Now a lot of publishers are getting worried about the sudden change. But is there really something to be feared about? Why is this Adchoices suddenly showing up instead of the ordinary?
According to what I found out, Google seems to have supported the online advertising industry's Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising for users to be in-the-know about the ads they're seeing.
Anyway, the following section is from a post from the AdSense blog dating back to March 21, 2011:
You've probably noticed that AdWords ads appearing on your site have a special "i" icon that expands to an "Ads by Google" label in the bottom corner of the ad. Users who click this label are taken to a page where they learn more about online advertising and the ads they've seen. Giving users clear notice about the ads they see is a high priority for Google and for many in the online advertising industry at large.
We'll soon start to change our in-ads notice icon to a new icon that expands to an "AdChoices" label. These notifications were developed by the online advertising industry’s Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising to more proactively give users notice and choice about the ads they see. With the change from our "i" icon and "Ads by Google" label to these new notifications, we hope to show our support for this cross-industry initiative, and to increase our users' understanding about ad choices through adoption of an icon they'll see on ads across the web.
In a few weeks, we'll begin to show the new icon and label on most ad formats across the majority of English-language sites. Over time, we’ll expand the notice to ensure that all English-language publisher sites in the Google Display Network come within the Self-Regulatory Program (until then, these sites will show the existing “i” icon and “Ads by Google” label). This will be the single most widespread rollout of the "AdChoices" label to date, and we're encouraged that others in the industry are similarly adopting it. We’re also looking at ways to increase transparency and control in other languages and countries. In the meantime, those languages and countries will continue to see the “i” and “Ads by Google” notice.
Just like before, users who click on the "AdChoices" label will be taken to a page where they can learn more about online advertising and the ads they've just seen. This page will also provide a link to the Ads Preferences Manager, where users can control the types of interest-based ads they see. Our tests of this new icon and label showed that they should not have any effect on ad performance. We think this rollout will help users better understand the ads they're seeing, and we look forward to seeing widespread adoption of this label throughout the industry.
Posted by Katrina Kurnit - Inside AdSense Team
So there you go, no need to worry. Like the post said, Google's just showing support for the industry. In the end, this would ultimately benefit the consumers and publishers alike.
But next time Google, please do release an updated heads-up before rolling whatever you have in store. Some people don't like surprises, like this AdSense to AdChoices update. Then again, who does?
'Till my next installment.