Yahoo Publisher Network asks Adsense users to violate Google’s TOS

This morning I received an invite from YPn (Yahoo Publisher Network) to complete a 10-minute survey.

In return for my valuable time they would reward me with a $25 “honorarium”. “Sweet”, I thought – fastest way to make $25 I’ve had in a long time!

I started to fill out the survey – mostly basic questions about what is important to me as a website owner, etc. Towards the end of the survey it asked what other advertising networks I participate in. I put checkmarks in Google Adsense, Commission Junction, and Amazon (funny, they didn’t have a little checkbox for Kontera!). Then, on the next page they asked me to detail what my “RPM” (that’s “Y-speak” for eCPM) for each of the publishing networks I participate in. As I was about halfway through running my Adsense reports to get my eCPM for the last 6-months, it suddenly struck me that Adsense may not appreciate me disclosing this information to their biggest competitor! Just to be sure, I did a quick re-read of the Adsense TOS, which I swore in blood that I would abide by, so help-me-God.

The Adsense TOS states, in part:
Confidentiality. You agree not to disclose Google Confidential Information without Google’s prior written consent. “Google Confidential Information” includes without limitation: (a) all Google software, technology, programming, specifications, materials, guidelines and documentation relating to the Program; (b) click-through rates or other statistics relating to Site performance in the Program provided to You by Google; and (c) any other information designated in writing by Google as “Confidential” or an equivalent designation. However, You may accurately disclose the amount of Google’s gross payments to You pursuant to the Program. Google Confidential Information does not include information that has become publicly known through no breach by You or Google, or information that has been (i) independently developed without access to Google Confidential Information, as evidenced in writing; (ii) rightfully received by You from a third party; or (iii) required to be disclosed by law or by a governmental authority.”

Now, I’m no lawyer, nor am I particularly smart, but it seems to me that disclosing my Adsense eCPM to Yahoo would probably be considered as a breach of confidentiality in Google’s eyes. Realizing that my boys over at the GooglePlex would probably not be happy with me if I violated my blood-oath, I tried to fill-in some dummy data on the survey form. I entered $99.99 as my Adsense eCPM (ehhr, RPM) and the survey was too smart to accept it. I then tried to enter $0.01, which it also balked at. The survy would not accept $0.00 either.
Knowing who butter’s my bread, I decided to forgo the $25 honorarium and bailed out of the survey.

Just a word of warning to all you webmasters that use both Yahoo Publisher Network and Adsense: Don’t forget your Adsense TOS – Google knows all and sees all.. Trust no one..

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