As-salamu Alaykum (peace be upon you), Dear Readers...

NEW for September 18, 2016:

This blog has MOVED to the Muslim Writers Club, a new website dedicated to all of your writing needs.

Here are some of the pages you will find on the new site:

Jobs and Internships for Muslim Writers – Check out the latest opportunities.

Freelance Markets for Muslim Writers – A list of magazines, newspapers, and websites that want to work with YOU, insha'Allah. Includes many paying markets.

Book Publishers of Interest to Muslim Writers – Have you written a book? Start your search for a publisher here.

Contests & Events for Muslim Writers - Competitions, courses, webinars, and more. Don't miss the fun!

Writing Activities for Muslim Children – Coming Soon!

Q&A Page - Get your questions about the art (and business) of writing answered.

Articles and Other Resources – Even more resources for Muslim writers.

Hope to see you at the new site, Insha'Allah!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

New Tools to Filter Undesirable Ads

Many blogs (including this one) display Google ads as a means of generating passive income for the blogger. Unfortunately, there are many tasteless ads out there that Muslim bloggers probably don't want associated with their names and blogs. These include ads for on-line dating, ads for non-halal forms of banking/investing, ads for anti-Islamic websites, and many others. While there is a way to filter out the "bad" ads (a topic covered by The Muslim Blogger back in 2008), this system has its limitations. For one thing, you can only filter out 200 sites. Another thing is that the blog owner might be in one location (and seeing location-specific ads), while blog visitors see totally different ads, based on their own locations. In this case, the blog owner has no way of knowing what offensive ads his/her visitors might be exposed to when visiting the blog.

Sr. Sadaf wrote an excellent, thought-provoking article explaining more of the pitfalls associated with Google AdSense. Indeed, many Muslims are against the use of Google ads and do not display these ads on their blogs. This has paved the way for potential competitors like Halal Ads Network and Muslim Ad Network to provide halal alternatives to Muslim bloggers and webmasters. While I have not explored either of these networks in-depth, I definitely think that they are both worth looking into.

Several months ago, Google surveyed blog owners about their views on Google AdSense. At first, I was not going to participate, but I thought that Google should know that many bloggers are not happy about the lack of control we have over the ads displayed on our sites. This is actually not just a "Muslim" issue, but one that certainly affects others as well. On the writing sites I visit, for example, people often express frustration with the numerous cheesy ads targeting new writers with scams and outrageous get-rich schemes.

Filling out the survey, I basically told Google that it would be better to allow bloggers to filter out ads according to category and not have to enter the name of each site manually. After all, if I don't want dating ads on my blog, I don't want them there period. I shouldn't have to spend my time entering the names of 200 different dating sites, using up my 200 individual entries, and then have to contend with more undesirable ads. I also told Google that many Muslims do not use Google AdSense because of the haram and offensive ads.

I have no idea if my note made an impact (or if these ideas were already in the works), but I just noticed today that there is now a way to filter out entire categories of undesirable ads (and not just individual sites). One can now filter out eight of the following categories:

  • Cosmetic procedures and surgery
  • Dating
  • Drugs and supplements
  • Get rich quick
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Ringtones and downloadables
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Sexually suggestive
  • Video games (casual and online)
  • Weight loss

    In addition, there is also a new Ad Review Center that will give bloggers even greater control over their ads.

    While I have not yet implemented any of the above tools, I will be spending some time in the near future learning how to use them properly and hopefully improving the quality of ads currently displayed on my blogs. In the meantime, please feel free to alert me to any ads I should consider filtering out manually - and share your own experiences using Google AdSense and other ad networks in the comments section.

    Have you managed to keep your ads halal? How did you do it?


    Um said...

    Salam alaykum
    How can I email you, I had a question about looking for writing mentors for my enthusiastic teen?

    precisiontext said...

    As-salamu Alaykum,
    Apologies for the delayed response.

    My e-mail address is: amel.abdullah @ (remove the extra spaces).

    This blog is maintained by Amel Abdullah, a freelance writer, editor, and Arabic to English translator.