AdWords Advertisements Not Censored in Google China

Google China has censored their search results to remove certain sites and listings that are deemed by the Chinese government. However, an advertiser has discovered a loophole in the censoring system that results in these censored sites showing up in google.cn search results via the Google AdWords sponsored listings program.

The blog Internet Censorship Explorer (ICE) ran an experiment using the site Human Rights Watch which does not appear in Google China search results. However, it was discovered that the URL filtering does not seem to apply to AdWords listings, as an AdWords ad with hrw.org as the display and destination URL of the ad showed up for keyword and site searches.

Although ICE recommends this as a way to circumvent the censorship of Google.cn, I would suspect that this loophole will be quickly closed for censored URLs as well as for specific keyword searches.

About the author

Jennifer Slegg began as a freelance writer, and turned to search engine optimization and writing content for the web in 1998. She has created numerous content-rich sites in niche markets and works with many clients on content creation, strategy, and monetization. She writes about many search industry and social media topics on her blog, JenniferSlegg.com and is a frequent speaker at search industry conferences on SEO, content marketing and content monetization. Acknowledged as the leading expert on the Google AdSense contextual advertising program, she runs JenSense, a blog dealing exclusively with contextual advertising. She is also the founder and editor of The SEM Post. She is known by many as her handle Jenstar on various webmaster forums.