One question we’ve heard a lot recently from publishers: what are the restrictions on running Google AdSense ads on sites with articles about financial services such as payday loans and mortgages? Since no publisher wants to receive the death-knell that an AdSense could bring, it’s important to make sure that you’re compliant with all of Google’s advertising policies.
Fortunately, Google has a document on their site called Advertising Policies: Financial Services. This document will tell you everything you need to know about taking part in Google’s advertising culture while running a site that sells or promotes financial services. While the document is written with AdWords specifically in mind, it’s also applicable to its other advertising products.
Use common sense
I hate to sound patronizing, but the first thing to remember is to use common sense. Don’t try to run AdSense ads on the site that sells products that are against the law. If you’re selling mortgage foreclosure prevention products and guaranteeing that you can prevent foreclosure, then you’re lying — no one can guarantee that. So in that case, don’t be surprised if you get banned from AdSense — and rightfully so.
So long as your site operates in compliance with your local regulations, discloses any associated fees with your products, links to third-party accreditation where any affiliation is implied, and provide legitimate physical contact information for your business, you’ll be fine. There are, however, some specific rules for certain financial products. These rules can be found in greater detail in the aforementioned document.
Loan modification and foreclosure prevention
As alluded to earlier, if your site offers foreclosure prevention services, you need to make sure you got all your “i”‘s and crossed all your “t”‘s. this means that you can’t guarantee that you can prevent foreclosure, you cannot charge an upfront fee unless your business is a law firm, you may not ask users to transfer their property titles, and you can’t ask users to pay directly to you instead of to the lender.
This is even true if you just have a blog on your website for your main financial service business — Google’s spiders will find out about it one way or another.
Short-term loans, also called payday loans, have their own rules that you need to follow if you want to participate in Google’s advertising services. As always, you need to include a legitimate physical address (no, P.O. boxes don’t count).
You also need prominent disclosures of the following pieces of information:
- The APR.
- Collection practices.
- Any fees you charge.
- Impact on users’ credit score.
- Renewal policy.
If you don’t include that information, you might lose your privileged access to Google’s ad services.
As with all of Google’s policies, use common sense. While some of their rules on the edge cases might seem a little bit unjust, it’s all in place to protect their brand and their users. But if you’re just publishing articles about payday loans for general information purposes, you will be fine.