Dear Mr. Google

You love someone. Sometimes they love you back and that feels so good. But sometimes your love is in vain. No matter how hard you try to get close to them, that special someone puts up barriers that prevent you from being together. That's how it is between me and Mr. Google, so I thought I'd write a letter.

Dear Mr. Google,

I love you. I have loved you as far back as I can remember. I think I have always loved you. I visit you many times every day and sometimes when I am sleeping, I dream that you come to visit me too. With all my heart I hope that you feel the same way about me.

I have tried to stop thinking about you, but you make it so hard for me to forget you. I see your little 'Ads by Google' everywhere I go and I want you, I want you... But I know in my heart that we can never be together and this makes me so very sad.

You see, your cute little Google ads just don't fit right with me. I know that you will let me dress them up, but that still doesn't make me happy. I want to dress them in my own choice of clothes, I want everything to match.

Your ads are chunky too and your code turns my web pages from a sweet smelling rose into a clump of thistles. My uncle Jeffrey has been encouraging me to make my code smaller and more delicate. So you see, we are destined not to be together.

I wish that you could hear me weeping. I wish that you would wipe away the tears. Please Mr. Google, hear my pleas, and don't make my love in vain.

All my love dearest Mr. Google,


PS: An average serving of five Google text ads uses over 6,000 characters of unsemantic, invalid HTML code. Instead of showering me with nested tables and font tags, you could lavish me with;

<hn>Ads by Google</hn>

<dt>And all that Malarkey</dt>
<dd>Malarkey's thoughts on web design, standards and running a web development business</dd>
<dd><a href="">Stuff and Nonsense</a></dd>

Five ads made this way would be around one-sixth of the current size and leave my pages looking sparkling, clean and smelling fresh too. Now that would be love!


And here is a reply from those kind people who work for Mr. Google.

Hello Andy,

Thank you for your comments. We appreciate your taking the time to offer us this feedback and encourage you to continue to let us know how we can improve Google AdSense. As AdSense is still a young program, new features are under consideration and your feedback is very helpful.

Please feel free to email us at if you have additional questions or concerns. For technical support, please email


The Google Team

So there you go then...


  1. #1 On June 11, 2004 02:11 AM Tom said:

    Did you actually send that letter to google? Because it's completely accurate and needed to be said.

  2. #2 On June 11, 2004 02:26 AM Ryan Brill said:

    I've chosen to include the google ads on my page, for the time being, but it was a hard thing to do, what with haveing to pass my content as text/html rather than application/xhtml+xml. I wept bitterly, that cold, hard night.

  3. #3 On June 11, 2004 03:05 AM km said:

    Google ads are often the first thing seen on a website, and always the most hideous. Thanks Malarkey.

  4. #4 On June 11, 2004 09:34 AM cyberhill said:

    Definitely follow them up on this!

  5. #5 On June 11, 2004 11:58 AM Phil Baines said:


    I was wondering if you would mind the rest of the blogging/web standards community putting this copy on their websites? I was thinking that if we were all to have a copy of this open letter on our sites for a week or so, it is bound to get a response by google. Also, it would be a good way of using google (the search engine) against google. Since it would not be that long before searches for 'Ads by Google' would start returning copies of the letter.

    Let me know what you think, and I will post a 'copy of the copy' (sorry, couldn�t resist) onto my site. Signed by yourself with a link, and adding myself also.

  6. #6 On June 11, 2004 02:47 PM cporto said:

    I think its time "we the market" start to flex our muscle. There is no reason why google can't adapt. Or at least, listen to its users. Can you imagine a company as web dominante as google becoming web standard friendly. It could tip the scales once and for all.

  7. #7 On June 11, 2004 05:07 PM Jay Jones said:

    I'm grinning... nice little love letter, Andy. Unfortunately, I can't see Google complying to this... not in the near future, anyway.

    The reason? Because the beautiful, symantic code you proposed would look like nothing more than an unstyled list on millions of sites that want google ads, but don't use CSS (or have some other reason for not including styles for their google ads).

    That is, unless someone has a bright idea to solve this... maybe "choosing" which flavor of the google ads code you want? Hmm?

  8. #8 On June 12, 2004 11:22 AM Patrick Griffiths said:

    Ugh. Google ads. Annoying little blighters. Thing is, they're great in principle - not only being text ads (rather than annoyingly heavy and large graphical banners that were so prevalent a few years ago), but also being so well targeted - dishing out ads relevant to the content of the page is nice and it seems to work really well.

    The code though. Damn. What crap. That's what's stopped me putting them on my site.

    This is 2004 - can't we have these things dished out as XML? Then we can do exactly what we want with them. Google could even still retain the nasty, nasty JavaScript for those who just want to shove them on the page, taking into account Jay's comment.

  9. #9 On June 12, 2004 06:45 PM Mark Lennox said:

    Google could dish pure XML and still present their current, emm..., 'crap' to 'notmal' users.

    They could provide an example XSLT for the likes of us and then pint us to the Gogle Ad Feed.

    For the ignorant (note - ignorant not stupid!) they direct their XML feed through some XSL to deliver what they currently do.

  10. #10 On June 12, 2004 06:46 PM Mark Lennox said:


    'notmal' in the previous post should read 'normal'

    Actually 'notmal' kinda works....

  11. #11 On June 12, 2004 09:11 PM Malarkey said:

    Well it has made it to the Google search engine Phil (, but still no reply from the Google press office ;)

  12. #12 On June 14, 2004 12:02 PM Phil Baines said:

    Yes, but wouldn't it be better to get onto this search:

  13. #13 On June 19, 2004 06:43 PM Gabriel Mihalache said:

    Maybe we should all add disclaimers under the ads, saying that our IFRAMEs' content isn't our own. :-)
    Alternatively, _someone_ should start a targeted ads service with valid code, but I suppose that venture capitalists wouldn't go bonkers over that proposal any day soon.

  14. #14 On June 20, 2004 07:00 PM David said:

    km said
    "Google ads are often the first thing seen on a website, and always the most hideous. Thanks Malarkey."

    A statement like that will only encourage Google to keep their ads ugly. Remember, you're trying to convince the marketing team at google, not the design team.

  15. #15 On June 22, 2004 08:05 PM Malarkey said:

    Hey a reply for Mr. Google! Well not quite, but it's a start I suppose...

    Here's what it said...