Ethical Approaches to Social Web Metrics

I’ve an interest in ways of gathering evidence of the effectiveness and impact of use of Social Web services. But the evidence needs to be gathered and the services themselves need to be used in an ethical way. If you provide services, either for personal or institutional purposes, what ethical approaches should be used?

The Google Adsense Program provides some policies which may provide a starting point:

Invalid Clicks and Impressions

Publishers may not click their own ads or use any means to inflate impressions and/or clicks artificially, including manual methods.

Encouraging Clicks

Publishers may not ask others to click their ads or use deceptive implementation methods to obtain clicks. This includes, but is not limited to, offering compensation to users for viewing ads or performing searches, promising to raise money for third parties for such behavior or placing images next to individual ads.

Content Guidelines

Publishers may not place AdSense code on pages with content that violates any of our content guidelines. Some examples include content that is adult, violent or advocating racial intolerance.

Content Guidelines

Publishers may not place AdSense code on pages with content that violates any of our content guidelines. Some examples include content that is adult, violent or advocating racial intolerance.

Webmaster Guidelines

AdSense publishers are required to adhere to the webmaster quality guidelines.

Traffic Sources

Google ads may not be placed on pages receiving traffic from certain sources. For example, publishers may not participate in paid-to-click programs, send unwanted emails or display ads as the result of the action of any software application. Also, publishers using online advertising must ensure that their pages comply with Google’s Landing Page Quality Guidelines.

Ad Behavior

AdSense code may not be altered, nor may the standard behavior, targeting or delivery of ads be manipulated in any way that is not explicitly permitted by Google. For instance, clicking Google ads may not result in a new browser window being launched.

Ad Placement

Publishers are encouraged to experiment with a variety of placements and ad formats. However, AdSense code may not be placed in inappropriate places such as pop-ups, emails or software. Publishers must also adhere to the policies for each product used.

Site Behavior

Sites showing Google ads should be easy for users to navigate. Sites may not change user preferences, redirect users to unwanted websites, initiate downloads, include malware or contain pop-ups or pop-unders that interfere with site navigation.

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