October 15th, 2009 | Published in Google Public Policy
We've long labeled most of the ads we serve on the Google Content Network (our AdSense partner websites) with an "Ads by Google" attribution. We do this because we want consumers to have an awareness and understanding of the ads they see online.
Now we're extending this notice to even more ads. Today we are starting to roll out the "Ads by Google" message on rich media ads in a way that is unobtrusive to the advertisement itself, but still gives users clear notice if they want to learn more about online advertising at the moment they're looking at the ad. As more and more advertisers use rich media ad formats, and publishers increasingly support them on their sites, we want to provide the same benefit of clear notice to users -- regardless of the ad format. This new notice shows up as a small "i" (for "information") icon overlay in the bottom right-hand corner of the ad, and expands if the user hovers over it. Just like before, users who click on the "Ads by Google" label will be taken to a page where they can learn more about our advertising practices.
With one click on the label, users can get more information about how we serve ads and the information we use to show ads. As the Federal Trade Commission recommended when it released its principles for online advertising in February, consumers deserve greater notice about advertising practices beyond traditional privacy policies. We couldn't agree more. We're following the approach described in the guidelines recently published by a group of trade associations including the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, and the Association of National Advertisers. Google is continuing to work with the broader industry towards consistent transparency, choice, and education, and we hope that our new label will help this work.