Effective February 15, 2023
The following policies apply to any party (each a “Publisher” or “Supply Partner”) engaging PubMatic to provide the PubMatic digital online advertising services (the “PubMatic Services” or “PubMatic Platform”) relating to the monetization of Publisher’s and/or its clients’ advertising inventory (“Publisher Inventory”), which may include websites, mobile applications and/or other digital media properties accessible through the PubMatic Services (the “Publisher Properties”), and primarily govern the content of, as well as how, advertising is displayed on Publisher Properties. Such access to the PubMatic Platform requires Supply Partner’s compliance with these policies.
SECTION 1 – CONTENT GUIDELINES
1.1 MINIMUM CONTENT REQUIREMENTS
In order to monetize Publisher Inventory via the PubMatic Services, the Publisher Properties upon which such Publisher Inventory resides must contain original content, include transparent references to the operator(s)/owner(s) of the Publisher Property, and demonstrate signs of user engagement. PubMatic cannot serve digital ads onto Publisher Properties that:
- Contain content of little to no value to the user (e.g., copied stories, content written by fictional authors, boilerplate information)
- Feature content taken from other sites without clear, expressed attribution, meaningful commentary, or thoughtful curation
- Have mostly ads with little content
- Demonstrate no evidence of a loyal, engaged audience
- Appear designed primarily to display ads; and/or
- Are undeveloped or dead domains
- Publisher Properties that have no clear attribution of ownership or operation, or where content authorship cannot be verified are not allowed on the PubMatic Platform. Monetized content must be available by navigating the site organically. Content created solely for targeting traffic sources is prohibited
In addition to the requirements in this Paragraph 1.1, Publisher Properties (a) whose primary function is to direct Publisher’s end users to view and/or click ads, (b) that are proxy sites, (c) that redirect end users to other properties for any reason, and (d) that contain any of the content listed in Paragraph 1.2 below (without limitation) may not participate in PubMatic Services
1.2 BANNED CATEGORIES
Banned categories differ from the restricted categories referred to in Paragraph 1.3 below in that many of them may be legal in some regions, but not necessarily legal in all regions PubMatic aligns closely with the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) brand safety floor framework (https://www.aaaa.org/4as-advertiser-protection-bureau-delivers-brand-suitability-framework-and-brand-safety-floor-in-move-to-help-advertisers-assess-risk) as well as IAB’s content taxonomy version 2.2 (https://iabtechlab.com/standards/content-taxonomy/) with regards to banned content categories.
Adult & Explicit Sexual Content
- Sale, distribution, and consumption of child pornography
- Explicit or gratuitous depiction of sexual acts, and/or display of genitals, real or animated
- Pornographic or highly suggestive content or images
Arms & Ammunition:
- Sales of firearms and ammunition (legal or otherwise)
- Promotion and advocacy of sales of illegal arms, rifles, and handguns
- Instructive content on how to obtain, make, distribute, or use illegal arms
- Glamorization of illegal arms for the purpose of harm to others
- Use of illegal arms in unregulated environments
Crime and Harmful Acts
- Graphic promotion, advocacy and depiction of willful harm and actual unlawful criminal activity – such as murder, manslaughter, and harm to others
- Explicit violations/demeaning offenses violating human rights (e.g. trafficking, slavery.)
Death or Injury
- Promotion or advocacy of death or injury
- Murder or willful bodily harm to others
- Graphic depictions of willful harm to others
- Pirating, copyright infringement, and counterfeiting
- P2P file-sharing, torrent, or anything that facilitates or promotes copyright infringement.
- Promotion of black-hat hacking, cracking, or warez
Hate Speech & Acts of Aggression
- Unlawful acts of aggression based on age, race, nationality, ethnicity, religious affiliation, medical condition, gender or sexual image or preference
- Behavior or commentary that incites such hateful acts, including bullying
- Incendiary content with intent to provoke or entice military aggression
- Live action footage/photos of military actions and genocide or other war crimes outside of news reporting
Obscenity and Profanity:
- Excessive use of profane language or gestures and other repulsive actions with the intent to shock, offend, or insult
- Where prohibited by applicable law, rule or regulation, the promotion or sale of drug paraphernalia and/or illegal drug use, including abuse of prescription drugs
Spam or Harmful Content
- Promotion and advocacy of graphic terrorist activity involving defamation, physical and/or emotional harm of individuals, communities, and society
- Sale of tobacco/eCigarette/vaping products
- Promotion and advocacy of tobacco and eCigarette (vaping) and alcohol use to minors
- Applies to all jurisdictions where money is wagered, regardless of legality
- Games that mimic gambling, but don’t require money betting are allowed.
Sensitive Social Issue/Violations of Human Rights
- Disrespectful and harmful treatment of sensitive social topics (e.g. abortion, extreme political positions)
- Acts, language, and gestures deemed illegal, not otherwise referenced above (e.g. harm to self or other and animal cruelty)
- Targeted harassment of individuals and groups
Other Illegal Content, including but not restricted to:
- Promoting illicit or harmful activity, including sites that provide “how-to” information on bomb-making, lock-picking, and similar topics
- Defamatory or libelous content
- Distribution of viruses and/or malware
Excessive User Generated Content
- Live streaming of user generated content; excepting live streaming of sports, concerts and other public events
- Significant unmoderated user generated content
- Video chat
Adherence to Journalistic Standards
- PubMatic partners with NewsGuard, a company that provides trust ratings for news and information websites, in creating a minimum set of credibility and transparency requirements for PubMatic monetization (see newsguardtech.com for more information on their approach).
- Publisher Properties must 1) have a minimum total NewsGuard score of 60, or, (2) be rated by NewsGuard as Satire or Platform.
- At PubMatic’s discretion, a Publisher currently monetizing traffic via PubMatic maybe given a period of no more than 90-days (or 15 days with respect to a reseller) to work with NewsGuard to cure its score before PubMatic demonetizes the site, provided the Publisher demonstrates it is working in good faith with NewsGuard to identify and cure the issues that have caused the score to drop.
1.3 RESTRICTED CATEGORIES
Restricted categories are generally legal in most regions, but, depending on the nature of the content and the context in which such content appears on the Publisher Properties may still be considered Prohibited Content. Publisher Properties containing any of the following content (without limitation) may be restricted:
- Adult humor;
- Fantasy sports and/or daily fantasy sports under some state laws;
- Suggestive content;
- Sexual health;
- Significant user-generated content;
- Sale of alcohol; and/or
- Sale of prescription drugs.
- Cannabis related content
For more information on Restricted Categories, please contact your designated customer success personnel.
1.4 BETTER ADS STANDARDS
PubMatic will only serve ads onto Publisher Properties that follow the Better Ads Standards developed by the Coalition for Better Ads. For more information, see www.betterads.org.
A “slideshow” is a series of images or other Publisher Property content where the end user may advance by selecting a forward icon, page number, or other similar link. All of the following requirements apply (without limitation) for slideshow pages:
- Each slideshow page may contain a maximum of three ads.
- All ads must be positioned at or above the lowest part of the slideshow. For mobile implementations, a single ad may also appear immediately below the slideshow content.
- Slideshow pages that automatically advance without a user click may not load new ads.
- The content of each slide must differ materially from the previous slide’s content (e.g., minor changes to the slideshow’s text or image do not constitute a material change and are not sufficient to load new ads).
- Auto-refresh is not permitted on slideshow pages.
SECTION 2 – IMPLEMENTATION GUIDELINES
2.1 BASIC GUIDELINES
These guidelines apply to the entirety of the Publisher’s property (app, website) if any PubMatic-sourced advertising appears anywhere on the Publisher Property.
- Publisher Properties may not initiate a download or change settings without the end user’s knowledge and consent.
- The Publisher may not mask or cloak a Publisher Property’s URL or employ any other means to obscure the true source of traffic.
- The Publisher may not artificially inflate impressions, clicks, or requests, or source traffic from pop-ups, pop-unders, forced redirects, or similar means.
- No Publisher Property may install nor distribute malware, viruses, or other similar malicious code.
- Publisher must keep the number, layout or refresh rate of ads appearing on a page, and/or adjacent to content, the same no matter where the visitor to the page/content originates.
- Publisher Properties may not include or launch fake error messages or system flags.
- A substantial portion of each Publisher Property must be accessible without a login.
- Publisher may not employ any means to induce or trick the end user into clicking on an ad (e.g. placing arrows or text such as “click here” next to an ad is strictly prohibited).
- Publisher Properties deemed unsafe by reputable third-party malware-detection services and invalid traffic measurement, or other validation methods may be suspended from participation in the PubMatic Services by PubMatic upon written notice, at PubMatic’s sole discretion until all such end user safety issues are addressed to PubMatic’s satisfaction.
- Each Publisher Property must explicitly disclose individuals or entities that operate and/or own such Publisher Property (e.g. no boilerplate or otherwise vague ‘about-us’ pages are permitted).
- End users to each Publisher Property must have a transparent method to contact owners/operators; no emails addresses using common web mail domains are allowed (e.g. hotmail.com, gmail.com, aol.com).
- The Publisher Inventory specifications and criteria provided by Publisher to PubMatic must be true and accurate.
2.2 AD NUMBER AND POSITION
- The Publisher must not edit or modify ads in any way, including but not limited to, resizing the ads.
- Publisher must work with PubMatic to identify with any of the Publisher’s brand safety or other blocklist requirements.
- Ads must be clearly separated from the content on each Publisher Property (i.e., the difference between content and ad must be obvious to end users).
- Ads may not be obscured or altered in any way. For ads shown in iframes, the iframe must allow the entire creative to be fully visible to the end user.
- Ads may not appear in pop-up or pop-under windows.
- Ads may not appear in the body of emails.
- The Publisher Property may not contain an excessive number or density of ads. For most pages, no more than 3 ads in view at the same time is appropriate, and any additional ads may constitute “ad clutter.”
- Desktop: Ads must appear within standard web pages. Ads may appear in other downloadable applications with the prior approval and consent of PubMatic.
- Mobile Applications: Ads may not appear outside of the Publisher’s app (e.g. on the user’s lock screen), nor may they appear when the app user has no opportunity to view the ad (in the background, refreshing when the app is not active and in focus). Apps must be hosted on one of these official app stores: Apple iTunes store or Google Play Store
- CTV & OTTV: Ads must appear in-stream to content, with no more than five ads played during an in-stream block of ads. For content shown on CTV apps, PubMatic generally considers Roku, AmazonFire, and, Samsung as preferred CTV app distributors, but; apps from other distributors will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Content length must be at least 4 times the length of ads shown.
SECTION 3 – AD REFRESH
- Publishers may load new ads only when (a) the end user navigates to a new page or screen; (b) the current page is substantially updated with new content and at least 1 minute has passed since the last refresh; or (c) the ad unit has remained in view for at least 30 seconds, as measured by an MRC-accredited verification company.
- In no event may a Publisher refresh an ad unit more than 20 times per end user session (e.g. slideshows).
The Publisher must acquire traffic primarily from organic sources and shall use best efforts to ensure that none of such traffic is fraudulent. If a Publisher and/or any of its Publisher Properties acquires more than 50% of its end users from purchased/acquired traffic, or internal scores acting as proxy for this behavior indicate such behavior, PubMatic reserves the right to suspend Publisher’s access to the PubMatic Services until resolved. Publishers utilizing ‘click bait’ advertising as a method to acquire traffic will be subject to review and demonetization of sites found to be ‘arbitraging’ traffic in this way.
3.3 PUBLISHER PROPERTY OWNERSHIP
- The Publisher must either (a) own each Publisher Property on which ads are served via the PubMatic Service; or (b) have a direct, contractual relationship with the owner of each such Publisher Property on which such ads are served. If the Publisher Property in question has published an ads.txt file, the Publisher’s PubMatic account must be listed thereon as an authorized seller else, the Publisher Inventory will be blocked.
- Publishers sourcing inventory from other intermediaries (‘double hop’) is strictly prohibited and will be subject to demonetization and/or termination.
- Publisher Inventory from applications, including browser plug-ins and toolbars, that insert ads into the body of third-party or other online properties without written permission, is not acceptable.
- Video ads may not be served within display banner ad units (IBV) Only if inventory is clearly marked as a video unit may video ads be served.
- Suppliers of video inventory are required to ensure no more than one video plays on a page at a time
- Video content should maintain a reasonable balance between content and advertising (e.g., a 30 second ad should not accompany a video with only 15 seconds of content).
SECTION 4 – INVENTORY QUALITY; FRAUD
PubMatic tests the quality of advertising impressions from Publisher Properties served through the PubMatic Services. The Publisher shall provide PubMatic with complete transparency with respect to the “root” (TLD + 1) domain for each such Publisher Property at all times during the Term, and shall comply with, and, upon request, engage PubMatic to use commercially reasonable efforts to assist with, the Inventory Quality controls and procedures (including allowlisting and blocklisting) that PubMatic may institute from time to time regarding inventory quality.
4.2 INVENTORY QUALITY RISKS
- An “Inventory Quality Risk” consists of, without limitation: (a) inventory quality issues (e.g., attempts to generate false impressions, either by using bots and crawlers, or manipulation of ad placements, or redirects where there is no possibility of viewing by a human), and (b) brand safety issues (e.g., appearance of ads in proximity of Prohibited Content on the Publisher Properties).
- If PubMatic determines that any one or more of a Publisher’s sites/apps (Publisher Properties), impressions served, and/or revenue generated via the PubMatic Services is associated with Publisher Properties that have Inventory Quality Risks, then PubMatic reserves the right, at its option, to pause monetization until the issue is resolved, or to terminate the Agreement.
- If PubMatic detects Inventory Quality Risk on Publisher Properties through use of such tools and services or otherwise, then PubMatic may either (i) not send that impression through to auction, or (ii) suspend traffic for such Publisher Properties.
- For Inventory Quality Risk impressions made available to PubMatic for auction, Publisher shall be subject to a standard “Inventory Quality Fee” (presently $0.02 per thousand impressions) rounded up to the nearest $10 for the applicable month; provided, however, that no charge will apply if the Inventory Quality Fee for a particular month is less than $100
4.3 FRAUDULENT IMPRESSIONS
- In the event that PubMatic becomes aware of inventory quality violations with respect to impressions that have been served on a Publisher Property, then: (a) PubMatic shall have the right to withhold Publisher payments solely for the applicable impressions until PubMatic has completed its good faith investigation with respect to such impressions and concluded any negotiation with the applicable Demand Partners with respect to such impressions; and (b) where PubMatic determines that there have been inventory quality violations for all or a portion of such impressions (the “Fraudulent Impressions”), PubMatic shall reduce pending payments by the amount otherwise payable to Publisher for the Fraudulent Impressions, and pay Publisher the resulting net amount in the ordinary course.
- If there are Fraudulent Impressions served to PubMatic on a repeated basis with respect to any Publisher Properties, PubMatic shall have the right to immediately suspend traffic for some or all Publisher Properties until the levels of Fraudulent Impressions have been reduced to acceptable levels, or to immediately terminate this Agreement upon written notice to Publisher
PubMatic has the right to immediately stop/pause monetization for any publishers in violation of these policies without notice. Monetization may not commence until PubMatic is satisfied that the policy is no longer in violation.