POF Revamps Ad Guidelines For Higher Quality Advertising

February 24, 2013 16 Comments by Aziz Kamara

Earlier this week, POF came out with some new and improved ad guidelines. In light of these new changes, I’d like to try to shed some light on the situation and tell you why it’s not all that bad.

POF Introduces an Updated Set of Guidelines

POF has grown quite a bit in the last few years. But with rising popularity with both marketers and users, POF was reportedly receiving an increasing number of complaints from their users about an excess of lewd images.

Yet, while explicit images were not permissible, pictures of shirtless men and women in provocative bikinis outdoors were almost becoming commonplace. So in an attempt to retain user experience, they came out with a new set of guidelines:

  1. No Bikinis (1-piece swimsuits as well)
  2. No Short Skirts (nothing shorter than mid-knee length)
  3. No Bare Stomachs, ie. Midriff, on women
  4. No Nude Torsos (topless males from the shoulder up are acceptable)
  5. No Short Shorts
  6. No Pictures of People That Look <20
  7. No Images of People with a “Sexual Expression” On Their Face

Essentially, if it’s not work-appropriate, the approval team has been instructed to decline your ad. This means that if your images contain women in tight dresses or who resemble adult entertainment employees, they will likely be declined.

POF Also Introduces Retroactive Declines

Not only will new ads be required to follow the new guidelines, old ads will too. This is because for the first time, POF will be conducting ongoing retroactive denials.

Retroactive denials means ads which were previously compliant under the old guidelines will not be grandfathered in and will be subjected the same approval process as new ads, resulting in a more leveled playing field

Along with these new guidelines, there will also be a greater emphasis on consistency with the approval team. While in the past this has been a minor issue with POF, their mentioning of enforcing these rules more diligently is encouraging.

5 Things to Look Forward To With New Guidelines

At first glance, these new guidelines may be incredibly discouraging to a lot of people out there. But change isn’t always a bad thing. Before dismissing these guidelines as a completely negative thing, consider the benefits of running on a stricter advertising platform:

  1. Higher Quality Leads – Abandoning superficial tactics will force marketers to rely more on creating ads with more substance.
  2. Wider Variety of Offers – As a trend of higher quality leads from POF begins to develop, more advertisers will want POF’s traffic and more of it.
  3. Payout Increases - At the same time, current advertisers will be more willing to pay you more for your POF traffic.
  4. Greater Sustainability - With a greater volume of higher quality traffic, your chances of getting kicked off of an offer for a working campaign will decrease dramatically.
  5. Equal Footing - Lastly, those annoying legacy ads that have somehow continued to undermine the compliance guidelines will finally be a thing of the past, placing you at equal footing with your competition.

The new guidelines mean that many POF marketers will have to re-think how they design their campaigns. No longer will people be able to rely on superficial, cheap tactics of raw sex appeal.

Also bear in mind that your landing pages will not be subjected to these new guidelines. So while some of your old ads may be getting declined, your landing pages will still be compliant.

Turn Lemons Into Lemonade

Think of the long-term gains. For instance, you may find that maintaining success in POF under these new conditions may inadvertently teach you how to create angles that could be applied to campaigns on other traffic sources.

As previously mentioned, without the use of lewd images, you will have to rely on your ability to tap into deeper emotional triggers to get users to click and convert resulting in a more universally applicable campaign.

Plus, while these changes were sudden, everyone appeared to find out at the same time without much notice. So while we wish that the community would have gotten a “heads up” of sorts, at least a majority of people out there got equal notice, leveling the playing field even further.

A Little Bit of Advice

There will be a lot of affiliates who will undoubtedly give up on POF because of the new guidelines, so take these upcoming weeks as an opportunity to take a higher share of POF traffic and innovate with new rising POF paradigm.

What you should also do is talk to your network AMs and advertisers about allowing POF traffic with its new advertising guidelines. Let them know that traffic quality is on its way to an upward trend and that you’d like to test their offer to see if it works for them now.

Some Final Words

Keep in mind that you still have access to one of the most comprehensive targeting ad platforms available today. While you may not be able to use the same images you used in the past, you can still target to any niche out there.

Ultimately, continue to explore new ideas and develop new angles while you have the chance.

  • Ben

    The problem is that they are declining the so called clean ads as well. Cause they are too lazy to review each ad one by one, so they just decline a whole campaign. I just had 60 ads declined in one shot!

    • http://www.ipyxel.com/ Aziz Kamara

      I’ve noticed denial rates on clean images are currently higher than normal. However, I suspect this is happening because the approval team is erring on the side of caution, not laziness.

      Some of the guidelines could be considered subjective, so when more of the members within the approval team get a better idea of the new standard, erroneous denials will become less frequent.

  • http://www.ipyxel.com/ Tom Fang

    I should clarify that the new ad guidelines do not apply to images on the subsequent landing pages. The POF approval team will not judge images on your landing pages any different from before. At least that’s the policy for now.

    • Matt

      You clearly work for POF…stop trying to sell us on your cruddy ads now haha.

  • Jay

    Ok…so does this mean that you can’t use girls who have a big chest even if they are in work clothes or something professional?

    • http://www.ipyxel.com/ Aziz Kamara

      That’s hard to say, Jay.

      Since an “excessively large” bust is a little subjective you may find approval for big chested women to be a little spotty. That said, the less sexually-suggestive your images are, the more likely they will get approved with ease.

      Ultimately, you can always resubmit your ads if you believe they’ve been mistakenly declined.

    • Jay

      Thanks for you reply Aziz. Since I’m kind of new to POF, would they consider this to be a sexual expression. http://postimage.org/image/ucu5m2oa1/04e5fca1/

    • http://www.ipyxel.com/ Aziz Kamara

      Well, while I wouldn’t say she has a sexual expression on her face, her top is definitely NOT work appropriate for a woman of her physique and would likely get declined.

  • Abrahm

    I will leave POF ads.. They have just shut down themselves. It was before not easy to get it lucrative but it’s impossible now. Bye bye pof…

    • Abrahm

      PS: Pof should treat their advertisers better and not like this. It’s a shame.

    • http://www.ipyxel.com/ Tom Fang

      Some traffic sources just won’t work for some marketers as they evolve. Do what works for you. The traffic is there and there are a lot of it, which means a lot of marketers are making it work.

      In regards to POF, what I look at is growth and strategy. The traffic is actually growing, not to mention their app that they haven’t opened up ads on.

      When a traffic grows more and more, they are going to change their ad policies. Same thing happened with Facebook. But my relationship with POF clearly tells me that they are not trying to cut off any affiliates with new guidelines. They simply want to attract more advertisers/offers.

      There will be some shuffling, but I guess some marketers getting out means more opportunities for new marketers to get in. At the end of the day it’s a bidding market with the amount of inventory growing.

    • Matt

      You clearly work for POF or are their little cheer leader haha.

  • Matt

    Sorry.. But Pof is hurting themselves.. With these stupid rules CTR have gone WAY down.. yet their CPM has gone up..

    And no.. the quality of clicks is not any better.. Its the exact same.. my ROI has gone way down… Bye Bye POF…

    • http://www.ipyxel.com/ Tom Fang

      Our ROI has actually gone up, and not just by a little, along with volume.

      Based on inside sources, CPM has gone down, which makes sense… marketers moving away. That’s why we’re seeing more volume at same bids.

    • Matt

      Haha not sure what you are advertising but ROI HAS GONE WAYY DOWN. Retarded guidelines

  • http://www.ipyxel.com/ Tom Fang

    A ton of new affiliates have gone in with cleaner offers than before in the past week. I don’t think they’re going to miss you. Plus, they are growing their app (60% of total traffic) that they will release to ads sometime in the future.