Saturday, March 26, 2011

Blocking specific AdSense advertisers from your site

You can stop ads from specific AdSense advertisers from appearing on your blog - provided you know the URL that those advertisers are using.

Why block individual advertisers

Previously, I've described how to set up AdSense on your blog, and how to to block certain categories of AdSense ads from your blog or from individual sites.

But there may be times when you need more control than this, for example if your blog (or other website) has:

Poor contextual advertising fit:

AdSense is a "contextual" advertising programme:  it decides what ads to show to a person on a web-page based on the content of the page and the characteristics of the person viewing it.

But the contents in some blogs attract advertisers with directly opposite points of view.   For example, an anti-hunt blog will have posts about the things that hunters do to animals and why these are bad - but the contextual-advertising approach will probably attract ads from people promoting hunting or selling hunting equipment.

And other blogs just attract straight-out competitors   I've advised one person in the blogger help-forum who was running a blog about a particular educational scholarship and was very unhappy that their blog was showing ads for other scholarships.

Restrictions imposed by other advertisers

One of my blogs has affiliate ads from a particular budget-accommodation travel site.  One of their terms and conditions is that I don't display ads for a list of other websites that they provided.

Advertisers not categorised correctly

Even if you've applied category-filtering to your blog, there may be some advertisers that sneak into the wrong category - for example, an advertisement for diet products that uses pictures that are only slightly suggestive may be listed in the "Weight loss" category, but not the "References to Sex & Sexuality" category.

If you advertise your blog through AdWords

Sometimes, AdWords can be an effective tool for advertising your own blog.   But  in terms of keywords, your blog is likely to be a very good fix.   So there's a high chance that your ads will be shown on your blog, unless you tell AdSense not to.

In any of these cases - and others - you may want to tell AdSense not to show ads from certain advertisers on your blog.   Unfortunately, you cannot quite do this - AdSense doesn't let you identify individual advertisers.   But you can block ads that point to specific websites.

How to block ads from specific companies

Log in to AdSense,

2  Choose the Allow & block ads tab (from the top row)

3  Under Blocking Options (left hand menu), choose Advertiser URLs

4  Click the Block new URLs button.    This opens a window

5  From the Products drop-down, choose one or more products and press Apply (currently at the bottom right corner of the drop-down window).
  • f you just want to keep the ads off your blog, choose the "Content" product.  Or to be certain, choose all of them.

6  Enter the names (URLs) of the sites you want to block
  • Click Learn how to format your URLs for blocking fordetails about how to enter URLs so that you block sites at the correct level.   But in most cases, you just enter the top-level name, eg enter "" to stop all ads pointing to anywhere under

7  Choose one of the reasons.

8  Press Block Sites.


The newly-blocked site will appear in your list of blocked URLs - which is in alphabetical order.

You can un-block it at any time by going to the same screen, finding it in the list, and clicking the Unblock link at the right hand side of the name/product.

What your visitors will see

Within a short time (maybe even in about 10 minutes), advertisements that point to the URL(s) you entered will not be displayed on your site:  instead, visitors who see AdSense adverts will see other (non-blocked) ads, or Google (public service) ads if no payng ads are available.

Notice the risk for you:- if you block too many potential advertisers, your site may only show public-service or Google ads that don't earn you revenue.

Some final thoughts

Ads which you block because they feel "spammy" can easily re-appear from other not-yet-blocked sites:  folks who make money off them move servers etc regularly.  If you are  determined to keep certain ads off your site, you may need to keep figuring out where the ads are coming from and adding new sites to your blocked-list all the time.

Finding out what sites to block can be challenging, as not every advertiser puts their URL into their graphical ads.    Some ways of doing this include:
  • Looking very hard at the advertisement: 
    Sometimes the company URL is in small text at the bottom
  • Searching for a key phrase from the ad 
    Eg when I wrote this articl,e Blogger-HAT's home page was showing an ad for "Smallest hidden DV in the world" - I suspect I could identify them with Google fairly quickly).
  • Click the ad yourself:  Remember that this is against AdSense's terms and conditions, and that you won't get any revenue for it.   I'm not suggesting that it's good to do this - AdSense know that it occasionally happens by accident, so they are unlikely to penalise you for doing, so long as you don't do it often.
  • Click the same ad on someone else's site:
    This is allowed under AdSense's rules.   But it's not recommended, because the advertiser won't get any benefit from the click, so doing this will tend to put the price they are willing to pay for each down in the longer-term.

Related Articles

Settng up AdSense on your blog

Blocking categories of AdSense ads

Limiting AdSense categories for individual websites

AdSense and AdWords

Other advertising programmes for your blog

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