How To Block Specific Ads on Hubpages - for Control Freaks

Watch the Movie
Watch the Movie | Source

It All Began on a Lovely Spring Day

You have just finished your next literary masterpiece and hit the "publish" button. Pictures are placed, links go to the right places and the wording is just right and you have that happy glow of success warming your insides. Soon, you'll see a little spike in your Adsense revenue. But this takes time and you have to wait a day or two before the cents climb your total into the next dollar on your Google Adsense account. Along with this, you'll also notice that it takes a while for ads to appear consistently on your freshly formed hub page.

Creepy Looking Clergyman

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So you go back to check on it the next day, or the day after that if you're a particularly patient or busy person (hey! I'm busy - honestly. I don't check my email, Facebook and Hubpages account every five minutes. Maybe every fifteen, but that's not obsessive right?), and as your hub loads up, you notice one of the ads has a creepy looking car salesman wearing all black under his leering smile that's supposed to look like a wise, older, friendly minister representing online ordination courses. Or perhaps you've noticed the psychic ads right next to your hub about trusting God. This is not what you want your readers to see.

You Must Learn Control
You Must Learn Control

Control, control! You Must Learn Control.

Since I'm a bit of a control freak, these types of advertisements drive me nuts. There is no foolproof method for blocking every ad that appears on your hubs, but there is a way to choke the flow of contrarian propaganda to a trickle. And be forewarned, it doesn't always take hold. However, I have been successful in removing Scientology ads, "Christian" clothing ads (who knew that selling clothing based on a religion that shuns profiting from itself would be so popular?), sexy teens in underwear selling fragrances for the more androgynous lifestyle (what? Yep.), and even a promotional for Russian brides. Ooh Baby.

Just a side note - the last sentence in the above paragraph is sure to bring some wacky ads to this hub, and truthfully, it will be very difficult to eradicate them all. I got rid of one psychic ad to find it replaced with another from another url destination. It takes time and patience to be a control freak.

At this time I cannot say for certainty that manipulating your Google Adsense will also affect your Hubpages advertisements, but I believe it does because you have to have an Adsense account to sign up for HP ads and the HP ads on my hubs are not displaying the ads I've blocked on Adsense.

I Hate It. Get Rid of It.

The first step is identifying the url of the ad. This is very important, because you want to target ONLY the offensive material. Let's say you have written a hub about dog grooming (it doesn't always have to be a moral objection that drives you to block ads) and you happen to hate cats (I know, usually it's the reverse for writers - but I love dogs so bear with me). And wouldn't you know it, a picture of a happy cat and a clean litter box appears. Obviously, you'll get very few clicks on that one. It's gotta go and it needs to be replaced with a more general ad that appeals to your dog loving crowd that hates cats.

Normally the url for the ad is displayed underneath the picture or the text ad. This one might be: petzone.com/cats. You may want to boycott Petzone completely, in which case you only need the basic website url which would be petzone.com. However, if you only hate cats, you'll need the entire url which would be petzone.com/cats.

Google's cookies are watching you
Google's cookies are watching you

Do Not Click on the Ad!

If the url is not displayed, what do you do? First and foremost, do not click on your own ads, or you will be banned from Adsense revenue. It does happen so don't test them. I know a good writer on Hubpages who has had this unfortunate experience.

Retrieve the URL

There are two methods for identifying the url. One is the Google recommended Adsense Preview Tool which is only for Internet Explorer. Google is a pretty smart company, but it is a little dimwitted to expect that internet savvy people only use Internet Explorer. The other major browser does not exist. But if you think it does, you can also try the Firefox add-on Adsense Preview Tool - which is NOT endorsed by Google by the way.

If you want to avoid the hassle of deciding whether or not to view your Hubpages account with IE or if you don't want to feel the guilt of being a rebel and using an outlaw application with your favorite browser which of course is rightfully Firefox because Microsoft doesn't really exist (please don't tell me you use Opera, Safari or Chrome - wait a minute, how is it that Google doesn't endorse it's own browser!?), then consider the second choice for identifying the ad url. Simply right click on the ad and click on, "Copy Link Location."

Here comes the hard part. Paste the copied link text into a text editor like WordPad or Notepad (sorry, I don’t speak Apple) and then extrapolate the actual website link from within the jumble of code located between 'adurl=' and '&'.

Here is a link from an ad on my "That Evening Sun" hub. I bolded the two separators that encompass the actual url you need.

http://googleads.g.doubleclick.net/aclk?sa=L&ai=Bh1qy70jrTbdIm4qNBPyshIMDhY3E5QGVv5DUFsCNtwHQ_y4QARgBIO7Rqw84AFCojOCH_v____8BYMmO-IbIo_wasgEMaHVicGFnZXMuY29tugEKMjUweDI1MF9hc8gBAtoBKGh0dHA6Ly9odWJwYWdlcy5jb20vaHViL1RoYXQtRXZlbmluZy1TdW6AAgGoAwGwA9SnmAvIAxXoAxboA9MI9QMAAADE&num=1&sig=AGiWqtwwPMw3b4oA8wfFp8baOKHxYyXSpA&client=ca-pub-7920942263401344&adurl=http://www.iamsecond.com/seconds/bethany-hamilton/&nm=13

And here it is: http://www.iamsecond.com/seconds/bethany-hamilton/

Unfortunately, right clicking on an ad is not a surefire way of finding the link because some ads are flash based, and when you right click, you get the flash settings window which is utterly useless for our purposes.

Cookies Are From The Devil

You might want to try a different technique but I can NOT ensure amnesty from the Adsense self-clicking police. You can take the entire link with the mumbo jumbo and open a new browser (if you're using Firefox, then open Internet Explorer or Opera or Safari or Chrome) with which you are not signed into your Hubpages account, and paste it into the url search bar and go. It will bring you to the website and webpage. In the browser bar, the correct address will magically appear. However, I have my doubts that Google is not tracking me somehow with its invasive cookies. Think of Frodo and the ring. Every time he puts it on, the Eye of Sauron can pinpoint his location and sends the black cloaked, horse mounted Ringwraiths to capture him. Whenever I use this backdoor method I swear I hear the clippity clop of hooves on the street outside my door.

Amendment June 14, 2011:

Nicomp states in the comments section below that opening another browser does not guarantee immunity from the Dark Riders - cookies are placed on your computer and track you no matter what browser you use. Therefore I recommend not using the browser trick described above. I left it in because you might get a chuckle out of it. Thank you nicomp! Check out his hub on Google and cookies.

Hunting for Google Adsense Settings
Hunting for Google Adsense Settings

And Finally

Go to your Google account via "Google Account Settings". I can't tell you the exact method for getting there because my Google page interface changes every time I erase cookies (I do this routinely, and especially when I pay bills online), but when you're signed in to your Google account, go to the right corner of the Google home page to find your "Google Account Settings" link. Click on it - you probably guessed that.

Did you click on it? Good job. Halfway down the page, there will be a section called "My Products." The first link on the left should be "Ad Sense". You know what to do. Don’t make me tell you to click it again.

Your estimated earnings for the day will appear. If you're like me, it probably says "$0.00" This means you're on the right track, uh well, maybe not.

Close to the top of the page there are two menu bars. In the top one, look for "Ad Sense Setup" right next to "Reports". When you click on that, the second menu bar will change and you will want to click on "Manage Ads", but you shouldn't - resist the urge and go instead to "Competitive Ad Filter". but all you need to do is to take the copied url and paste it into the text box at the bottom of the page and hit the "Save preferences" button. Walla, Bob's your uncle. (Yes I know it's "voilà" and I know to put commas around my quoted words, but like my college newspaper editors, I do what feels right - at least on Hubpages).

An easy way to get there is here. Make sure you're signed in first.

Remember that you want to target the specific ad, be careful not to exclude potential money makers from the same general source. So if you want to block an ad for Scientology videos, their videos may be placed on Youtube. It might look like this: youtube.com/scientology. So you don't want to type just youtube.com into the text box, you want the entire url so it will only block the Scientology videos. Otherwise you'll block everything on Youtube.

Note to Scientologists: I don’t mean to pick on you, just your religion.

There you go. Hopefully you will find some measure of peace knowing that you can protect religious and moral content, or help focus ads to better serve your audience (and your pocket book). Please leave questions, helpful comments, corrections (also known as opinions if I don’t agree with you), personal advertisement horror stories, or additions to my instructions in the comments section below.

How to Get to the Competitive Ad Filter
How to Get to the Competitive Ad Filter

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Comments 44 comments

North Wind profile image

North Wind 5 years ago from The World (for now)

I know a lot of people who want to know how to have more control over what ads are and aren't displayed on their hubs or any other place they post for that matter. This should help them considerably!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hello North Wind, thanks for commenting. Glad you found it useful - that's the primary purpose of this hub.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

I had not idea this was possible. I wrote an article on getting published and the evils of self publishing and lo and behold what ads appear? Ads for self publishing. Grr.

I'm technically challenged but when my brain is fresher I'll look into this and see if I can figure it out.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

You made me laugh Pamela, thank you. That is exactly the irony that drove me to write this hub. I'll see if I can write a shorter set of instructions, it does seem a little convoluted doesn't it? Thanks for commenting.


Cristaphine profile image

Cristaphine 5 years ago from Denver, CO.

I wondered how to do this. Thanks


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

You're welcome.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Hi Mark! Well written and on a good topic, but you already know I'm no organ grinders monkey, and don't write for pocket change when taking out "hits" is far more lucrative. What ever that means LOL, Peace Bro' Dusty


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hiya 50! I've been kind of absent lately, so I'm glad you passed by. There are way better ways to make money online than Hubpages, I'm not sure why I write here anymore. Must be the attention :-D

I shall be back up to par with my electronic connections later this week brother.


Utrecht11 5 years ago

Boy, I am glad I am no writer. Now I don't have to understand all this. I think I am going to bake some cookies.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Oh ja? What kind?


Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

Jo_Goldsmith11 5 years ago

I try not to mess with the google ad sense. I just try to write,read and comment. I have 7 cats..and I like dogs, when they are puppies. Actually I like cats more when they are kittens. Nonetheless, animals need love just like every thing else in this world. Great topic and I will keep on, keeping on. And let the adsense do it's stuff.


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

I love it, and so true, Adsense preview tool is a bit of a lifesaver-- my kicker? an ad about creating cold fusion ( you read it correctly) on a hub about publishing... that took it... but I'd say the brides one would come a close second....


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hi Jo, SEVEN cats???? Wow, you must like them :-) Kittens are pretty cute, and truthfully, I've been changing my mind about cats, you just have to see them differently I think. Now, if my complex allowed it, I would get a cat just to have a warm body in the house, something furry and pettable, but also easy to take care of. I'm very partial to Maine Coons because they're kind of dog like, that'll probably be my next choice.

Hi Rebecca, I had no idea you were a scientist as well! Let me know how that project works out, we could all benefit from an energy source like that. What's next for you, perpetual motion? That is a pretty amazing mistake though, I cannot fathom how cold fusion came out of a publishing hub. Sheesh.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

"You can take the entire link with the mumbo jumbo and open a new browser (if you're using Firefox, then open Internet Explorer or Opera or Safari or Chrome) with which you are not signed into your Hubpages account, and paste it into the url search bar and go."

Whoa! Be very careful about that. If you were signed in yesterday, HubPages and Google both left cookies behind. Any time you browse to a page with Google Ads on it, Google can 'see' the cookie that was written to your computer from the last time you visited a page with Google ads on it.

Being signed in doesn't mean your browser has to be open and pointed to HubPages: as long as a cookie has not expired, it will still be retrieved.

I wrote a hub about the vagaries of cookies: I'll paste it into another comment just in case you don't allow commenter to post links, which I completely understand.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 5 years ago from Ohio, USA


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you Nicomp - I'll make the amendment in the hub and your links are always welcome - especially in this hub since I wrote it to help people (or bore them, either way).


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

well, it's funny, fixed a bit of where sentences were and lo and behold, my Ads seem to have stablized... or maybe it's just me.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hi Rebecca, do you mean you reworded your sentences? I would like to know more.


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

I in fact *moved* my sentences, Some thing about that seemed to work, so for example, if my paragraphs which were close to my "ad" weren't so hot I'd eiher cut a sentence out or move it to another spot, which seemed to make a difference-- it also made a difference in traffic BTW but that is a whole other hub!

Also I would look at a keyword tool based upon my website which showed me a bit more of what keywords were coming up on my screen.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Wow, the ads really are sensitive - you discovered another way to control your ads. I am not advanced to the point I check keywords yet, but this certainly relates to traffic and advertising. Thank you for the useful information Rebecca!


.josh. profile image

.josh. 5 years ago

Very interesting post, AM - I really hadn't focused too much on the content of the ads, but perhaps I should look them over. Good hub!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks .josh, hope this helps.


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 5 years ago from USA

I think I have brain damage now, but in a good way. I have been trying to figure out my adsense for a couple of months now, but with no luck. After reading this, I think I need a crash course in foreign computer language. Thanks for sharing this helpful information that I now need a pot of coffee and bag of sunflower seeds to figure out. (Hopefully this will help me figure out my other adsense.)


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Oy! I think I over did it. Next time I do this, I will make it an easy step by step process. If you would like, I can email you simplified instructions - I would modify this hub but that would take longer and as soon as I have time to write again (hopefully soon), I have many other things to write about :-) Thanks for reading anyway, I appreciate the visit.


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 4 years ago from USA

Thanks Alexander, Like you, I need to wait for things to slow down a bit before I can find time to write. At the moment, I am feeling lucky enough to have time to read here at HP. When I find the time to go thru my adsense again, I will shoot you an email. Thanks again!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

We are in the same space. Right now I am deciding whether to work on my book or my blog. I have ideas for Hubpages too, aaaarrrrrgggghh!


Springboard profile image

Springboard 4 years ago from Wisconsin

I come from the league, I'll do the writing and let THEM figure out the rest. Not to say that doesn't have it's own complications—did you read my farewell hub? lol.

...and by the way, for the record, I have TWO cats, neither of which I prefer. Dogs ARE much better, but the cats came with the wife, and well...

End of story. :)


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hello Springboard! Sorry I haven't gotten to the other comment you left, it deserves some thought before I respond and lately my brain's been mush.

Yeah, if you don't watch your ads, they could come back to haunt you :-)

SOME cats are OK, but not many.

You might be better off not worrying about those ads anyway because sometimes the ads I block don't go away. I feel that for the most part, the HP ads are more tasteful, but some of them are way worse - I love seeing a 900 number with a large-boobed "lady" on one of my Bible hubs. That's only happened once though. Maybe you're right, but in some things I'm a control freak.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Wow - I didn't know that mere mortals like myself could manipulate the ads on my pages! Very helpful, and like Pam I think I have to bookmark and come back when I am not multi=tasking making lunches and getting the kids out the door. Rated up!


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia

I like this hub! I learn a lot. But i am going to resist being a control freak for the few cents earned it ain.t worth it!

Voted up.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hello stephhicks68, thanks for stopping in. I think I didn't make this hub very easy to read which is why readers want to come back later and go through it. If I ever figure out how to write readable directions, I'll post an amendment :-) I'm glad you enjoyed it anyway and thanks for the vote up.

Barryrutherford, thanks for the vote and the comment. Being a control freak is a mental drain and a time consuming occupation, it's not for everybody.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 4 years ago from Wisconsin

Perhaps we should all add a disclaimer at the end of our hubs, "Ads on this page are at the discretion of the owners of this site, based on content algorythms, and do not necessarily reflect the interests or opinions of the author of this content, nor should any ad that displays here be considered to be an endorsement by the author for any products, opinions, or services that may be offered."

Sort of a way of having one's cake and eating it too?

It's like the way I buy stocks. If the company makes money, that's the bottom line for me. I can take the profits, if I want, and start a campaign for an opposing position...and I'm thinking big boobs might get a few extra clicks?

But I digress. :)


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

I think it's funny how our opinions differ in this regard, but not that I don't agree with your philosophy, I totally understand. I work for the county and see taxpayers money wasted on a daily basis via bad management. I do a job I don't completely agree with - all for the sake of money.

The problem with my attitude is that it can cut you off at the feet, when you stand on principal, whether it's your own pet peeve or something important, your bound to run into problems. Thankfully, the system is in place to keep certain advertisers from appearing on my page, so I can use it, and hopefully send a mouse squeak of a message to the boob people that they are not acceptable.

My fear is that if we allow those ads on our pages, we are helping societal moral decay along. I guess that's appropriate since I consider my hubs kind of like they are my church :-)

The disclaimer is a great idea. Of course, being me, I would add a message not to click on the ads - lol.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

I didn't want clothing ads for clothing made in Asian countries to appear on my hub about fashion clothing made in Asia because I was criticizing the companies and didn't want to appear hypocritical. So I made it a hub with a low ad level. I still managed to get an ad on it about Hong Kong Tailors. Sigh.

I have learned from comments by one of my readers that actually some fashion designers do indeed pay their workers in Asia a proper wage, so it turns out I am safe.

But man, did my heart sink when I first published the hub.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Ha ha! I know what you mean - you can never completely fix this problem, but we do the best we can. Thankfully you found out good news that vindicated you at least that time - it's always nice when that happens.

After interacting with a few different hubbers about this problem, I have found that most people don't take offense at misplaced ads - it's just frustrating for those of us who care.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Gee thanks.


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

I;ve recently noticed that the ads are also sensitive it seems to when you add more information to your hubs-- don't know if that makes a difference, but I wondered if you noticed that as well.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Yes I have, they are getting really focused on word content. I've noticed that on hubs that are more atheistic or more eastern religion focused will often have Bible school or Christian dating ads which is hilarious because those ads are not going to get as much revenue. I stopped worrying about it when I couldn't get rid of certain psychic ads on my Bible hubs - I figure I'll do my best but in the world of commerce, something will always sneak in that might be adverse to your beliefs. Unfortunately, I don't see any more option to de-monetize our hubs anymore :-(


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

now knowing that-- I think I'll not worry as much, but hey, it's all good ha ha- not really but I'll accept it


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

COTI (Chuckling On The Inside - I'm starting something new, let's see if it catches on).


Lizam1 profile image

Lizam1 3 years ago from Victoria BC

You are probably right - however I found the presentation very complicated - not because of your writing just hard to follow . Probably why I don't get the traffic I would like. I will come back and re-read on a less brain foggy day. Thanks for sharing your experitse.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 3 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Lizam1, thanks for commenting, I think it is this hub, it isn't as straightforward as it could be and one has to really sit down to study it with one window open on your account. However, Google has changed the look and function of adsense account pages, and the methods are a little different now probably. I should probably write a part 2 to this!


phoenix2327 profile image

phoenix2327 3 years ago from United Kingdom

This hub was very helpful, but I don't think I'll be using the info. I find it rather amusing some of the things that pop up next my hubs. lol


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 3 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

It is rather confusing, but I left it up for the humor content anyway :-) Thanks phoenix2327.

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