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I get that to apply for an AdSense account, a website needs to already have "sufficient content". As you can guess my website, being brand-new, did not. I am not disputing that fact, so I do not think this is a duplicate with other questions that do.

I do however wonder why this is a policy?

I guess their reasoning MIGHT be because Google wants to uphold a sense of quality in the content they support. A practically blank website is not quality content (yet).

But isn't this a Catch 22? Creating quality content takes time (and thus money). Without ad-revenue to back this up, it's not easy to justify the expense (to my wife mostly, but that is beside my point :) )?

Compare with YouTube where you can apply for a partner account having uploaded 0 videos.

Another reason might be that they won't know what ads to show on an "empty website", but seems to me they could just as well pick something "random, but safe" themselves...

If anyone has an authoritative answer (based on information from Google or personal experience) I'd be happy to hear it.

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2 Answers 2

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AdSense has a full set of content guidelines that you site must adhere to:

Sites with Google ads may not include or link to:

  • Pornography, adult or mature content
  • Violent content
  • Hate speech (including content that incites hatred or promotes violence against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity), harassment, bullying, or similar content that advocates harm against an individual or group.
  • Excessive profanity
  • Hacking/cracking content
  • Illicit drugs and drug paraphernalia content
  • Content that promotes, sells, or advertises products obtained from endangered or threatened species.
  • Sales of beer or hard alcohol
  • Sales of tobacco or tobacco-related products
  • Sales of prescription drugs
  • Sales of weapons or ammunition (e.g., firearms, firearm components, fighting knives, stun guns)
  • Sales or distribution of coursework or student essays
  • Content regarding programs which compensate users for clicking ads or offers, performing searches, surfing websites or reading emails
  • Any other content that is illegal, promotes illegal activity or infringes on the legal rights of others

Publishers are also not permitted to place AdSense code on pages with content primarily in an unsupported language.

When you apply for AdSense, they review your content to make sure that it doesn't violate their policies. If you don't have any content, they can't review it and turn down your application for that reason.

The minimum sufficient content is about 50 pages. That is not an insurmountable hurdle for new websites. If you can write 5 pages a day, you could get there in a couple weeks. In that time, you would miss out on a few cents in ad revenue. Ads only make about five dollars per 1000 visitors.

It is also a good idea to wait 6 months after launching your website before applying for AdSense. If you live in some countries like India, Google requires this waiting period. Even if you live in the US or Europe, owning the website for 6 months before applying makes acceptance of your application easier. The amount of ad revenue that a new site can make in 6 months is likely only a few dollars anyway.

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I can live with that answer (and it does make sense in a "why didn't I think of that?" way :) ). Sadly, the "quality content" I intend to place would more be something that will take several weeks and be released as a whole. But, perhaps I can make some compromises and split them up in parts... –  Vincent Vancalbergh May 8 at 11:29
    
I suppose this is anecdotal, but my site has had Adsense enabled just about since its inception and I don't think I've even hit the 25 page mark. –  TankorSmash May 8 at 15:43
    
AdSense has tightened its policies over time. If you applied 10 years ago, it was a very different situation than today. –  Stephen Ostermiller May 8 at 16:40

Look at it from the perspective of Google Adsense accepting insufficient content.

Google in 2008 changed policy to address (reduce/marginalize) domain tasting/kiting. The idea behind tasting and kiting is that people were aiming to profit on domains without actually producing anything of value for the internet.

From a business perspective, this could still bring in money to Google, as ad impressions and click-throughs still would generate, but it has much-maligned side-effects: people would associate this awful practice with Google's revenue model and thus it would be bad PR. Further down the chain, low-context ad placement and click-throughs also won't encourage actual business as far as the advertised site is concerned, lowering the PPC value to the advertisers themselves. This could result in lower confidence in Adsense on the whole, which means businesses might reduce their Adsense budgets or even eliminate it.

When it comes to legitimate sites like your own, however, the same principle applies, though to a lesser severity. "Insufficient content" might be somebody's single page of content (so far), but Google knows that poor content leads to poor profits. Thus, Google had to come up with a line to draw: "How much is enough content?" "What policy should we hold that keeps adsense in the internet's good graces?"

Thus, they came up with this blanket "insufficient content": They set an expectation you need to have substantial content but also there's a chance with fewer than X pages you can still get approved anyway. This way they can still accumulate revenue and keep the trust of advertisers and goodwill of the internet.

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A very good point indeed... –  Vincent Vancalbergh May 8 at 19:49

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