“Adsense (probably the biggest ad network worldwide)”
If you are a Christian who is a web publisher (be it skilled or non-skilled as myself), you will likely have come to consider monetizing your web content. Which consideration may likely have brought you to look at selling ad space through online ad networks amongst other content monetizing channels. Which more than likely have introduced you to Google’s ad network called Adsense (probably the biggest ad network worldwide) – which should more than likely be the reason why you are reading this.
Whether you already have an active account with ads serving on your site, a pending account application or you are just looking up a evangelical Christian’s point of view on the subject (before you should make efforts toward monetizing your web content through the same channel), the experience accounted below should be all-applicable.
“First hand experience”
Unlike those reading this journal entry before any effort is made toward securing an Adsense account, I sadly went so far as having ads served on a site I co-owned for around a year (approx. April 2015 to August 2016). Hence you can be rest assured that I am sharing what I have had first hand experience with (nothing I am at all proud of). From a technical point of view, Adsense’s ad system is without doubt the best in the industry. However, from a Christian’s point of view, Adsense’s ad system has one essential component to be desired by a web publisher who is after God’s own heart through Christ – Christian-friendliness that is. Unfortunately, since Google Inc. is not a Christian headed incorporation, this attribute cannot be demanded of them by virtue – instead, the opposite can be rightly expected any day.
“Inefficient blocking and filtering options”
While Adsense certainly serve ads on quite innocent products and services, several of their other ads types are, as you may expect, plain abominable (when looked at in light of the evangelical holiness. Abominable products and services such as astrology, wizardry, alcohol as well as night life to name a few. That said, I assert that there should be no evil doing if any saint can take up such this ad network/system and configure it so that only evangelically justified ads are served. Unfortunately, my stay with Adsense essentially proved to me that their overall level-blocking and filtering options (which had to be the only hope for Christian publishers) were not effective enough to meet the trickiest standards demanded of evangelical holiness.
“Image ads “
While a need to exploit their level-blocking option became evident right from the early days of the account (to block ad categories that were plain evil), the first acute dilemma was with regards image ads (an ad type said to be better paying than text ads – I cannot recall clearly but I do not think a second thought was given to video ads). Upon realizing that even ads on supposedly innocent products/services like a ‘bank account ad’ would come on a banner featuring imagery a Christian would not wish to be associated with for Christ’s sake. A simple bank ad with a female figure in sensual clothing for example. And when seeking to address this, one would find that they either had to block the particular ad unit or the advertiser’s entire ad account. The latter meaning that even innocent ads (both text and clean image banners ads) from the same advertiser would not be able to serve any longer.
While the former option seemed to work best, it soon proved to be reactive in nature. Yes so far as I could find, it was not possible to screen and choose ad units before they are served. And because advertisers run ad campaigns for a limited period of time, one soon (or later) find that they have to deal with another banner ad with a sad image on it. And this may often be sometime after careless visitors of your site have fallen into the sin of lust as such sensuality fearing ad was thus served to them – very sad. This then quickly proved to be a lost battle so far as I was concerned – disabling image ads from being served proved to be the only option (to revenue figures’ dismay – which dropped by about 50% (This included certain text ads types that included would still include images accounted for here).
Then left with text ads only, we had much time to focus thereon. Vigorous reviewing of served ads continued. Which reviewing soon led into the 2nd acute battle. Ads were no longer offensive by virtue but once in a while one would come across a served ad that advertised a product or services that a Christian would not be proud of. A typical example being a secular image stock site – the cleanness of which offered stock images often could not be vouched.
With Adsense being made up of tons of sub-networks, it did not seem practical to keep up with the need for filtering (which filtering also had a direct negative bearing on revenue) nor did such a reactive measure prove hopeful. This realization however followed shortly after the event on this diary entry had ensued.
“The sum of the whole”
The sum of the whole was that Google Adsense was evidently not an option for believers. Unfortunately, I despair it ever will as probably non is working toward the same end.
While I can not recommend any sound Christian ad network that sincerely labors to not trample Christian ethics to the greatest degree possible, I do not believe that any shall be sympathized with who shall knowingly embrace Adsense.