Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stop malicious use of your AdSense account ID

AdSense's Allowed Sites feature, is an important safeguard for any blogger who is worried that others may try to mis-use their AdSense account and/or get them in to trouble.

The article is written with Blogspot users in mind, but the advice applies to ANY AdSense publishers.

Previously, I've described setting up Adsense in Blogger, and putting AdSense ads right inside your posts.

The way that AdSense works with web-browsers, any person, or computer, can look at the source-code for you page (eg with the View / Page Source menu-option in Firefox), and see what your AdSense publisher ID is.   If they're clever or malicious enough they could potentially put ads with your publisher-id onto sites that don't meet AdSense's program guidelines (eg ones that encourage readers to click the ads).  And then they could report "you", and get you banned from AdSense for doing this.

Luckily, AdSense has the Allowed Sites feature to combat this.  Basically, you enter the  URLs (ie names) of sites you own, and only earnings from only those sites will be recorded in your account.  You aren't held responsible for any other sites where your publisher-id is used.

How to turn Allowed Sites on

Log in to AdSense (

Inside AdSense:
  1. In the Home tab, choose Settings from the left-hand navigation list.
  2. In the list under Settings, click on My Sites.   This opens the My Sites Overview display
  3. Just above the list of authorized sites, on the right hand side, there is a Three-dots / More options menu icon.    Click this, and choose Site Authorization.
  4. If the option is turned off, then turn it on.   (Currently 'on' is shown by having the slider on the right side, coloured in green.)
  5. The list of vertified sites shown initially is based on the sites that Google thinks you own.   Check it - and if necessary add any that are missing (us the blue + icon in the top right of the screen), or delete any that you don't own.

What do do next

You can now use AdSense, confident that if anyone else tries to use your ad-code  (eg by scraping content from your blog), you will not be help responsible for this.

If you put your AdSense ads on any other blog or websites in the future, you do need to remember to add them to the Allowed Sites list.

Also, along with allowed-sites list, AdSense shows a list of non-allowed, websites (blogs and others) that have also tried to use your Publisher-id.   Check this occasionally, in case you've forgotten to add a new blog/website to the list, or in case you'e added a feature (eg the Translate this page widget) that effectively creates one.  The list is only updated weekly, so sites will still be on it for up to a week after you've allowed them.  However the Allow feature works immediately.

Related Articles

Setting up Adsense in Blogger

Putting AdSense ads right inside your posts.

Blocking categories of AdSense ads from your Blog

Putting an AsSense-enabled custom search engine in your blog

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  1. This is a very useful feature, and one that I suspect not many publishers know about.

    However, it seems to have disappeared from the new AdSense control panel. As far as I can see, all the options are still available for blocking / allowing specific advertisers, ad networks, categories, etc., but there's no longer any way to add or remove your own sites, as your post advises.

    Do you have any information about that>

  2. Good question, Mike.

    The feature is there, but now it's down under the Home / Account Information tab, separate from the Ad-blocking options. (Hopefully a precursor to letting us block certain categories of ads only from certain sites.)

    I've just updated the article to show exactly where to find it - thanks for the prompt.


  3. Thanks for the update, Mary. I'll be sure to follow your good advice.


  4. With custom domains do you also need to add the blogspot address?