This post was most recently updated on September 15th, 2021
Advertisers have great power to influence people. While it’s easy to justify running any ads as long as they increase your AdSense revenue, that simply isn’t a responsible use of the power advertisers have. Every person or company that displays advertising to others should employ the best responsible advertising practices. For example, it’s not OK to sell cigarettes to kids anymore, no matter how clever the advertisement is. Ever notice that you need to verify your age before you go to a cigarette or alcohol website? Same concept.
Know your audience, and advertise to them responsibly. Otherwise, you’re opening yourself up to AdSense policy violations and unhappy site visitors.
Twitter just introduced a new feature in this vein: Age Verification. Now, if you try to follow Bud Light, Bacardi, Knob Creek, or other alcohol companies on Twitter, you’ll be met with a prompt to verify your age. As Tarun Jain said in a blog post, “Our hope is that this approach to age-screening will enable alcohol brands to responsibly and safely connect with the right audience on Twitter.”
While it may seem counterintuitive for Twitter to limit the followers of alcohol-related brands on its service to people older than 21, it makes perfect sense for two main reasons.
What does this mean for you, the publishers?
You don’t get off easy, either. It’s absolutely critical that you be a responsible publisher. Take after Twitter: verify that if there are any adult-themed advertisements showing on your site, that they are only being displayed to users who are old enough (legally) to see them. It’s the responsible thing to do, and it will make you look good — besides avoiding big public relations scandals later on.
Here’s the course that 300+ pubs used to scale their ad revenue.