please remove this one:
google_ad_client = “pub-4020868656364652″;
/* 160×600, created 05/03/09 */
google_ad_slot = “6664901320″;
google_ad_width = 160;
google_ad_height = 600;

And this one:

IFRAME FRAMEBORDER=0 MARGINWIDTH=0 MARGINHEIGHT=0
SCROLLING=NO WIDTH=160 HEIGHT=600
src=”http://www.gurufocus.com/ads/zack_160_600.php”>/IFRAME

Chao !
jrv

Gurufocus
jrv,
Other ads are not from Google.
We work with Adsense for many years and we know the rules. If you have more than 3 Google Ads, the ones that are more than 3 won’t display, automatically.
Regards!

Me
There are 6 adds and at least 4 from google.

The page repeats the adds three times take a look at the screenshot here attached, the same add with the golden trophee is shown 3 times.

Google rules cleary says that the account might be shut down if rules are not followed in their policies page. And that only 3 are allowed: “AdSense for content: Up to three ad units and three link units may be placed on each page.”

Before you added my two adds the page had one google add less, when you added my 2 adds you only replaced your 728×120 google add by mine but you added my 120×600 above yours instead of replacing it.

So now there are at least 6 adds in total, 4 at least from google and 2 others, which under source page inspection say that they come from doubleclick (which is a google company)

Copy pasted from the source:

1) Mine:
google_ad_client = “ca-pub-8646509540914060″;
/* Gorufocus 728×90 */
google_ad_slot = “8407692864″;
google_ad_width = 728;
google_ad_height = 90;

2) Yours:
google_ad_client = “pub-4020868656364652″;
/* 234×60, created 11/5/10 */
google_ad_slot = “3300322179″;
google_ad_width = 234;
google_ad_height = 60;

3) Mine:
google_ad_client = “ca-pub-8646509540914060″;
/* Gurufocus 160×600 */
google_ad_slot = “7877778767″;
google_ad_width = 160;
google_ad_height = 600;

4) Yours (immediatly following 3), should be removed
google_ad_client = “ca-pub-8646509540914060″;
/* Gurufocus 160×600 */
google_ad_slot = “7877778767″;
google_ad_width = 160;
google_ad_height = 600;

5) Yours (Zacks, left side), immediatly following 4!!, by inspecting the source code it says it comes from doubleclick is that not also google ?
IFRAME FRAMEBORDER=0 MARGINWIDTH=0 MARGINHEIGHT=0 SCROLLING=NO
WIDTH=160 HEIGHT=600
src=”http://www.gurufocus.com/ads/zack_160_600.php”>/IFRAME

6) Yours (Zacks, right side)
IFRAME FRAMEBORDER=0 MARGINWIDTH=0 MARGINHEIGHT=0 SCROLLING=NO
WIDTH=160 HEIGHT=600
src=”http://www.gurufocus.com/ads/zack_160_600.php”>/IFRAME

I understand its good to earn some money but having 6 adds on a page even if they do not come all from google, and 3 repeating themselves makes the page look quite overloaded, just look at the screenshot to get the idea.

I thought it was an error you made by not adding my adds even though I had communicated it, and that when you added them you just forgot to remove yours.

Gurufocus
You are right. Those are removed now.

Me
Great ! Now its super clean thanks !

Conclusion

After lots of mails (the ones listed above are just a part of them) they removed all the ads and just left mine. Now the article looks clean ! I wonder whose those ads were from, were they from Gurufocus or from some other publishers (left overs because of copy pasting html)? Anyways they corrected it so Gurufocus, thanks !

Now the article looks super clean and it only has my 2 ads : I Initiated A Position In Munich Re At Almost The Same Price As Berkshire!

So be careful to check good what ads are placed on the articles you write with them and if you provide them with ads make sure only yours are placed, check well the Google code from your ads in the html source code of the article.

Cheers!
jrv

About jrv

I was born in Spain and lived in Belgium, Chile, France, USA, Argentina among other places. Currently I am trying to settle down in a wild place. I am "retired", even though now I dedicate more hours "working" for my investments than I ever worked in the real labor market where I used to work in IT and Banking. I am a family man, I have a lovely wife, several sons and one step daughter. I have humble tastes, I like to stay home and read about companies and investments. I started investing at 25 before the internet bubble exploded. I did not know much about investing and liked technical analysis so my results were pretty bad. Fortunately I did not have much to lose. Some years later in 2006 bored of doing only real state investments and with quite a lot of money saved I opened an account in a cheap and excellent online broker and started again. This time I did not want to commit the same mistake, so I decided to follow a model. I heard that Warren Buffett was the best at making money via stocks so I started by reading a lot about him, all of his shareholders letters and several of the books that he recommended. I learned a lot, started applying his investing principles and reading a lot of 10K's. Digested news from lots of different sources. Basically I started buying very good and cheap companies and holding them for ever if possible and if nothing changed fundamentally. When the housing crisis started I was more than 75% cash. At that time I identified good companies at incredibly cheap prices so I invested most of my savings in stocks. In less than I year I doubled. By the second semester of 2009 I turned my software company into an investment vehicle and dedicated myself full time to it. My wife and I decided to change our lifestyle and moved from Belgium to the beach in a wild country. The goal was to keep fixed costs low in order to be able to live with a minimum 6-8% yearly return but specially to move away from the inhuman life of civilization and to have finally some peace and sunny weather to concentrate better on investing. Now I can think and study about companies 60 hours a week and I am doing great. I can finally do what I want full time and can proudly say that I have never been so happy, specially also with my just born 4th son, my other great kids and my sweet wife who supports me fully while I study most of the day and patiently wait for the opportunity to make a swing ! You can learn a bit more about my portfolio by viewing it at www.kuchita.com/view/sumo.php or you may learn more about me and my family by following the link "Author's site" from the menu above.
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