Adult Content Definition by Google AdSense

I got an interesting question from this blog reader, which I could not answer right away. The question was: How Google AdSense defines adult content? Since I never considered even approaching the safe borderline of adult and porn related content, this simple question never sparkled on my horizon.

It is not the secret that the adult content is of great demand online. Google AdSense from the very beginning alienated the program from the potentially danger of entering this category of advertising.


Explicit nudity, for example, was always way beyond Google’s terms of service.

However, there are many posts that are getting really close to the mature content line. In fact, some webmasters are intentionally playing the game of attracting more visitors by intentionally bordering on that line. It is quite understandable since they might benefit from additional income from advertisers who are also close to violating the AdWords TOS, prohibiting explicit ads as well.

In the article on the AdSense owned blog, there is a post Inside AdSense: Play it safe, family-safe, clarifying Google AdSense position on the topic.

In short, Google replaces the “explicit” term with “family-safety”. In their own words:

“Our policy regarding adult or mature content may include any material that is not appropriate for all audiences. While this obviously includes full nudity or sexual activity, it may also include textually explicit sexual content, image or video content containing lewd or provocative poses, strategically covered nudity, see-through or sheer clothing, and close-ups of anatomy that would be inappropriate if shown nude. Additionally, topics such as sexual health and sex tips may be held to a higher standard of professionalism than content that isn’t bordering on mature”.

Google also provides a view good questions that a webmasters should ask themselves:

Would I be comfortable viewing this content with my parents or children in the same room?

Would I feel comfortable viewing this content if my boss walked up behind me while I had this content on my screen?

Of course, the level of comfortability perception varies from person to person. But the point is clear - play safe, and be safe. We, webmasters, are working for Google, and not the opposite, so we should apply common sense to define the publically accepted family-oriented guidelines.

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