There has been a small, but important change to AdSense policy in the last week that has potential to bring significant change to the way policy is enforced. The change itself is just a single word, so would be easy to miss: The word “Sites” has been changed to “Pages”.
To understand the potential impact of this single-word policy change you need to look at the context:
Sites with Google ads may not include or link to: [list of restricted content]
Changed around December 7th to:
Pages with Google ads may not include or link to: [list of restricted content]
(emphasis mine). The latest version of this can be see on this policy page under “Content guidelines”.
This is potentially significant and it removed a grey area of concern for publishers concerned that ad-serving could be disabled site-wide for an issue on a single page, as well as allowing ad serving in “safe” parts of a site that might have other content that is less advertiser friendly in other areas. If this is a move towards more granular policy enforcement of content policy this would be in keeping with other developments that we are aware of as well as the general move towards greater openness and flexibility with policy that we have witnessed over the last couple of years.