Why Can’t I See Google Ads?

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We all get irritated by obtrusive, flashy Ads, don’t we? They confuse and distract us. We’re on a website looking for cellphones and there are ads all over the place trying to sell us everything from computer drivers to dog food; and in fact over time we’ve become immune to it, we automatically block them out without even thinking about windows drivers.

However, sometimes adverts displayed on a website might be of particular interest to you, as is often the case with Google Ads, since it scans the content on which its adverts are being displayed and tries to give you the most relevant and useful ads. I know I’ve have found myself on a few occasions catching a glimpse of a Google Ad and thinking, “hey, that looks interesting. I wonder what that’s about?”. And even though I know it’s one of those adverts I hate so much, and am willing to look over my previous bad experiences with web adverts and I follow the link anyway, since it’s relevant.

Ok, all that being said. A couple months back I was have trouble viewing Google Ads on my laptop, and in particular for our blog. I wanted to see what they looked like, from a design perspective. I knew they were there, as I could see them on my PC (Windows XP Pro) and Rafiq’s PC (Suse Linux), but not my laptop (Windows XP Home). This was really frustrating for me. I had tried everything I could think of to fix this up, and even though I consider myself a bit of a computer geek, and feel like I know my computer back to front, I still couldn’t figure why Google Ads weren’t showing on my laptop, no matter which web browser I tried. And I tried a lot of different web browsers, but still nothing. This was a problem at the OS level.

Anyways, so to the point of this post. I realized some other people might also have the problem I had, especially if you do any sort of web development or publishing. So I thought I’d share with you, first some of the preliminary checks I did and that which was suggested by the Google Groups – Adsense Help forum, and then explain what I did that fixed my problem when none of those things helped.

Preliminary Checks:

  1. Is javascript enabled on your browser? Google Ads make use of javascript to display ads, so if javascript is disabled on your web browser their ads won’t display.
  2. Ad Blockers? Some people might have programs installed on their computers to block popups and other advertising on the web. Try disabling it for a moment and see if the Google ads appear. Also check if you don’t have any web browser plugins that block ads.
  3. Is your firewall blocking ads? Try disabling your firewall for a moment to see if that isn’t the problem.
  4. Scan for Viruses (free software that can help you do this? AVG Free Edition)
  5. Run an Anti-Spyware (free software that can help you do this? Ad-aware SE Personal)
  6. Could it be a problem with the specific website you are viewing? Well to test it out you should be able to see some Google Ads on this blog. Check to the left of this post and below, at the end of this post. If you still see nothing, move on to the third and final step, and the one that solved my problem.

If all else fails:

  • Go to C:WINDOWSsystem32driversetc
  • Open the HOSTS file in a text-editor (NB: Please remember to backup first, just in case.) If you have a problem with you drivers check this site for driver updates
  • Find [Restricted Zone site] and remove references to anything Google (there might be multiple entries, so remove them all)
  • Save

And there we go. This was really weird for me since at no time did I ever specify Google Ads as a restricted zone for my laptop.

So if you’ve been having this problem like had. I hope this helps.

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